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.

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

AYECo. Introduces Smart Canes for the Visually Impaired

From the first batch of graduates of the National Incubation Center Lahore, Faaiz Arbab, a student in the electrical engineering graduate program at Lahore University of Management Sciences’ (LUMS) urbanized a voice-operated smart wheelchair called GOBEE. AYECo. is the first and only manufacturing company in Pakistan producing Smart Wheelchairs and assisted devices. Their wheelchairs can be operated from a mobile application and relives the user from relying on any physical attendant for movement. AYECo. is also working on other assisted devices.

Taking his successful, useful and progressive start-up a step further; AYECo. Is now introducing smart canes for the visually impaired. Smart Cane is an electronic device to help people with visual disability to find a path without hitting obstacles.

What motivated AYECo.?

Low vision and blindness are important public health problems. People with visual impairment usually need support and assistance unless they get vision rehabilitation with the provision of low vision devices, orientation and mobility training and counseling for making specific modifications in their living environment for proper adaptation towards performing day to day activities and social integration. Most electrical low vision devices cost an arm and a leg, and that is the primary reason why the poor in Pakistan cannot afford it. The average cost of an imported blind man stick is almost $400.

According to the Journal of Pakistan Medical Association (JPMA), there are 2 million people in Pakistan, who are visually impaired and almost 1.7 million of them are not affording a cane which costs $400.

The Solution They Offer

We live in an amazing time in terms of finding technological solutions for people who have lost their sight. Each day seems to bring a new medical or electronic solution, making the world more accessible for physically impaired. AYECo. Is researching on electronic blind man canes for the blind community of Pakistan. The start-up intends to produce a smart, effective cane which will cost no more than $50.

After struggling with and manufacturing multiple prototypes of the Smart Cane made, the start-up has finally perfect their product.

The first prototype was not fold-able and demonstrated difficult vibration pattern. The second prototype was modified and made a compact remote with the electronic circuitry embedded in it. In this way, Smart Cane become a fold-able device.

The Smart Cane has a rechargeable battery and can easily attach a white cane to it. AYECo. intends to launch the Smart Cane in Pakistan. Their aim is to provide cheap technological solutions for assistive devices in Pakistan.

They wish to make Smart Cane more compact and connect it with smartphones so that it can help the visually impaired navigate with ease. We wish the team at AYECo. The very best of luck as they improve the lifestyle of the physically impaired in Pakistan, one futuristic product at a time.

NIC Proudly Welcomes Ilm 2’s Second Cohort

Ilm Ideas 2 is a 4 year program that runs locally and is funded by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DIFD) and is managed by Cambridge Education. In the grand scheme of things it ensures that the youth of Pakistan is well-endowed and literate.

The program itself focuses on 3 primary strands. Primarily it supports startups establish their business ideas that work towards improving the quality of education. IIM2 may provide them with grant funding to ensure the outcomes of the business plans are being met effectively and lastly, the program ensures that new and innovative ideas are being continuously supported even after the program ends.

In order to accomplish the three strands meritoriously and to guarantee plausible improvement in the education system of the country, NIC LUMS plays a pivotal role.

NIC welcomes Cohort 2 for Ilm 2

Under cohort 2 the following 6 startups currently incubated with NIC LUMS were shortlisted. Out of these 6, four were finalized to receive funding under the Ilm 2 program.

Ilm Rohi

Ilm Rohi offers blended learning programmes to teachers in Bahawalpur and Layyah district. The founder of ILM Rohi – Fida Hussain has extensive experience of working with various education institutes in Bahawalpur and he believes that teachers lack pedagogical skills in his area.

Fida wants to develop courses on teaching and learning and offer them to teachers in his district as well as neighboring districts.

BigBytes

BigBytes offers schools to develop Makerspaces to promote STEM learning. BigBytes offers its makerspace equipment to both high end and bottom of the pyramid schools and customizes its curriculum according to its clientele.

They also connect robotics experts for technical guidance in engineering projects. Their team comprises of 5 members and almost 30 volunteers.

Comic Con PK Foundation

Comic Con is providing training to high school students in content development and animation for the last 7 years. The startup is giving young children a voice through animation. They offer customized courses to children of all age groups on animation and cartoon creation.

The founder, Mudassar Butt is also developing a comic book and has developed a cartoonists network in Pakistan that comprises of 25 top cartoonists of the country.

 

Careerz360

Careerz 360 provides human resources services to university graduates through the use of human and artificial intelligence.

