NICL Conducts 1st Design Thinking Workshop in UCP Lahore

On September 2nd 2019, the National Incubation Center Lahore team including Faisal Sherjan, Yaser Amir Awan, Kaleem Ullah, Aqsa Munir and Maria Sadaf conducted a Design Thinking Workshop at the University of Central Punjab (UCP) incubation center, Takhleeq.

The team at NICL is a believer of passing on lessons learnt through the many opportunities the facility exposed to the future and current generations. Shahid Khan’s incomparable Design Thinking Workshop 2019, left the team fully equipped to execute workshops that can help students and faculty members understand problem statements and develop a more solution oriented mindset that makes them “fall in love with the problem” and not fear it.

The NICL team members mentioned above arrived at the UCP Lahore campus with the following problem statement in mind:

“Students are not solving real industry problems in their final year projects.”

The incentive of the workshop was to accomplish the following:

  • Identify reasons that seem to be preventing students from solving industry problems.
  • Identify the consequences if the problem is recurrent.
  • Identify the most pressing problem within the system and
  • Develop possible solutions to counter the problem.

The Identification Process

The team used the taught tactics to assist the faculty members and students present in the audience devise a list of problems. The most common ones identified ranges from students lacking basic knowledge and went as vast as the impact of society on one’s mindset when it comes to wanting to solve real problems existing within the industry.

 

 

Additionally, they also explored and learnt that the industry in the 21st century also seems less interested in innovating and wanting to solve the preexisting problems. This seemed further connected to discrepancies within the education system of Pakistan. Furthermore, it was discovered through discussion that both faculty and students lacked a strong motivational and inspirational model which was made problematic by the gap between the university’s theoretical learning’s and the industry’s practical implications. Lastly, another prominent problem that surfaced was the financial constraints experienced by students that kept them away from solving the problems.

Analyzing the Consequences

Once the problems were identified, it was important to ensure the audience understood what the possible consequences of those could be and how they would impact both the university and the industry. Upon further inquisition and discussion, it was learnt that the industry would eventually fall apart if the problems were ignored much longer. More so, the problems already existing would exponentially increase and thereby increase the cost of living for all. It was also observed that continued ignorance of the problems would lead to an industry that was not only non-productive but also far behind the industries of the world.

This would automatically translate into how the university education of our country is perceived by the world – it would evidently be deemed insufficient and thereby impact the nation’s stability putting the academic and industry credibility to question.

Coming up with Solutions

Keeping both the problems and the consequences in mind, the participants were then advised to devise a set of solutions on the basis of the problem statement that was initially introduced. One of the most imperative solutions were sought to be focused on empowering research and development sectors within the country that would further allow improvisation and improvement of the curriculum.

The students and faculty also realized that this would further groom the students and shape their intellect and ability to curate ideas from a very tender age thereby ensuring their level of preparation to jump into the business world when the time is right. Another important and often overlooked solution was to encourage extensive communication between the faculty and the industry members. This was advised to be further assisted through projects and FYPs.

The most important solution was to replace the conventional ways of teaching by disregarding the “Ratta system ” and instilling a more practical and hands-on ideology instead. This would only be possible if the actual problem is given due diligence with the development of skills through capacity building activities that would encourage and increase practical learning.

The team at NIC Lahore has identified how the gap between university teaching and industry requirements continues to produce mediocre and ill-prepared entrepreneurs and also discourages bright ideas from coming forward. To cater to this problem, we have introduced these inspired sessions to attempt to bridge the gap and ensure our nation’s ability to thrive is not put into jeopardy and no talented is gone to waste.

NICL Welcomes it’s 4th Batch in Full Swing

NICL Welcomes it’s 4th Batch in Full Swing

The Foundation Council is one of the most important events conducted by the LUMS National Incubation Center, Lahore. Every time a new cohort of start-ups is to be incubated within the NICL facility, a grueling process of selection is conducted. This begins months prior to the actual orientation and includes various minor and major steps that ensure the streamlining of some of the brightest entrepreneurs in the city are brought into the facility.

For Batch 4 the Foundation Council received a staggering number of applications, out of which 56 were chosen to present in front of the esteemed judges. These start-ups ranged from food, agriculture, robotics, fashion, consultancy, lifestyle to many other niches that promised global impact.

How the Foundation Council Works?

