KARACHI: Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) and LMKT, an award-winning full-service technology company based out of Islamabad, announced the formal inauguration of National Incubation Centre (NIC) Peshawar, funded by the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (IT&T) and Ignite Fund (formerly known as National ICT R&D Fund).
Prime Minister of Pakistan Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was the chief guest at the occasion, along with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra, IT&T Minister Anusha Rahman, and other renowned dignitaries from the public and private sectors.
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, on the occasion, said, “I am extremely pleased with the growing synergy between the public and private sectors to promote youth-led entrepreneurship in the country and realise the dream of a Digital Pakistan.” He further added, “NIC Peshawar is proof of the government’s commitment to extend all kinds of support to relevant stakeholders in developing Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s technology landscape and startup ecosystem.”
A generous 12,000 sq ft facility in the heart of Peshawar at PTCL Training Centre has been earmarked and repurposed to incubate more than 25 handpicked startups each year. NIC Peshawar will be equipped with the latest ICT infrastructure offering high-speed connectivity, seamless audio and video conferencing facilities, fully-managed IT and telecom services, among others.
Incubates will have access to comprehensive mentoring services allowing them to seek guidance and support on design thinking, business planning, financial and operational aspects related to their startups such as marketing and communication, legal services, etc. NIC Peshawar will provide access to investors to support technology-driven disruptive startups.
Industry-renowned start-up incubation curriculum developed by Founder’s Institute will be implemented for various cohorts that are inducted as part of NIC Peshawar. In addition, specialised workshops designed in collaboration with Microsoft, IBM and other global technology leaders will be conducted throughout each session.
Information Technology and Telecommunication Minister Anusha Rehman, while expressing her satisfaction with the launch proceedings, stated, “National Incubation Centre Peshawar will usher a vibrant new era of entrepreneurship and innovation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, enabling many aspiring tech entrepreneurs and startups in creating game-changing solutions.” She added, “Ministry of IT&T is constantly striving towards transforming Pakistan into a knowledge-based economy through various sustainable ICT initiatives.”
Ignite CEO Yousuf Hussain said, “A singular opportunity for startups that seek to solve meaningful problems with the help of academia and for corporates that seek to transform and thrive in this age of global competition and pervasive change by partnering with and investing in startups.”
PTCL President and CEO Dr Daniel Ritz, on the occasion, stated, “The National Incubation Centre Peshawar is an important milestone in the burgeoning innovation climate of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. This centre is a testimony to PTCL’s promise to empower the people of Pakistan through its ICT and digital services.”
LMKT CEO Atif Khan said, “Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has enormous untapped talent and potential that can become a major driver in boosting Pakistan’s economy. I am really excited about the prospect of working with inventive local entrepreneurs and startups in our pursuit for creating success stories bigger than ours.”
NIC Peshawar’s launch has been received very positively by academia, public and private sectors with significant partnerships and MoUs lined up with leading organisations and universities. Some of these collaborations include design thinking workshops by IBM, FinTech lab, BioTech and CNC lab by CECOS University and linkages with Google Business Groups.
The induction of the initial cohort of 25 startups is already underway and the first session is expected to commence by March 2018. In the following months, the NIC Peshawar team and all its partners will work closely with local bodies and universities to identify and induct top talent from KP province.