It bridges the gap between industry and academia by connecting startups and students from various universities with potential employment and research opportunities.

Honorable Mentions

Even though the following two did not make it to the final list, they were shortlisted by the team because of their innovative ideas and progressive approach.

Women’s Press

The startup aims to edit and publish books, research publications for schools, universities and institutions of higher education. Musharraf and his Co-Founder are targeting students between the ages of 5 to 18 years.

The Web Theater

TWT intends to create a talent hub in Pakistan in the form of a web channel platform. The startup aims to target people between the age groups of 15 to 35 years.

We wish the incubated 4 startups the very best of luck and hope to witness their growth as they continue to reach new entrepreneurial heights.

LUMS – Supporting Women Entrepreneurship in Pakistan

Gender rights and equal opportunities for women have always been a debatable concept. This is especially true for third world countries like Pakistan. For a very long time, women have been deprived even the acknowledgement that they may possess skills that can help them excel in the professional world. Despite making up more than 60% of Pakistan’s population, their craft has often been overlooked and considered non-lucrative for Pakistan’s economy.

However, the narrative is in a flux and has been for quite a while. Under this mutability comes the hopeful inventiveness of the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) National Incubation Centre (NIC) Lahore in cahoots with Karandaaz Pakistan. NIC won a competitive bid under the Women Entrepreneurship Challenge in 2017-18. This led to a productive partnership between NIC Lahore and Baluchistan University of Technology and Management Sciences (BUITEMS) to scout women led business venture like none other.

The National Incubation Center (NIC) Lahore was inaugurated by Minister of State for Information Technology and Telecommunications, Ms. Anusha Rahman Khan at a ceremony held at Lahore University of Management Sciences on December 23, 2017. NIC Lahore will house the first ever Makers Lab in Pakistan, a modern facility equipped with the latest technologies and smart equipment to bring ideas to life. The 23,000 square feet space not only houses the incubator and accelerator but also provides business acceleration services to incubated companies, a Smart Lab, a Design Thinking Lab and various libraries along with an in-house auditorium.

 

 

 

 

Driven by set guidelines and definitive objectives, the collaborative forces of NIC and BUITEMS sought high growth women led businesses and micro businesses. Their agenda; to further incubate them through the provision of a custom designed world-class curriculum and state of the art facilities paired with professional mentorship and the hopes of becoming a part of the grand business narrative.

After the tireless exploration, women led businesses were further connected to necessary financial sources, information and a network of well-versed facilitators. Furthermore, the micro entrepreneurs were enabled through a rigorous training curriculum at BUITEMS incubation center.

Since these steps were initially taken; 24 micro entrepreneurs were inducted in Quetta and 10 high growth businesses were incubated at NIC Lahore.

After the gruelling process of each business analysing itself to meet set bench marks, taking in the guidance and expanding their vision; the women entrepreneurs graduated on March 9th 2018. This ceremony entailed further empowering of their businesses allowing them to continue growing even after they left the direct guidance of the mentors at NIC.

To be viable graduates, NIC Lahore in collaboration with Karandaaz Pakistan hosted an Investors Summit allowing the women entrepreneurs to put learning into practice in front of a panel of esteemed judges from the managerial body, Karandaaz, Pakistan. The 26 businesses pitched their revamped, redefined and more mature pitches towards the judges. They demonstrated not only their growth under the guidance of NIC but also their approach towards a more sustainable business future.

In efforts to monitor impact, effectiveness and sustainability, the NIC management team used statistics based indicators to ensure NIC’s Key Performance Indicator’s (KPIs) are monitored throughout the structured incubation program.

The NIC regulation proved worthwhile when two high growth businesses; Aero Craft Engine founded by Sarah Qureshi and Zari Faisal Designs founded by Zarlasht Faisal, along with 14 micro entrepreneurs from Quetta received grants and equity investments.

Breaking Barriers: Sarah Qureshi sets out to take over the Aerospace Universe

With a PhD degree in Aerospace Engineering from Cranfield University, UK, Sarah Qureshi set out with a team of four including herself, to introduce a sophisticated new feature into the aerospace universe.

Qureshi is a powerhouse on her own with a Private Pilot License (PPL) and 70 hours of Flying Experience and familiarity in acrobatic flying. Driven by the passion to soar through the sky and to eliminate global warming, Qureshi and her team put together state of the art technology. With the added feature of reduced carbon footprint, her team designed a revolutionary contrail-free aero-engine.