NICL prides itself for its selection process; our FC includes some of the finest names from within the industry and is conducted within several meticulous steps. The initial step marks the reception of applications that are then vetted through interviews conducted by our team members including Kaleem Ullah, Yaser Awan and Faisal Sherjan. Once the application count is brought down, the final pitches are heard by our judges during a daylong event held biannually.

The FC Judges

The foundation council members include Ali Mukhtar the founder and CEO of Fatima Ventures, Omar Shah the CEO Colabs, Barrister Ahmed Uzair from Ahmed Uzair & Co, Hamayun Azhar, the CEO of Cres Ventures, Hassan Altaf the Resident Director at Crescent Steel, Dr. Bilal Zafar the CEO at Dr. Bilal Zafar Veterinary Sciences, Ain ul Abideen the Marketing Manager at Samsung Electronics, Ahmed Hanif the CEO at Khaleef Technologies, Dr. Suleman Shahid, Assistant Professor HCI/UX Design at LUMS, Rehman Adil, the Expert Associate Partner at McKenzie, Khurram Zafar, the CEO of 47 Ventures, Dr. Zartash Uzmi, the founder of Confiz, Fatin Gondal, the Co-founder at WebWorks.pk, Mohammad Faisal Mirza, a management professional and strategist, Mahrukh Ali Malik, the CEO of Insta Print., Saad F. Akhtar, Media and Marketing Strategist, Shoaib Zahid Malik, Chairman Punjab Industrial Estates, Adam Mohyuddin, Manager at Khaadi and Dr. Ehsaan ul Haque Professor at SDSB LUMS. The decision making process is moderated by members from within the NICL management team.

Welcoming Batch 4

Once the start-ups are scored by the judges based on the set criteria, the top tiered one’s are selected for incubation. For batch 4 the selected start-ups are as follows:

  1. Fruitistan,
  2. VampWelt,
  3. Car Helpline,
  4. Kuch Khaas,
  5. Adwheels,
  6. UAvinity,
  7. Sesame,
  8. Brainality,
  9. Mudeser Ali Fitness Pro,
  10. Stitch Karao,
  11. Plus One,
  12. Mini Tractor,
  13. Callvet.pk,
  14. Philly’s,
  15. Agricultural Engineering Services pvt Ltd.
  16. Mechatronics Engineering Solutions,
  17. Valuesbig,
  18. Rahnumai,
  19. Wizdojo,
  20. Zero Mika Startup and
  21. HyperSalon!

Orientation for Batch 4

On July 30th the start-ups were given a warm welcome by the NICL team during their orientation. NICL management team member Rida Khalid began the orientation with a quick ice-breaking activity that required every member of the new batch to share one unique aspect about themselves. This was followed by an introduction of each team member to the start-ups so that during their incubation process they are aware of how they can benefit from each member’s area of expertise during their tenure. Kaleem Ullah later took the floor to ensure the NICL facility stood aware of the expectations the entrepreneurs had from the facility to not just maximize productivity but their satisfaction as well.

We ended the fun, engaging and hyped orientation with a group photo to mark the commencement of the journey of all the ideas that made it through. We wish our entrepreneurs the very best of luck and hope to play pivotal roles in escalating their idea to the heights and benchmarks they wish to see themselves on!

Good luck Teams, It’s time to make it big!

GoCane Launch by AyeCo

Ayub Yaqoob Engineering Company (Ayeco.) was incubated at the LUMS National Incubation Center Lahore in their first cohort. Founded on July 5th 2017, the company is currently the only locally manufacturer for health tech assistive devices in Pakistan.

AyeCo launched the first ever Pakistani Produced Smart Wheelchair called GoBee. The company has gone on to modify their wheelchair for various impaired individuals. In 2019, they have returned with another refined product for the visually impaired. On July 25th they launched their Smart Guiding Assistive Walking Device, named Go-cane, for the blind community in Pakistan.

The company has already received more than 100 pre-orders prior to the launch.

Go-cane

This invention relates to a smart, rechargeable, battery-powered electronic device for the visually impaired, which instruct the individual to walk, maneuver themselves on the stairs, and warns a blind person of dangerous obstacles on the road. This device can be attached to any ordinary cane. It comes equipped with sensors that collectively give feedback in the form of vibrations to facilitate the user by detecting the height, direction and the orientation of the obstacle in their way. It also comes in both indoor and outdoor modes for better workability.

