Ignite – The Technology Fund has awarded the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) a project worth PKR 560 million to set-up the National IncubationCenter (NIC) in Quetta. The first NIC center for which the bid was earlier won by LUMS was inaugurated in December last year and is currently housed at LUMS.

An exclusive award ceremony was held in Quetta lately which included entrepreneurs,business leaders and stakeholders including Minister of State for Information Technology and Telecommunications, Government of Pakistan, Ms. Anusha Rahman Khan, CEO Ignite, Mr. Yusuf Hussain, Vice Chancellor, LUMS, Prof. Dr. S. Sohail H. Naqvi, Vice Chancellor, Balochistan University of Information Technology, Engineering and Management Sciences (BUITEMS), Engineer Farooq Bazai and Director National Incubation Center (NIC) Lahore, Mr. Faisal Jalil Sherjan among others.

NIC Quetta is the last of the 5 regional NICs that the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecom is funding through Ignite for the promotion of entrepreneurship in the country.

The team at NIC Lahore will be leading the design and curriculum for NIC Quetta while BUITEMS will be the implementing partner.The grant from Ignite will fund the capital expenditure and operational costs of the NIC for 5 years during which time the NIC is expected to support hundreds of new businesses.

While commenting on the award, Prof. Dr. S. Sohail H. Naqvi, Vice Chancellor of LUMS, stated, “After winning the bid for the Center in Lahore, National Incubation Centre Quetta will be the next ground for LUMS to groom entrepreneurs. We are proud to take this tried and tested entrepreneurship incubation and development methodology to Balochistan in partnership with BUITEMS, a premier university in Balochistan. This grant by IGNITE validates the work LUMS has already done to promote entrepreneurship and provides us with the resources to scale our endeavours to new heights. We are grateful to INGNITE and the Ministry of IT and Telecom for the trust they have reposed in LUMS.”

The experiential development programme pioneered by NIC Lahore, its vast network of industry mentors and investors, access to world-class research, high energy campus environment at BUITEMS coupled with the LUMS brand name are a few of the exciting features planned for this new facility.

Several partners will be supporting LUMS in this endeavour including the Entrepreneurial Development Advisory Services, 47 Ventures, Telenor Pakistan, Bank Alfalah and Habib Bank Limited amongst others.

30 micro entrepreneurs graduate as the first cohort of Urban Youth Project


The Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) Center for Entrepreneurship organised a certificate distribution ceremony for its micro entrepreneurs under the Urban Youth Project on August 2. The Urban Youth Project is funded by Citibank, NA Pakistan and coordinated by the British Asian Trust. The Citibank N.A, Pakistan works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. They invest in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyse job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant cities.

Mr. Abdul Razak Dawood, Chairman Descon and Karim Seifeddine, Head of Public Affairs (Middle East & Africa) at Citibank N.A distributed the certificates and highlighted the importance of supporting entrepreneurs in making a real impact in the society. Addressing the audience, Mr. Seifeddine said, “I am delighted to see the impact that the Urban Youth Project has created for all these bright young entrepreneurs. Today, is not only a proud moment for all the graduating entrepreneurs but also for us stakeholders, seeing their immense growth and enthusiasm.”

The Urban Youth Project aims to increased employment opportunities for youth from low income communities through the development of successful enterprises. In the first batch, 30 micro entrepreneurs from various sectors, academia, beauticians, fashion designers, rickshaw drivers and mobile/laptop shop owners were selected for the project.

LUMS partnered with two nationally renowned micro finance institutions, Akhuwat and Kashf Foundation to scout for potential beneficiaries possessing an entrepreneurial idea or those already running a small scale business within their communities. Speaking on the occasion Operations DIrector, Faisal Jalil Sherjan states, “We leveraged on the due diligence carried out by micro finance institutions prior to lending loans or providing any capacity building support to their borrowers to ensure we only select participants who are genuinely committed to their idea and businesses.”

After an intense selection procedure, LUMS carried out a needs assessment exercise to identify priority areas where participants required extended support and based on that developed a customised curriculum based on experiential learning. Major areas covered by the curriculum included, Karobari Pas-e Manzar Mein Bunyadi Mali Taswerat, Marketing kai bunyadi Inasir and Malyati Nizam mein Shamulyat kai zirai.