This aero-engine is a unique pressure based condensation system devised specifically for airborne applications. It is a novel addition to the family of gas-turbine components. Not only does the technology reduce the aviation industry’s contribution to global warming by effectively eliminating contrails, but it also signifies a positive contribution of the aviation industry itself. It enables them towards meeting the global challenge of water scarcity by creating localized rain in the process.

Sarah Qureshi’s technology holds the potential to shift the negative impact of aviation to a positive contribution towards the environment.

This sophisticated and unique research project even won the Clean Technology Competition for the 2016 Clean Equity Conference, Monaco and was shortlisted for a few other environmental technology innovation competitions.

The concept is inimitable and the design is patent-protected. Its reliability, minimalism, and ease of implementation within the ecosystem are what set it apart. The design and the technology involved in its development are synergistic with the current technology employed by aero-engine manufacturers. Another unique specification is that it is a supplementary device and can therefore be cohesive to existing aircraft engines.

After being housed at NIC Lahore for four months, Qureshi and her team managed to receive decent investments from Karandaaz allowing them to pilot their project. With a financial plan in place and investors pegging their success, Aero Craft Engine is all set to take the aerospace industry by storm and NIC couldn’t be more proud.

The National Incubation Center Lahore believes in and strives to instill experiential learning through all the entrepreneurs it incubates. With the sole intention to breed sustainable, high-growth and high-impact ventures in Pakistan, NIC stands proud under the success of the Women Entrepreneurship Challenge with the promise that more female-led businesses will continue to flourish under their experienced wings.

So if you have an idea that you believe deserves to be heard and given an opportunity, then LUMS National Incubation Center is the place to be. Put ideas into action and send us your brief at salwa.akhtar@lums.edu.pk so we may scout, home and breed your dream into reality.

Treble, an alumnus of LCE makes it to Top 15 at Startup Istanbul 2016

treble

 

Treble, an alumnus of LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship from its 4th cohort, has made its way to the top 15 at Startup Istanbul 2016. The startup was selected from a pool of the most promising 100 startups from all over the world. It was one of the two Pakistani startups to be chosen from 25,000 startups from 135+ countries that applied in the capacity.

Treble is a brainchild of LUMS alumni Muhammad Saad and Muqeet Shahzad. Treble focuses on music and defines themselves as the Spotify + Instagram of crowd-sourced music videos. It takes videos uploaded by people across the globe and stitches them together to create a complete music video. After successfully graduating from the incubation program at the LUMS Center of Entrepreneurship in March 2016, the company has been invited to prestigious startup summits such as Google-LUMS Pakistan Startup Summit in May, 2016. Treble has also come into a partnership with Sony Global Entertainment for access to their music assets.

Startup Istanbul is the leading startup event which brings together founders, investors and executives in the region. It’s a gathering of the leading startups, internet companies, business angels and venture capitalists from Asia and Europe.

LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship partners with EO Lahore and GSEA Pakistan

 

EO/GSEA with LCE

LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship (LCE) has come into a strategic partnership with EO Lahore and GSEA Pakistan. The MoU was signed between Khurram Zafar (Executive Director at LCE) and Khurram Saleem (President EO Lahore). This collaboration will help all the partners achieve their common goal of promoting entrepreneurship.

EO Lahore and GSEA Pakistan’s representatives visited the Center and held informational sessions for LCE’s entrepreneurs. While addressing the entrepreneurs, Omar Chughtai (Director Chughtai Lab, EO Representative) shared valuable insights and quoted “Anything that brings convenience to the middle class has a lot of potential” He also advised “Pick one problem, find a solution, make it scalable, accessible & monetize it, don’t try to solve too many problems at one time”

Khurram Zafar while speaking about this partnership stated “We look forward to continue to scout and support passionate Pakistani entrepreneurs in collaboration with EO Lahore Chapter and GSEA Pakistan. The shared vision of the three organizations have to bolster entrepreneurship in Pakistan will go a long way towards strengthening this partnership over the long haul.”

About Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO)

The Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) is a global business network of 12,000+ leading entrepreneurs in 160 chapters in more than 50 countries. Founded in 1987 by a group of young entrepreneurs, EO enables business owners to learn from each other, leading to greater business success and an enriched personal life.

About EO Lahore Chapter

Formed in 2004, EO Lahore Chapter comprises a total of 67 leading entrepreneurs with a total turnover of over USD 8.97 Billion and a combined workforce of more than 97,000 employees. EO Lahore Chapter empowers these influential entrepreneurs to grow and learn towards greater personal triumph and contentment. They aim to educate, transform, inspire and offer invaluable resources in the form of global events, leadership-development programs, an online entrepreneur forum and executive education opportunities, among other offerings designed for personal and professional growth.

