With startup culture growing throughout Pakistan, so are organizations which are willing to help them scale further and become full-fledged companies. The environment is now more conducive and friendly towards people who are willing to start their own ventures but the question arises, are these organizations – incubators and accelerators – actually sincere in building startups and helping the founders succeed in their goal?
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I have visited a couple of incubation centres over the past few years and have interacted with a number of startups residing there. The first thing that we have to clarify is what exactly is an incubator? Say you have come up with an idea and have formed a team, even if you have an idea, you can apply for space in an incubation center. In Pakistan, an incubation center offers you space, helps set progress targets and offer training from accomplished entrepreneurs to set you forward towards a corporate future. While all this is good but certain incubation centers come with a catch which is; either they take equity or a service cost.
Internationally, incubation centers have a curriculum, take equity and invest a certain amount to let the startup off the ground. In Pakistan, that doesn’t happen. Another concept in Pakistan is the differentiation between incubation and acceleration programs, while incubation center helps the early stage startups, growth stage startups are inducted in accelerators to grow, scale and raise funds. Incubation centers and accelerators usually culminate with a demo day attended by investors.
So, we want to ask you, our reader, about your experience of Incubation Centers in Pakistan. If you have gone through a cycle, write your experience and let’s discuss if incubators in Pakistan are helping startups grow? Do let us know.