To launch this incredible product, the company organized an Assistive Tech Conference in collaboration with the National Incubation Center Lahore. The CEO of the company, Faaiz Arbab welcomed his guests and spoke to them in detail about the importance and scope of AT, its need in Pakistan, standardization and hallmarking, infrastructure Development, future Goals and a lot more.

Unveiling the GoCane®

The launch was attended by some of the most notable personalities that included Amjad Saqib from Akhuwat, Dr. Izhar Ul haque hashmi from PWTD (Punjab Welfare Trust for the Disabled), Amna Anees from US Counselette, Humara Bano from Special Education department, Punjab University, Dr Shaheen Pasha from Special Education department, University of Education, Farah Naaz from Christoffel-blindemission Christian Blind Mission e.V. (CBM), Hassan Tareen Assistive device specialist at Lums, Asim Kareem (Visual Impaired) Assistant Professor. Dr. Bakhtawer who is a dentist, Yousaf Saleem, a first Pakistani blind judge.

Dr Sarah Ikram from King Edward Medical University. Faisal Sherjan Director NIC.  Wajid Hussain from ROSP (Rights of Special Persons). Dr. Anees ur Rehman President Daikh Bhaal Organization shared their thoughts regarding this initiative in Pakistan.

Faaiz Arbab and AyeCo have also exceeded all expectations and proven that when one has a vision, there is no obstacle great enough to become a hindrance. Arbab has accomplished various milestones that have made him a notable and reliable name for all those who have suffered at the hands of their impairment. We wish AyeCo the very best of luck and are extremely proud to not just have been associated with their launch but to also have witnessed their growth as a company.

Developing a Strong Social Media Strategy for Start-ups

It is impossible to imagine establishing a business without it having a social media presence. Some of the most prominent social media platforms have more than 2 billion active users collectively. This is the primary reason why these platforms have become pivotal in raising brand awareness. For start-ups with a set and limited budget, a social media platform can be very effective.

Here is how you can develop a strong social media strategy and use all social and digital media platforms for the benefit of your company:

Come up with a Solid Plan

Just because social media is accessible to everyone doesn’t mean that whatever is being put out there is going to be well received. More so, a social media strategy and plan requires thorough research and an effective plan that ensures the posts don’t derail.

Divide Your Target Audience into Groups

It is imperative that you understand who you intend to send the message to; whether it is being done overtly or subtly. A detailed research over who you intend to target is the most significant aspect of developing a plan. This can be made easier once you identify what the interests of the cluster you wish to target are; these can include occupations, education, gender, background, hobbies et cetera.

Know What You Are Up Against

Knowing one’s competition is also extremely important to research who else is conducting something similar on their social media profile. It is imperative to identify what both the small and large scaled companies are doing. If your competitors are producing their own content or if they’re publishing already available content. If they are doing the latter then you have your work cut out for you and in order to earn your credibility, original content may be the way to go.

Define Your Milestones

Once the above has been identified, then the plan needs to be extended long term with set milestones you wish to accomplish overtime. Every decision that is being made for your businesses social media presence must be driven by the data and should be bound by time.

Use Platforms Suitable for You

Not every platform is suitable for every business. Therefore, identifying which one works best for the idea that one wishes to project is one of the initial steps. Not every platform serves the same purpose or uses the same policy as the others. This step goes hand in hand with identifying your target audience as well. For example, Facebook is considered applicable for all because of its wide reach. Twitter on the other hand is suitable for businesses that wish to encourage engagement and distribution of content. Similarly, for a B2B business LinkedIn may be the best idea.

Creating Awareness

Social media networks are the best way to create expansive brand awareness not just through viral posts but also by allowing you to assign ambassadors. Social platforms encourage exposure and promote the idea of loyal customers. For this to become a natural response of your customers, it is important that you create a logo that is simple but worth remembering.

Building Content Strategy

Content is always the backbone of every marketing campaign. Content that encourages readers to share it and is both easy to fathom while being informative. This includes more than just articles and blogs and also understanding what the reader is expecting from the content being pushed out. All of this must be paired with a decent strategy that acts as the glue.

Be Open to Feedback

The best way to make the most of your social media presence is to collect instant feedback by monitoring your customers’ discussions. This way, you will be able to find out how your target audience feels about your brand and use these opinions constructively to improve your approach. Most importantly, social media help you provide your customers with the real-time customer service and immediate feedback. Alternatively, you can also monitor users’ opinions on your recently released product, detect any potential customer experience issues and solve them on time.