About GSEA

GSEA supports student entrepreneurs who require much needed mentorship, recognition and connections to take their businesses to the next level of success. They aim to empower student entrepreneurs to become the world’s more influential change makers. They also strive to provide student entrepreneurs the opportunity to accelerate their success, challenge the status quo, connect to an instrumental peer group and make the greatest impact possible in their community.

18 startups make it to the prestigious foundation Program at LCE

 LCE Batch 6

 

Hundreds of applications poured in this season for The Foundation program 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 6th batch for its four month Foundation program.

The startups that made it to the sixth batch include: A*Star; an online learning portal that allows students from anywhere in Pakistan to access quality teachers at an affordable cost, BlisFix; An online marketplace specializing in providing the best buying and selling experience related to installment plans, Bookcity.pk; an online portal that allows customers to buy & sell books, Counsell; a mobile app that lets all users set their professional hourly rate, schedule consultation sessions that are conducted via our live video platform, and get paid for their time, Dasti is a convenient within city on demand delivery service and Edu-care; An online freelance learning website with free education for underprivileged children

The other startups were; Edlytica; a learning analytics program which collects, integrates and analyses educational data to improve learning management, to highlight learning gaps, Gemtech enhances the quality of gems and exports them, Grassroots Education Consultants; a school and education management company which addresses weak performance areas of their schools, HomeStove; a service that aims to deliver highly quality home-cooked food to customers across the city, IceCurl; Provides an experience of fresh icecream using fresh fruits and presentation in rolls form, Ilmistan; An online teacher portal to help teachers in their education and improves the learning culture of classrooms. Keep School safe; raises awareness & provide services for Students on Disaster Management & Safety Standards, Mahir; connects people with reviewed and rated local businesses/ professionals, Silicon Apocalypse Studios; a fiction themed board game bringing new concepts to the market, Sojourn; a platform for landlords and tenants to virtually meet and helps them find secure and quality abodes at affordable rates & Thandi Chingari A roadside gola-cart that provides hygienic ice golas in innovating flavors.

The contract signing ceremony took place at LUMS, where the selected startups signed their Entrepreneurship Development Program 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 Mianwali, Sialkot, Islamabad and Sargodha. I encourage all of you to work hard, persevere and stay committed to your dreams. Success will follow.”

 

 

Startup Weekend Lahore Ed-Innovation 2016 attracts over 130 education innovators

IMG_2651-1

LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship, in collaboration with Ilm Ideas 2 and Techstars, organized a themed Startup Weekend event at LUMS to scout and support innovators looking to address the enrollment, retention and learning outcome challenges in the education sector of Pakistan.

The event started on Friday evening, August 5, with Dr. Zartash Afzal Uzmi, LUMS faculty member and facilitator for Startup Weekend Lahore, commencing the proceedings and opening remarks presented by Shahida Saleem, Team Lead Pakistan Education Innovation Fund (Ilm Ideas 2). From among the 130 participants of the Startup Weekend, a total of 66 startups made their elevator pitches to the audience on Friday evening. 19 startups were shortlisted to continue with the competition and mentoring support for the rest of the weekend.

Participants worked tirelessly throughout the weekend including the nights with a passion that was palpable. Through Saturday until Sunday evening, successful business people and educators came in to mentor and coach the startups and help them polish their business models, financials and even presentations. The hard work of all the teams culminated on Sunday, August 7, where all the 19 shortlisted teams pitched in front of a panel of judges comprising of Khurram Zafar, Abid Malik, Faisal Bari, Izza Farrukh, Shahida Saleem, Imran Sarwar and Gauher Aftab.

Ilmistan, an online platform for teachers training won the competition. Keep Schools Safe, a startup focused on imparting disaster preparedness training to schools, came in second. According to the founders, there are hundreds of thousands of kids whose education suffer because of disruptions caused by natural disasters and people-caused incidents in Pakistan. Edu Care, a startup formed by students of Namal University that aims to build an online networking platform to connect students in any part of the country with volunteer tutors and coaches, came in third. The founders of Educare dedicated the win to the generous donors of Namal University that enabled them to seek good education and gave them the confidence to start their own ambitious venture. The Audience Favorite vote went out to SS Gamification, a team who is working on gamifying social sciences subjects in schools.