Out of the 30 selected participants, 16 percent were males and 84 percent females. 16 percent were undergraduates, 31 percent graduates, 41 percent matriculates and 12 percent were only FA. Rabia Ashiq who runs a small academy on Bedian Road states, “Before attending the training, I had no concept of business plans or basic accounting due to which I was running in a loss. But now only 6 weeks into the programme and I am already making profits. When I get done from LUMS, I go home and teach my father and brother what I learn here.” Similarly, Shazia Zaffer a school owner on Chudrai Road highlights, “The training programmed changed

my life and gave me confidence to face the world. Now I know I have LUMS on my back when I have to deal with parents and students.”



The Center for Entrepreneurship (LCE) at LUMS recently launched the Urban Youth Project aimed to pioneer an innovative approach to provide low-skilled youth with first time access to business skills and capacity building support. This project is funded by Citi Foundation and British Asian Trust is managing the project on behalf of Citi Foundation.

The Urban Youth Project aims to train micro entrepreneurs from low income communities of Pakistan on basic entrepreneurial skills. The first cohort, which comprises of 30 entrepreneurs, possessed an idea and wanted to either launch their business or scale up their current businesses (including 23 female entrepreneurs), is being trained on basic entrepreneurial skills and covers areas such as, Information Technology, Operations Management, Karobari Pas-e Manzar Mein Bunyadi Mali Taswerat, Marketing kai bunyadi Inasir (marketing), Malyati Nizam mein Shamulyat kai zirai (access to finance) and other areas such as developing business plans, conflict resolution and people management skills. Since the attendees belong to underprivileged income groups with low literacy levels, the training curriculum has been designed in Urdu. The trainings are conducted at LCE on weekends and so far 6 sessions have been completed. A second batch of 30 micro-entrepreneurs is planned to be inducted in Round 2.

The aim of the project is to create more jobs for this specific income group and provide them with access to decent employment opportunities. All the courses in this training programme are geared towards enabling micro-entrepreneurs at the base of the pyramid to have a sustainable livelihood through the development of their own enterprise.

This is the first-time ever that such a programme has been launched for this particular income group. The beneficiaries include people running tuition academies, beauty salons, transport services, to name a few. All attendees want to strengthen their businesses, draw up appropriate business plans and add to their current income.

Thirty-one year Shamim Mushtaq, is a rickshaw driver in Lahore. Breaking stereotypes, driving a rickshaw to support her family and despite several threats from men in her neighbourhood and family to give up her job, she continues to battle her way up the ladder as one of the first female rickshaw drivers in Pakistan. Shamim has also taken beautician courses and is available to her female clients on-call. Shamim can only make ends meet through both her jobs as her husband is currently not working. Shamim has never taken any business course and feels the need to strengthen her business aptitude as well as her communication and negotiation skills as she dreams of training 500 rickshaw ranis in the country, while she enjoys the position of the lead rani. In order or her to realise her dream, she requires support in developing business plans, financial plans, communication plans and marketing plans. She hopes to learn these at LUMS through the Urban Youth Project.

Meanwhile, twenty-four year Rabia Ashiq, runs her academy in the outskirts of Lahore on Bedian Road for the past three years. As yet, she has managed to get a facility which comprises of 15-16 rooms but she is unable to manage it due to inadequate resources and managerial skills. Presently, she is earning no profit out of the venture. Rabia fears that if her business model continues to go this way, she will have to close down her academy since she is already in debt. However, she hopes to gain the required skill set to sustain her business through the Urban Youth Project at LUMS and is hopeful she will not have to give up on her lifelong dream of educating children.

World Startup Factory Impact Accelerator 2017

Impact Accelerator 2017

Are you a startup addressing a societal challenge? European Startup Accelerator, World Startup Factory opened applications for Impact Accelerator 2017 with 5 focus areas: Health, Security, Cities, Buildings and Mobility.

Increased innovation in sectors aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals is key to economic growth. These goals are already reshaping global markets and capital flows, bringing impact businesses to the spotlight and making them stand out from the competition.