Unsurprisingly, integrating social media marketing with the digital marketing campaign allows startups to reach broader audiences, promote their brand effectively and deliver personalized and real-time customer experience. As a result, they can generate higher revenue and better conversion rates.

NIC Lahore’s Investor’s Summit for Batch 3

On July 13th, Saturday; the National Incubation Center Lahore organized it’s third investor’s summit for the qualifying start-ups of cohort 3. After weeks of preparation, start-ups from NIC Lahore, Quetta, and Peshawar, Gwadar and Takhleeq pitched their ideas to a panel of investors hoping to spur some interest in them.

The session was incredibly successful as ideas that cater to some of the most pressing problems within the country were addressed through businesses that are all set to change the face of their respective industries.

Faisal Sherjan, the Project Director began the highly anticipated summit and wished the start-ups the best of luck. Following is the order of their pitches:

  1. The summit kick started with our start-up based in Karachi called Ghumo.pk. The start-up focuses on solving the innumerable problems within the hospitality industry in Pakistan.
  2. SabziBox followed with their start-up based in the farming industry. The founder spoke of their enthusiasm to change the face of grocery shopping and farming by empowering home owners and local farmers.
  3. From NIC Peshawar, Bera pitched their idea claiming to redefine the Peshawari chappal concept in Pakistan with their unique and innovative stylistic approach to the age old shoe.
  4. E-flow presented next with an idea that provided an effective solution to ending the ever elusive load shedding problem in the country.
  5. This was followed by Lahore’s Apna Furniture that focuses at providing home and office owners the comfort of purchasing furniture through simplistic and hassle free procedures.
  6. ParentsEase was next with their online platform offering insurance packages to individuals and how they ensure an easy and simple way to get insured.
  7. Save Every Drop (SE Drop) presented next with their sought after innovation that recycles waste water by removing arsenic from it thereby, solving the water scarcity predicament in the country.
  8. From NIC Quetta, Sun Spark Inverter presented later – this was another innovative inverter that caters to load shedding.
  9. NIC Lahore’s Smart Switch provided a solution to a problem many are unaware of – the extra charges in the electricity bill and the energy consumption one doesn’t know of.
  10. Next was Nano IT from Peshawar creating immersive experiences through virtual reality. They allow one to literally experience the excitement of being on a chairlift and feel the water splashes of being on a boat et cetera.
  11. From NIC Quetta Gul technologies pitched their life saving smart helmet for coal miners allowing monitoring and evaluation of the miner’s health.
  12. Monumental Studios from Quetta pitched their start-up that provides videography and documentaries that showcase the rich Baluchistan culture.
  13. pk from NIC Lahore presented next advocating the tabooed topic of mensuration and how they intend to make this a household conversation and equip women through their app.
  14. Mountainise presented their intelligent solution for both social and digital media marketing.
  15. From Lahore, StrawHat a digital smart helmet that wishes to bring the numbers of bike accident numbers down to 0. Their product comes with a number of features – the most interesting being limited mobility until the helmet is worn.
  16. Milkify presented their cooling mechanism and balancing mechanism that ensures milk purity and amount – changing the face of the gawala
  17. From NIC Quetta’s WECO presented their chick incubator running from a self-designed thermostat that only needs air to function.
  18. Fori Fixer from Quetta spoke of their start-up that provides labor such as carpenters and mechanics through their app.
  19. Dillevery from Quetta presented an idea to that helps save time for women on the go.
  20. NIC Lahore’s Send2World presented their idea for the freight forwarding industry by making it super convenient for all.
  21. VectorInks pitched their domain adamant to save the time and quality of work being produced by designers.
  22. From Takhleeq we had ZAPS creating single sole shoes with multiple skins allowing one to save money without compromising on style.
  23. A Total Parco Startup, the Mad Hatters pitched next talking about their travel based start-up exploring the many faces of Pakistan.
  24. From Gwadar we have a female led start-up Agri Irrigation that helps curb the water scarcity issue in that respective area.
  25. The Cookery Lahore from Batch 2 pitched incredible initiative that provides healthy alternative to home cooked food and facilitate the food industry through home based bakery owners and several others.
  26. NIC Lahore’s SOOP – Schools On Our Phones talked about how they help save time, money and the environment while providing teacher and school efficiency by digitizing entire school systems.
  27. Another dedicated woman leading The Robotics Club to encourage hands on learning and encouraging a child’s desire to build, code and play! She intends to eventually establish her own school.
  28. Smart Trolley from Quetta presented next coding products being purchased and generating the bill before one reaches the cash counter.
  29. From NIC Quetta we have Asaan Booking making sure you get everywhere on time. Their platform allows e-ticketing, reduction of cost and a lot more. Traveling just became less of a hassle.
  30. NIC Quetta Aprus. The startup provides a technology that provides AI driven electro-surgical units that provide immense precision and the pride that comes with technology that is “Made in Pakistan.”
  31. Our last start-up was from Lahore Alrrish Du Ciel brings the Summit to a close with her maternity and modesty wear clothing brand working towards introducing comfort and style in the fashion industry for the working woman and mother.

