Ignite, formerly known as National ICT R&D Fund Company, has announced the launch of National Incubation Center in Quetta – the main aim of which would be to promote a culture of entrepreneurship in Pakistan.
According to a PlanetN report, 700 startups are currently functional in Pakistan. Entrepreneurial activity is under full throttle with the launch of multiple incubators, accelerators, and investment funds. However, all this development is occurring in the big cities. Quetta, the largest city of Balochistan with an estimated population of 1.1 million, is known for its production of fruits and dry fruits and a very rich cuisine. Quetta also serves as a trade and communication center between Afghanistan and Pakistan so it can be expected that the majority of locals already have a business know-how. The NIC Quetta will hopefully provide the locals with proper facilities, mentorship, and funding opportunities to materialize their ideas.
Ignite is now looking for registered legal entities who can undertake the hefty yet meaningful task of establishing and managing the NIC Quetta.
Interested people can apply by submitting a Request for Proposal by ensuring that they:
- Are listed on the Active Taxpayers List (ATL) of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR)
- Have sound financial backing
- Professional management or relevant work experience in the ICT sector
International backing or collaborations will be an added advantage. More information regarding the application process can be found here.
This National Incubation Center (NIC) in Quetta is not the first of its kind as Ignite has successfully launched one NIC in Islamabad and others in Karachi, Peshawar, and Lahore are under development. Ignite has also recently announced the organizations who will be establishing these incubation centers. The Karachi NIC project has been awarded to TPL Trakker, Pakistan’s largest tracking service provider. The bid for Lahore was won by LUMS, a university well-respected in the Pakistani startup industry due to its LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship. And finally, the Peshawar incubation center will be developed by LMKT, an IT services and solutions provider company. The winners of these bids will be given proper funding in order to ensure a smooth development of NIC’s in Karachi, Lahore, and Peshawar.
Ignite has been actively promoting research, development, and innovation activities with the long-term goal of strengthening Pakistan’s economy. Just recently they announced the launch of DigiSkills, a program to train 1 million youth with relevant skills which would allow them to earn a respectable livelihood as freelancers. Earlier this year they also launched an initiative to provide entrepreneurship training to 500 women across Pakistan.
Prior to rebranding, Ignite conducted a very successful exhibition of Final Year Projects in Islamabad a few months ago. This event was organized by the National ICT Grassroots Research Initiative (NIGRI) which aims to promote, enable, and encourage R&D culture at the grassroots level by offering to fund to high-caliber projects.
Ignite’s efforts in promoting a culture of research and development is truly commendable and here’s hoping that it yields long-lasting benefits.