World Startup Factory is interested in teams that try to improve the likes of social inclusion, quality of democracy, healthy environments, road safety, traffic management, circular economy, energy efficiency, occupancy mapping, digital security, critical infrastructure, well being, care systems (especially elderly) and e-health solutions. Their main drive is to accelerate growth of ventures who focus on future solutions with positive impact.

The accelerator sets up a lively environment where startups can gain industry-specific insights, connect to both local and international hubs, validate their ideas with potential customers and strengthen the business cases day by day.

Are you looking to stimulate global growth by leading sustainable development? Check out the programme and apply now!

7 Startups Make It To LCE’s Foundation Program

Batch 7
Hundreds of applications poured in this season for The Foundation programme at LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship, which is the university’s flagship experiential development platform for young businesses. After a thorough process of scouting, soliciting applications, conducting interviews and discussions between the Foundation Council members, which is an elite, independent panel of business leaders, LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship has inducted its 7th batch for its four-month Foundation programme.

The startups that made it to the seventh batch include: Spry; a social network which enables users to find professionals around them by their skills set and profession, Paycard; an innovative, cashless and contactless payment mechanic which works via an NFC card, Stafflex; a recruitment and applicant tracking system for the recruitment agencies in the Gulf countries and overseas employment agents in Pakistan, Iotech; a centralized control automation system that creates communication between all aspects of a house or a firm, Filter Straw; aims to provide pure water anywhere, anytime through innovative solutions, TechMite Solutions; provides cleaning services by using robots, and AeroFly UAS; provides complete unmanned aerial systems for the agricultural survey and surveillance.

The contract signing ceremony took place at LUMS, where the selected startups signed their Entrepreneurship Development Programme contracts with Dr. Sohail Naqvi, Vice Chancellor, LUMS in a private gathering. The Pro-Chancellor of LUMS, Syed Babar Ali also attended the ceremony and stressed upon the importance of hard work, honesty and integrity as the fundamental foundation that supports successful and sustainable businesses. Syed Babar Ali along with the team at LCE wished the entrepreneurs luck and of words of wisdom for their success. Addressing the young entrepreneurs at the induction ceremony, Dr. Naqvi said, “We are proud to be supporting entrepreneurs from not only LUMS and Lahore but other universities and cities including Sialkot, Islamabad, Rahim Yar Khan and Sargodha. I encourage all of you to work hard, persevere and stay committed to your dreams. Success will follow.” During the orientation programme, Khurram Zafar, Executive Director at LCE, shared that “This cycle has an increased focus in product-based startups, which was an encouraging sign. It was heartfelt to see the entrepreneurial spirit and all the brilliant innovations during the meetings, I encourage startups who weren’t offered a place in the programme to continue working on their business ideas and do not give up on their hard work.”

The Dark Side of Entrepreneurship

Thinking of starting your own venture?

Join the club. There are about 40% of people out there who want to do the same or have already started out!

With technological advancements and the innumerable tools available online, it has become very easy for just about anyone to start their own website or an eCommerce store. Bootstrapping or crowd-sourcing funds, these entrepreneurs are also able to get a small team in place to get things going!

There are a lot many people out there who will talk about how and why you should take your dreams forward and build something of your own. Being your own boss, getting recognition in the industry for making a difference or introducing something that the world hasn’t seen before – there are endless things that can get listed to encourage you enough to take the leap.

But what most people avoid talking about, is the dark side of entrepreneurship.

So before you set foot in the big bad world of business with your idea, here’s taking a look at the not-so-rosy picture of starting up.

1. Not every idea works

About 90% of startups fail when they actually hit the market. For that matter, more than half the startups in industries like finance, health, education, agriculture, services, wholesale and mining don’t work for too long either! It’s either because the concept wasn’t planned end-to-end, or the market needs changed by the time they launched.

The market is unpredictable and the speed at which technological advancements are taking shape, the consumer needs are bound to change.

Tip: Execute a thorough survey of market needs and how long would they stay considering the developments in the industry, before working on an idea.

2. No time for socializing

Most entrepreneurs have a hard time keeping up with their social lives. Being the one responsible for the growth of an idea, leaves them with absolutely no room to be involved in someone else’s life. Phone calls become more demanding and work hours extend way beyond the regular 9 to 5! Technically, they end up working all the time.

Tip: To avoid going about apologizing to people for skipping socials, surround yourself with family and friends who are supportive.