The pitches were followed by interactive sessions and meetings between start-ups and investors allowing the latter to inquire further in ideas that managed to interest them. The Summit itself was a sight to behold as the ideas were not just well-received by incredibly appreciated and validated by innovators in the investment industry looking for bright minds and smart solutions to problems that have existed for years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We at NIC Lahore are extremely proud of how far our start-ups have come and wish all those who had meetings with the investors, the very best of luck for a brighter and better future – for both their business and for Pakistan!

Onwards and Upwards; towards greener pastures.

Smart Helmet – Save Lives; One Coal Mine at a Time

There are several problems existing within various departments of Pakistan’s mining industry. The most significant one is the fact the rate at which coal miners lose their lives because of otherwise manageable factors. These factors range from uncontrolled hazardous gases such as methane and carbon monoxide that are constantly being released in the environment.

According to recorded stats around 3 lac workers have notably been associated with this profession in Balochistan alone.

It was recorded that in just one year more than 160 coal mine workers lose their lives in several mines across the province.

The founders of Smart Helmet, Ali Gul, incubated in the National Incubation Center Quetta was inspired to create this product when four coal miners from one family lost their lives due to poorly managed mine circumstances. More than 300 workers are known to be facing serious problems during a year. These incidents are routinely affairs in Balochistan.

The President of All Pakistan Labour Federation, Sultan Muhammad Khan claimed that about 0.3 million laborers employed across the province as each site consists of more than 1,000 mines including Chamalang, Luni, Harnai, Mach, Duki, Marwar and Low range area of the province. Furthermore, around 33 cases of death and 70 cases of injuries had been reported during the last year in the province due to negligence of the authorities concerned. The main reason of deaths in the mines was reported to be lack of oxygen and explosions caused due to methane gas.

Being personally affected by the coal mining incidents in Baluchistan, Ali Gul designed and developed Eye Smart helmet for coal mines worker.

The feature of eye smart helmet is to detect the hazardous gases, the temperature, rise in humidity, body oxygen levels and heart pulse level with voice communication in Real time. This further allows the helmet to generate an SOS call and alert coal miners with its sate of art dust mask. The helmet tracks real time location with a unique miner id.

The data generated is displayed on a desktop to allow easy monitoring of the activities being conducted by the coal miners.

Using Machine learning on sensor data projects the future mine environment parameters and worker’s health related for time stamp.

The National Incubation Centers across the country are always focused in seeking unique ideas that contribute to the greater good of both, the country and of humanity.

What Makes a Start-Up Investable?

According to a survey conducted in the year 2016, it was identified that more than 22% of the Pakistani youth expressed a dire interest in wanting to start their own business as opposed to getting a job. Just in the United States, more than fifty thousand start-ups produced a year.

If a start-up is not investable then they might as well close off their business before they have even begun. According to a research conducted amongst several experts, attorneys and investors, following are five primary elements the investors wish to find in start-ups to consider them investable:

  1. Founders and Advisers

A founder and a panel of advisers are two aspects that are considered the backbone of a start-up because they identify the strength of the network the start-up bases on. An advisory council can help the start-up foot its growth and make relevant and significant decisions without compromising the scaling of the business. Advisers assist the founder in the financial component of the job and often enable them to form strong connections that allow the start-up to grow within the right and desired circle.

  1. Business Model

Before pitching your idea ensure you have answers to key questions such as how you intend to make money. Furthermore, identify if the answer caters to the notion that your business is in fact sustainable. Potential growth is one of the key factors that investors look for when making a call. When making a pitch, it is imperative that founders prove that their idea or their business can and will eventually make profit.

