Pakistan is a country with a 220 million population in which 70% population is under the age of 35 years. It is one of the most youth-oriented nations. Pakistan has gone through severe economic crises during the past decades where the country has faced a high level of inflation, shrinking GDP, decrease in exports and increase in imports, huge fiscal and current account deficits, and much more. Pakistan is considered to be the most vulnerable nation for any investor because of the lack of good governance, political un-stability, and the prevailing terrorism.
Despite all these set backs, this nation stood back again and become one of the most Tech savvy nation of South Asia. Pakistan is considered to be one of the fastest internet growing nation. The adaptability of technological gadgets and digital platforms is at high rate.
Due to the huge number of young population, Pakistan has the highest rate of acceptability. There are some stats which I want to share with you so that you can analyze and understand the Tech ecosystem within Pakistan.
Pakistan has more than 165 million mobile subscribers in which 70 million are active internet users. Internet penetration has gone 70% in the country. There are 37 million social media users in Pakistan. The number of social media users has increased 2.4 million between 2019 and 2020. This is how Pakistan is growing rapidly in this Tech ecosystem.
This prevailing digital trend in Pakistan enable youth to enter in the global entrepreneurial system, where they can sell their innovative products and services globally. This become the base to setup the startup culture in the country.
The Rapid digital transformation in the country change the complete mindset of the people of this nation. People are going more toward job creation side, rather than job seeking. This change mindset will help this country to come out from the economic turmoil. As I have mentioned earlier that Pakistan has one of the highest youth population, so every year 2 million people come in the job market and it is very difficult for the govt to accommodate such a large of job seekers.
This prevailing startup culture will help this nation to create more job opportunities for those young graduates who are coming out from the universities to make desired careers.
To facilitate this startup and entrepreneurial culture, we have seen the growing number of incubators and accelerators in the country which are working as a catalyst to boost this business environment. These accelerators and incubators are helping all those young minds to present their ideas in front of the venture capitalists and mentors who can help them and guide them with their experiences and invest initial money in their projects so that can achieve their dreams.
In this Incubators and accelerator landscape, both Govt and private sectors have invested a lot and this work is commendable. They provide the best co-working space for all young entrepreneurs so that they can share their ideas with other peers and learn new stuff from mentors and other people who are working around them on different innovative projects.
The two big names in the startup incubator landscape are LCE (LUMS Centre for Entrepreneurship) which is now known as NIC (National Incubation Centre), it is one of the most well equipped and properly organized incubator in Pakistan, which invites applications throughout the nation. It has a panel of highly esteemed mentors who guide young entrepreneurs through their diverse experiences and knowledge and they prepare them to refine their ideas which help them to inspire venture capitalists. NIC is now working in different parts of the country. They have some mentoring sessions in Peshawar, Quetta, Karachi, Islamabad to have the best talent from all across the country.
The second most reputed and credible Incubator is Plan 9. It is a public sector incubation Centre which is initiated by Punjab Government and is located in Arfa Kareem IT Centre. It is founded in 2012 with the approach to strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Pakistan and allow the creative mindsets to execute their ideas. It has a networking partnership program and along with this, it has Plan 9 Hunters Program.
There are some important factors which need to be considered by the govt both the federal and provincial level to facilitate this prevailing business landscape in Pakistan.
- Improving the Policies and Regulations
- Invest In Enabling Infrastructure
- Enable safe payment methods for all foreign transactions
Pakistan is becoming the most prominent nation in the field of tech startups and has nominated in different categories in the Asian ICT awards, this shows the talent and quality ideas of our youth. We have analyzed the confidence of regional investors of the Middle East and South Asia in Pakistani startups and I considered it to be a great success for this Nation.
I am very much optimistic about the growing online businesses in Pakistan. It will bring economic prosperity at the individual level and will create a large number of job opportunities for the youth. On one side where this pandemic has affected different businesses at all levels but at the same time we have seen the revenues of tech companies have raised tremendously at a high level. So from here, we can imagine the power of the internet and technology.
We need to think beyond our limits and we should develop the mindset of job creation rather than job seeking.