3. Addiction to work

With absolutely no socializing and extended hours of work for days together, leaves them addicted to work. So much so that even when they do step out to take a break, all they can think about are the things they need to get done once they reach back. Work becomes life, while life starts to take a backseat.

Tip: Even though the drive is understandable, take some time off every now and then to go out. It will only refresh your brain and help you work better.

4. Your health becomes secondary

Since work takes over everything else in their lives, even health takes a backseat. Staying up late in the night and indulging in midnight cravings to keep themselves fueled, sleep disorders and bad food habits become a part of their lives.

Tip: Streamline your work hours, set sufficient time aside to rest and eat well. It is necessary to take care of your health to last longer in the race.

5. Frequent self doubts

Even though entrepreneurs start their venture with a 100% faith in their idea, the level tends to drop every now and then. Be it because of a new competition in the market, not being able to come up with something new frequently or the lack of team’s performance – everything just adds to their stress. This often leads to self worth issues.

Tip: Stay focused, plan your moves and improvise on the go. And if you fail, learn from it only to start again.

While all this might sound relatable, how do you ensure that you stay afloat in this dark sea?

By not letting your business define you!

Being driven about your concept is one thing, but losing your identity for it just not acceptable. Most entrepreneurs give up their hobbies and social lives to make things work for their business. Their profession becomes their world.

Don’t let that happen! Don’t let the market stocks define your mood or let someone’s ideas push yours aside and never let someone’s opinion bother you beyond a second. Have an identity of your own and never let your business overshadow it.

Trust your gut and stay passionate about your job. Make a difference in the world, but not yourself. Stay the same or you’ll block all the ideas that might come to you every now and then – after all, who knows what your next venture would be?

‘You’ are the brain behind a venture, not the other way around – don’t ever forget that!

Article submitted by: Pakwired

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Paycard wins Startup Weekend Lahore 2017

startup weekend 2017

‘LUMS Startup Weekend’, in collaboration of Karandaaz Pakistan and LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship (LCE) concluded today with the NFC payment solution ‘Paycard’ winning the competition.

Paycard aims to improve the existing payment solutions by using an NFC-enabled prepaid card which can be charged up to 5000 PKR at a time through an easy load facility. Retailers and sellers can enable a simple swipe-based payment method through Paycard merchant for customers.

Entrepreneurs from all across the Pakistan made it to the event to contribute their efforts towards the development. The first day consisted of 60 entrepreneurs who shared their ideas among which 11 best ideas were selected for the final round. The participants were given 70 hours to prepare, collect material and arrange it in the form of final presentations. Each team was given  five minutes to open up their idea, answer the jury and conclude. These 5 minutes were crucial in deciding the winner of the Startup Weekend.

‘Groupie’, an app that provides a way to merge individual pictures of friends into one large group photo secured the second place at the competition. The third place was acquired by ‘Home Grown’ that promotes horticulture.

The seven other of the eleven shortlisted startup ideas included:
1) Freshalla – the fruit delivery website and app,
2) Pakfit – a platform that connects professionals with individuals looking to get in shape,
3) Pak Builds – a digital marketplace for material services providers and contractors,
4) Health Monitoring System – a wearable health monitoring and notification device,
5) Kabara Online – a digital marketplace to sell goods a person doesn’t need any more,
6) Animatica Math – a personalized animation app to encourage kids’ interest in mathematics,
7) Dream X – an Urdu digital assistant which can interpret and run commands given to it in Urdu language.

Honorary mention:
When the awards were announced in Startup Weekend Lahore the ‘Proximate’ that aims to provide users with relevant ads when they pass near a proximate beacon installed on any retail outlet, received an honorary mention.

Ali Sarfaraz Hussain the CEO Karandaaz Pakistan shared his thoughts about the competition by stating:
We feel privileged to be part of LUMS Startup Weekend Lahore to inspire youth into pursuing entrepreneurship in their professional careers. Finding and nurturing fresher ideas through proper training and guidance will go on to reinforce and add value to Pakistan’s startup landscape. The advancement in digital technology has helped a lot of promising digital startups to surface in the country which will go on to morph into small and medium businesses in the near future.

