At first, the response was expectedly slow. Students were unsure perhaps about the concept and what was required of them. Starting a business is not exactly like taking a quiz for a university course. The word itself and five syllables, French origin and can be difficult to pronounce for some.
But things have changed since 2012, when the COMSATS Institute of Information Technology’s (CIIT) Business Incubation Centre first started with support from the
“Now so many students are approaching us, that we do not have space to accommodate them,” says Salman Saeed Zauq, the acting in-charge of the incubation centre, which is housed in the
The CIIT centre, which is currently incubating six registered tech companies that were all started by fresh graduates, is part of a growing trend of promoting tech start-ups.
Students of engineering, information technology and computer software are being encouraged to become job creators rather than job seekers. The people behind these efforts believe a few success stories and more awareness can instill an enterprising spirit. “This is how you can end unemployment,” Zauq says, “By taking students towards entrepreneurship.”
Pakistan’s unemployment rate is projected to rise slightly in 2014 from 5.17 to 5.29 per cent, according to an
HEC Executive Director Dr
The Technology Incubation Centre at the sprawling
The centres are helping overcome challenges that most students might not be able to tackle alone.
“Most students worry about the initial capital for their business idea,” Zauq says. “Some of them do not even have enough resources to build a prototype and others lack the skills to prepare a good business plan.”
Like the NUST centre, the COMSATS centre also provides free-of-cost laboratory facilities, internet connectivity, support with writing business plans, legal advice and marketing tips, according to Zauq.
The private sector is not far behind the universities.
Based out of a small basement office in the capital’s
“Jumpstart Pakistan is not an incubator,” says
Under the Jumpstart model, he says, Moftak intends to bring the chief executive officers of existing tech companies to mentor the students establishing their own start-ups. The plan is to launch around 1,500 startups over the next five years, admittedly an “ambitious” goal but one that can lead to “sustainable change” in
Pakistani tech startups are already making a name for themselves in global and regional technology markets. But their achievements are still relatively unknown in the Pakistani public sphere.
University-based initiatives and efforts by the tech industry can, however, potentially spread the word, and more importantly, the idea among fresh Pakistani graduates that entrepreneurship is not a terrible ship to board after all.
Most Popular Stories
- Senate Dems Pull All-Nighter on Global Warming
- SoCalGas Reaches Record Spend on Diversity Suppliers
- GM Recall Poses First Major Test for New CEO
- Senators Reach Deal on Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac
- Dianne Feinstein Accuses CIA of Spying on Congress
- El Empleo Rebota: La Columna Cohen
- Bob Crow Remembered as Shrewd Champion of Union Workers
- Job Openings Less Than Expected in January
- Swedish Journalist Nils Horner Shot Dead in Kabul
- Deborah Hersman Quits NTSB