According to a press release issued by the Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB), the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (MoITT) and PITB have launched and opened applications for the National Expansion Plan (NEP), the largest network of technology incubation centres nationwide. With six regions on the list, 13 centres will be opened across Pakistan, namely in Punjab (Lahore, Gujrat, Taxila and Rawalpindi), Balochistan (Quetta and Lasbela), Sindh (Karachi, Jamshoro and Sukkur), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (Kohat and Swat), Gilgit Baltistan (GB), and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (Muzaffarabad).
This project aims to provide a nationwide opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs to turn their business ideas into viable ventures by supporting entrepreneurial activity. The program is particularly tailored to the needs of early-stage startups.
Budding entrepreneurs can apply through the official website: (http://nep.pitb.gov.pk). The shortlisted startups will pitch to a panel of judges as part of the induction process. The Top 10 startups will be admitted to the center of their relevant city.
Based on a Zero Equity Model, each cycle of the NEP will span six months. All resources would be geared towards facilitating and enabling the startups to optimize their business activity. Selected startups will also receive perks such as a monthly stipend, free workspace, networking opportunities, mentorship, business development assistance, and legal guidance.
In a message, Chairman PITB Azfar Manzoor stated that startups and aspiring entrepreneurs could transform the nation’s future. Pakistan has already made an impact on the global ICT sector. NEP’s mission is to work as a catalyst in paving the way for innovation-led initiatives across the nation for early-stage startups. By doing so, NEP will foster and develop opportunities for the progress and prosperity of Pakistan.