Addressing the participants of the Startup Weekend, Shahida Saleem of Ilm Ideas 2 said, “You all blew me away! Your energy, your passion and your commitment is infectious and I believe that a lot of social enterprises we saw develop over the weekend will play a pivotal role in providing 25 million out of school children access to good education.”

The winning team and the top two runners up are offered guaranteed incubation at LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship while all other participants were encouraged to apply for incubation for the 6th batch of LCE through the online application process.

About Startup Weekend Lahore:

Startup Weekend Lahore is the Lahore chapter of the global Startup Weekend event held at LUMS every year. The event is backed by Google for Entrepreneurs, .CO and TechStars and is a 54-hour event that brings together enthusiastic and driven budding entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups leading to the path of launching successful ventures.

About LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship:

LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship (LCE) is Pakistan’s most comprehensive experiential development platform for budding entrepreneurs that formalizes the process of scouting, grooming and facilitating passionate startup founders. Gust and Fundacity recently rated LCE the #1 accelerator in Pakistan and #11 in Asia. Since its inception in May 2014, LCE has mentored over 130 entrepreneurs who have created over 400 direct jobs and provided better economic and livelihood opportunities for thousands more. LCE graduates have already generated PKR 200 Million in revenues and are valued at PKR 1.5 Billion backed by approximately PKR 150 Million in investment capital by local and foreign investors. More about LCE at: https://lce.lums.edu.pk and http://www.facebook.com/lumscent and http://www.twitter.com/lumscent

About Ilm Ideas 2:

Ilm Ideas 2, supported by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), provides a platform for the generation, piloting and scaling up of innovative solutions to address critical education challenges in Pakistan. Phase 2 of the program, launched in 2015, is managed by Cambridge Education, a member of the Mott MacDonald group. More about Ilm Ideas 2 at: http://www.ilmideas2.pk/ and https://www.facebook.com/IlmIdeas and https://twitter.com/IlmIdeas2

Sabzi.pk, a LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship start-up, secures seed funding at US$7.5M valuation

Founded by a passionate young entrepreneur from Ali Pur Chattha near Gujranwala, Sabzi.pk, an online fruits and vegetables delivery startup housed at LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship (LCE) just announced that it has closed its seed financing from the owners of a large Pakistani retail conglomerate. The deal values sabzi.pk at USD 7.5 Million, the highest value fetched by an LCE company for seed round funding.

Sabzi.pk Team

Sabzi.pk has been growing north of 100% month over month, growing its customer base primarily in Lahore for now. Aside from same day delivery of fresh fruits and vegetables to consumer door steps, the company has started deliveries to hotels and restaurants in Lahore also. With a constant effort to increase procurement direct from farmers, Sabzi.pk is able to deliver the goods to its customers at highly competitive prices while ensuring highest quality and grade of the fruits and vegetables.

Farooq Haider, CEO of Sabzi.pk, while commenting on the funding said, “We had multiple offers for the six figures seed capital investment we were seeking but decided to go with the investors we thought most complemented our business from a strategic standpoint. The capital will primarily be used to build HR capacity, streamline our supply chain and customer relationship operations and marketing the sabzi.pk brand.”

Sabzi.pk is already planning to expand its operations in other major cities of Pakistan to cater to an ever-expanding demand from both consumers and corporate customers. “I want to turn Sabzi.pk into a national brand and trading platform that doesn’t only benefit our customers but also improves the lives and livelihoods of Pakistani farmers as we increase direct-from-farm procurement and reduce or eliminate their dependence on multiple intermediaries,” Farooq further commented.

“Farooq’s passion for his start-up, the work ethic he instilled in Sabzi.pk’s team, constant drive to make the business better and accumulate happy customers, are all key ingredients for business success. I am happy that local, Pakistani investors are beginning to value the importance of good founders and growth potential of new startups. Farooq has made us all proud and we wish his venture great success,” said Khurram Zafar, Executive Director of LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship commenting on the deal.

About Sabzi.pk

Sabzi.pk is a startup accelerated by LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship that provides an online and phone based fruits and vegetables delivery service for household consumers and corporate customers in the HORECA sector. By procuring direct from farmers and mandis, sabzi.pk is able to deliver fruits and vegetables to its customers at their doorsteps at prices usually cheaper than most retail outlets. The company is founded by Farooq Haider, Aown Abbas and Muhammad Awais. For placing orders at sabzi.pk, customers can visit http://sabzi.pk or call their call center at 0304-111-5-111. The CEO, Farooq Haider can be reached at 0334-4403181 for further comments.