  1. What Problem Is Being Solved?

Whether this is a local or a global problem or a mere market friction that is being catered to, it has to be spelt out for the investor because this can be a deal breaker or a deal maker. The market friction needs to be identified alongside expected and latent friction. All of which allow the founders to uncover the relevant market and understand their user persona so that their pain point can be catered to and whatever problem exists, it can be solved further allowing the start-up to make consistent money.

  1. Potential Exit

Each potential leave accompanies an arrival math dependent on a mix of the amount you contribute, the pre-cash valuation, the amount of the stock the financial specialist possesses, and the price itself. So it is significant not exclusively to have a thought of how much the organization may be sold for, however the investment you contribute and whether extra speculation rounds may weaken your proprietorship rate.

  1. Legal Structure

The very first thing one needs to do is identify which legal structure is fitting for the start-up. This depends largely on the type of business in order to identify the liability. One is required to decide whether a sole proprietorship works for the type of business or if a partner is required. Based on these details, the tax liability has to also be taken into further consideration. Whenever an investor considers investing a sum of money into a start-up or the founder, an intact legal structure plays a pivotal role in enabling them to decide in favor or against the investment.

There are several other aspects that go into the firm standing and the potential growth of an idea into the business world. It is imperative that the team of any start-up takes all of those into consideration; however, if you are at a time crunch then the above 5 points need to be given dire focus and importance to ensure what you are presenting to a panel of potential investors is worth your and their while.

5 Legal Prerequisites Before Establishing a Company

Whenever an entrepreneur implements an idea in the form of a tangible business, legal prerequisites need to be taken into serious consideration in order to avoid trouble. Not considering legal fundamentals can prove to be costly and can hurt any business in the long run. Research is therefore imperative in order to fully comprehend what the government requires entrepreneurs to obtain before they invest their energy, time and money into establishing a business.

The paralegal team at NIC Lahore has made it fairly simple for all our incubated start-ups with the following listicle. If you’re an entrepreneur struggling to prioritize your pressing legal tasks, here are five things that need to be addressed immediately:

  1. Develop Your Co-Founder Agreement

A co-founder agreement is not necessarily a legally binding contract. However, it is an agreement between founders about key issues. This entails the co-founder relationships, their responsibilities to towards the company, structure of the company including, vesting schedules, exit strategies, ownership of intellectual property and such other matters integral to the running of the Company.

  1. Define your Company’s Legal Structure

The company’s structure defines how it is defined legally. Primarily, there are three main business types. These include a sole proprietorship, a partnership and corporation. In most parts of the world the core impressions and functions remain the same. In a sole proprietorship all consequences fall squarely on the founder making them personally liable for possible debts et cetera. A partnership entails a legal relationship and are formed through an agreement between individuals to run a business as co-owned. Lastly, a corporation is a separate entity from the promoters and shareholders of the Company therefore liabilities of the Company are the responsibility of the Company and has no bearing on the promoters or shareholders of the Company.

  1. Get your Permits and Licenses in Order

If your business requires a license, then delaying the task may be a bad idea. Required licenses based on the business are usually specified by the state based on what the business entails to begin with. Where some may require special licensing, others may only require an operating license; identifying the need should be one of the first steps. Additionally, permits allow the government to regulate businesses that may be in direct correlation to the public.

  1. Register Your Business

If you intend to convert your startup into a company recognized under law, then you must not delay registering your business. Registering your business can save a lot of trouble for everyone involved in a platitude of ways. Registering your business enables you to ensure no one else uses the business name and it becomes a separate legal entity thereby limiting the founder’s liability.  Add that they become more inevitable, enhances brand image etc.

  1. Be wary of Business Laws and Regulations

There are three main regulatory branches a business falls in; these are organizational, employment and taxation. Founders are required to immediately identify and define their structure. This means claiming whether their start-up runs on sole proprietorship or not. Additionally, the type of business one intends to run further defines tax laws for them and streamlines employer regulations and perquisites as well.

Therefore, starting a business and executing an idea is always exciting; but without the legal matters in place, the entire situation can go South as soon as it begins. Make sure the above 5 points are in place for your business and avoid possible damage at the hands of legal ignorance.

Dr. Sarah Qureshi On the Brink of An Aerospace Marvel

Dr. Sarah Qureshi is a force to be reckoned with as she sets out with a team to introduce a sophisticated new feature into the aerospace universe. Born and raised in Islamabad, Qureshi recalls having been raised by a family that valued and encouraged education. She grew up inspired by a mother who possessed a PhD in Quantum Chemistry and a father who tirelessly made a name for himself as a prominent Physicist and Scientist.