Homestove wins Shell Tameer Awards

Zara Shah

Homestove won Shell Tameer awards this year after competing with more than 400 businesses nationally. Zarak Shah the CEO of homestove represented his company at the finale hosted by deputy British high commission in Karachi, Homestove won the seed capital amount as the top startup nationally in empowering women category, other finalists in this category included She-Kab and Her-career.

Homestove, a startup incubated at the LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship, is an online platform that allows housewives and young women to market and sell food from the comfort of their homes. It believes in providing housewives & girls an opportunity to earn and contribute financially to their families and invest in their future.

Shell Tameer recognizes & awards the best and brightest business ideas in Pakistan, it part of global Shell Livewire initiative which has helped many business grow and attract investment. Shell Tameer is also a great platform to meet potential mentors, investors and industry experts. Popular alumni of the program include Khaadi, which is now one of the most prominent clothing brand in Pakistan and abroad. 

Qayaam secures seconds position at ERUPT



Qayaam, a startup by two LUMS Sophomores Muhammad Owais and Muhammad Azeem, and a FAST graduate Hamza Rasheed, secured second position at ERUPT Lahore Finale. ERUPT is a business idea competition, organised by Plan9 and Careem, in which 15 universities and more than 200 startups participated.

Qayaam won the first round of ERUPT at LUMS after two days of tough competition on November 18 and 19, 2016. The second round of ERUPT, the Champions Round, took place at Arfa Software Technology Park on December 15 where 12 university champions and three wildcard participants presented their ideas. LUMS team secured second position in the ERUPT Lahore Finale. As finalists, they have also won a wild card entry into Plan9’s Launchpad ninth Season.

Qayaam is a platform for short-term renting and enables people to open their homes to those in need. The team aims to disrupt the hospitality industry of Pakistan through their startup. The students came up with the idea when one of the co-founders Hamza could not find temporary accommodation for himself while he was looking for an apartment.

Currently Qayaam, is incubated at LUMS Center of Entrepreneurship. As a part of their batch 6, they have received mentoring from the LCE team and their mentors.

Muhammad Owais, Muhammad Azeem, Suleman Dawood School of Business (SDSB) and Mushtaq Ahmad Gurmani School of Humanities and Social Sciences (MGSHSS) sophomores respectively, and Hamza Qureshi want to keep pursuing this initiative and aim to solve the lack of accommodation problem in Pakistan.


Neurostic, a startup incubated by LCE bags a gold award at Asia Pacific ICT Awards (APICTA)

Asad raza

TAIPEI: Neurostic, a startup incubated by the LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship bags a gold award at Asia Pacific ICT Awards (APICTA), an international competition featuring participants from 17 countries across the Asia Pacific.

Neurostic has won the gold award at the prestigious APICTA Award held in Taiwan. It is a ‘Clinical Decision Support System for Diagnosis of Movement Disorders’ led by Muhammad Asad Raza and is incubated by the LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship.

Muhammad Asad Raza, CEO Neurostic shared his experiences of what moved him into researching and creating the diagnostic tool “While doing research on Parkinson’s disease I came across a patient who was not able to sell his property because his signature had changed because of tremor in his hand due to Parkinson’s disease, that day I decided I will create something that helps these patients live their everyday life comfortably”

As many as 28 teams from Pakistan participated in the event that took place in Taiwan capital, said a statement issued by the The Pakistan Software Houses Association for IT & ITES (P@SHA). Pakistan finished 4th in the overall awards count, ahead of economic powerhouses Australia, Thailand, Singapore, Japan and China.

Pakistani participants received accolades from foreign judges who said even the youngest of teams had shown the caliber of work being done by the Pakistan tech sector.

As part of its efforts to bring innovation by Pakistani IT companies to the forefront,P@SHA said it took a delegation of 41 people to Taipei for the 16th annual APICTA Awards, a four day event that is deemed as the Oscars night for the Asia Pacific ICT. 

As many as 28 teams from Pakistan competed against 236 from 17 economies across the Asia Pacific and were judged by over 60 seasoned professionals.

The regional Awards ceremony invites applications from 17 economies, including Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, China, Chinese Taipei (Taiwan), Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, Nepal and Pakistan.

The judging was done by industry veterans, tech professionals and renowned thought leaders and VCs from all across the Asia Pacific region, said the statement.