The National Incubation Centre (NIC) welcomed a fresh batch of innovators and problem-solvers to its Foundation Programme at LUMS in Lahore and BUITEMS in Quetta. NIC aims to bolster the start-up ecosystem of Pakistan by incubating a greater percentage of businesses that scale to address a large commercial opportunity and attract investment capital for growth.
The cohorts were selected through a competitive selection process: only top 10% of a diverse pool of 500+ applicants have been invited to join the completely revamped, free-of-cost programme. Each application was reviewed by multiple members of NIC’s Foundation Council which includes founders of venture capital firms and successful start-ups including Bykea, Finja, Healthwire, 47 Ventures, Indus Valley Capital and Fatima Gobi Ventures.
NIC Lahore’s diverse pool of entrepreneurs hail from Bahawalpur, Faisalabad, Islamabad, Kasur and Lahore, and include Pakistan’s first shariah-compliant buy-now-pay-later service; an automatic low-cost roti making appliance; cost-efficient prosthetics for amputees that utilise 3D scanning and printing technology; logistical solutions such as single wheel motorbike trailers to increase cargo capacity; a biosensor chip to monitor and reduce toxins in crops and improve nutrition; identifying shoplifters in real-time by using AI; an e-commerce aggregator for fashion brands that offers a curated and personalised shopping experience for buyers, and a food delivery service that empowers female entrepreneurs who prepare meals at home. NIC Quetta’s expanded outreach resulted in the recruitment of entrepreneurs not only from Quetta but also Gwadar, Kachi, Loralai, Mastung, Panjgoor, Pishin, Sibi, and Washuk.
Inaugurating the orientation week, Saleem Ahmad, Chairman NIC, spoke about NIC’s role in inspiring and facilitating problem solvers: “Over the next several months, you will embark on a transformative journey with members of your cohort, guided by committed mentorship of business leaders and instruction from LUMS faculty and international technical experts. You will acquire the skills necessary to transform your ideas into a thoughtful and investor-ready business plan.”
Over the course of six months, the completely revamped curriculum will be delivered by LUMS faculty and international technical experts and comprise six intensive boot camps covering: 1) design thinking, 2) strategy and business modelling; 3) marketing, branding and sales; 4) finance, accounting, valuation and equity management; 5) negotiations and legal aspects of entrepreneurship; 6) presentation and communication skills. The applied focus of academic programming, supplemented by bespoke workshops, a speaker series and mentorship by LUMS alumni, will be instrumental in developing ideas into reality.
Harnessing the entrepreneurial energy, imagination and talent of these dynamic individuals, a range of specialised support services will help them cultivate their ideas into compelling investment opportunities that will support the economic development of Pakistan.