She completed her bachelor’s in Mechanical engineering from National University of Sciences and Technology and pursued a Master’s in Aerospace Dynamics and a PhD in Aerospace Propulsion, both, from Cranfield University, UK. In conversation with NIC, Qureshi recalls:

SQ: I was very focused and clear about my ambitions from a very young age. After graduating as an engineer and while working in the automotive industry in Pakistan I started to learn flying. I obtained my Private pilot license in Pakistan. During my time at Cranfield University which had its own airport, being the hub of aerospace in Europe I learnt acrobatic flying (loop, spin, hammerhead, barrel roll etc.) of which the most exciting and challenging maneuvers was spinning the aircraft and then recovering it from the spin.

RK: What continued to inspire or motivate you to actively pursue and then retain interest in this field?

SQ: Aviation is a passion; you either have it or you don’t. It is not something you do to make a profession. It has to be pursued deliberately and fervently.

RK: As a woman, it is unheard of for someone to go into aviation. Could you describe people’s response?

SQ: I realized that a lot is happening to support women. There are ample women willing to put in the effort; it is the society’s attitude that needs to be amended. Secondly, if we want women to be more involved and contributive, we need to accept children as part of the package. The arrangement cannot be exclusive. Women have a greater risk appetite and can therefore undertake cutting edge endeavors.

RK: Aside from external support, did your exposure as a child play a part in choosing aviation?

SQ: Yes, the environment at home and having my father in this profession helped a lot. I worked in the automotive industry and as a student I used to work on engines and machines with my father. I also did a few internships at automobile and engineering plants where I got a lot of hands on practice on the factory floor. Besides even as a child my father had his private set up and both my parents were very involved in teaching us ever since our school days.

RK: Where would you say the inspirational force behind Aero Engine Craft lies?

SQ: A major part of this work was also carried out in Pakistan with the support of my father who acted as an external supervisor for the research. That is how my father came up with this breakthrough invention that was granted two international patents. I further developed the entire engineering model for it during my PhD research. I was offered a university studentship for my masters and PhD. This particular problem was given to me as a research question for my PhD thesis by my supervisor Prof. Pericles Pilidis in 2012.

RK: There are always many roadblocks in the process. Did they ever feel like a hindrance towards your goal?

SQ: Roadblocks are a part of pursuing your passion. I went for my PhD after my marriage and had to return to Pakistan after one year when my daughter was born. I continued my PhD for a while in Pakistan working at home while caring for a very young child. When I returned to the UK my family was here, I was a single mother there and the challenges of that are completely different.

Even as a young girl going into factories, I met with discomfort. However, I do believe the support outweighed the distress and most people treated me professionally. I was the only girl in my undergrad engineering class and I often felt like an outcast; one girl amongst 60 boys. But since I don’t find it in me to give up and because I was so supported, I was overwhelmed by the assistance and never felt hindered.

RK: How challenging was it to balance being a mother and being in this field?

SQ: It was very challenging. Your whole world shifts. You are no longer a single entity. But I believe that when you start something there is a lot of inertia which is why if you begin during the good, you can drag it through the difficult. That is how it was for me. I remember a meeting with my supervisor while I was expecting and I was asked when the baby was due, I said “tomorrow” (laughing).

RK: Since the idea was developed abroad, did you ever feel like you should’ve stayed in the UK?

SQ: I was offered to stay there. The response there was excellent and the resources and workspace is incredible. Pakistan lacks the infrastructure and in the UK, the stage is pretty much set for you. You just need to do your bit of work; here in Pakistan everything needs to be done from scratch. You need to first set your own stage before you even get a chance to perform. But that makes your learning curve very steep and it’s a very enriching experience. So, coming back was a personal choice. Pakistan is our identity, this is where we belong and the kind of acceptance and support there is extended here, can’t be found elsewhere.

RK: At NIC Lahore, how has it been for you to work in the facility and with the NIC team?

SQ: It was wonderful. I don’t think anything is possible not just without team effort, but without team credit as well. I was lucky enough to not just be supported by my family but be provided a space by NIC that allowed me to work as per my convenience. I can bring my daughter here and work at my own pace and comfort and I value that a lot amongst other things. NIC enabled me to commercially launch my company Aero Engine Craft (pvt) Ltd as a three-generation startup co-founded by my father and named by my daughter. I would like to acknowledge everyone who has been a part of this journey.

RK: As a pursuer of dreams, when do you think you’ll feel the target of your passion is met? What’s the future?

SQ: The future is going to take time because I am aware of the journey I am on. I want to be able to create awareness through it and I know that deep down I am an environmentalist and I want my engine to benefit society and humanity. When all the engines in the world use this technology, and we are able to counter global warming and save the planet, I will feel like the target is met.

RK: Is there any message or food for thought you’d like to leave young entrepreneurs with?

SQ: Value time. It has its worth just like money.  My time now has a price because of what I am trying to accomplish. Don’t be frugal with time, make it mean something. Do not follow the trend, rather follow your aptitude and passion; that is where you will be able to excel.

The current team;

  1. Sarah Qureshi – Founder and Chief Executive Officer (Aerospace Engineering)
  2. Masood Latif Qureshi – Founder, Inventor and Chief Technology Officer (Design, Engine Development, Manufacturing and spin-off Inventions)
  3. Pericles Pilidis _ PhD supervisor and Academic Collaborator (Jet Engine Technology)
  4. Romana Qureshi – Combustion Chemist
  5. Hassan Waqar – Aeronautical Engineer; Aircraft Performance
  6. Saif Ul Malook – Mechanical Engineer ;Computational Fluid Dynamics
  7. Abdul Ghaffoor –Technician
  8. Tassaduq Hussain- Machinist
  9. Adnan Arif –Network Engineer
  10. Noor Khurram – Data Manager
  11. Shermeen Ahmed Khan- Consultant; Finance
  12. Asim Naseer-Consultant; Business Development
  13. Zahra Qureshi- International Business Collaborator
  14. Adil Zeshan- Technical Writer and Content Developer
  15. Maryam Khan – Developer; Contrail Trading Methodology
  16. Wali Ali – Developer; Artificial Rainfall Model
  17. Hamza Mehmood – Graduate Intern; Manufacturing
  18. Adil Habib – Undergraduate Intern ;Aviation Systems
  19. Omar Nazir – Undergraduate Intern ;Environment and Climate
  20. Nida Rasheed – Graphic Animator

Secretary of State for International Development attends Business Education event by Ilm2 & British High Commission

The British High Commission organised a networking and exposure event for education businesses at LUMS National Incubation Center (NIC) Lahore marking the completion of their Ilm Ideas 2 project. The event held on February 21st 2019 was attended by Chief Guest, Penny Mordaunt, Secretary of State for International Development in the UK.

The event demonstrated a few of the start-ups from across the country that are actively working on improving the quality or access to education.

Andy Brock, from Cambridge Education, stated,

“I am really delighted to attend this event hosted by NIC Lahore. The facility has been very supportive throughout this project to showcase to the Secretary of State, a whole host of excellent Pakistani businesses and incubators doing a wonderful job improving education.”

About UK Aid

Funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), UK Aid Direct was established in 2014 as a successor to the Global Poverty Action Fund (GPAF), which was created in 2010. UK Aid Direct is a challenge fund designed to support the UK’s commitments to achieving the Global Goals.

The share of the private sector in the Pakistani education system is around 40% with a higher incidence in cities and about 65% of the market in low cost schools. Ilm2 is actively seeking solutions of all kinds which could find market in this vast low cost sector. It is working with technology companies like Multinet and SABAQ to develop engaging and localized digital content for primary grades. Other projects include support to companies like AZCorp Entertainment and their comic series for children, or Knowledge Platform, a company working on blended learning and assessment models for low cost schools.

lm Ideas II is providing support to twenty-one start-ups through incubators to encourage new private sector start-ups. The majority of them work on quality issues. As a result of IlM2’s interventions, approximately 43,790 children continue to benefit through various programmes and 15,417 children have been enrolled as students for the first time.

About Ilm Ideas 2

Ilm Ideas II (Ilm II) aims to engage players from outside the education sector, primarily the private sector, to develop innovative approaches to improving the quality of education or increasing access to education in Pakistan. It is a four year programme.  Ilm II is a national programme and currently has its footprint in four out of five regions (Gilgit-Baltistan, Punjab, KP, Sindh and in AJK).

About National Incubation Center Lahore

The National Incubation Centre Lahore (NIC Lahore) is a first of its kind Incubation & Acceleration platform, launched under the public – private partnership of the Ministry of Information Technology & Telecom, IGNITE, Fatima Ventures & Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). Additional information may be found at www.niclahore.lums.edu.pk