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LUMS Appoints NIC’s Foundation Council

Furthering its mission of training a generation of future business leaders, the National Incubation Centre (NIC) at LUMS is delighted to appoint a new Foundation Council (FC), comprising of leadership of some of the most successful Pakistani start-ups. “NIC is thrilled to elicit support from Pakistani role model entrepreneurs for our future generation of problem solvers. I’m confident that our continued efforts to connect ideas with people and capital will yield positive outcomes for Pakistan”, said Saleem Ahmad, Chairman, NIC Advisory Board, speaking of the formation of the Council.

Making up the Council, are dynamic Pakistani entrepreneurs and investors including: Aatif Awan, Founder and Managing Partner of Indus Valley Capital, a Pakistan-focused early stage Venture Capital fund that has led investment rounds for Atoms, Airlift, Aimfit and Bazaar; Saba Gul, Founder and CEO of Popinjay, an ethical e-commerce retailer with a supply chain spanning Pakistan, Vietnam and China. MIT-educated engineer turned entrepreneur, she was most recently a Director of Product at VentureDive, a technology studio in Karachi; Hamza Iqbal, Founder of Healthwire, a health-tech start-up incubated at NIC LUMS (formerly LCE) which has raised US$700,000 from 47 Ventures; Junaid Iqbal, former Managing Director of Careem Pakistan and Careem Pay, is an investor and partner at Mentors Fund, and Chairman of Salt Arts, a music, art and entertainment agency; Muneeb Maayr, Founder at Bykea, the largest network of motorbikes serving on-demand transport, logistics and payment services in Pakistan. Previously, Maayr was Co-Founder and CEO at Daraz.pk, Pakistan’s leading ecommerce platform, acquired by Alibaba Group, and Qasif Shahid, CEO and Co-Founder of Finja, a fintech start-up focused on providing accessible financial services to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and their stakeholders. The Council will be joined by NIC Advisory Board members Saleem Ahmad, Zehra Hyder Ali and Ali Mukhtar.

The Foundation Council, together with the NIC Advisory Board, will provide guidance to the Foundation programme by selecting its sixth cohort of aspiring entrepreneurs from a large and diverse pool of applicants; and coaching, mentoring and connecting them for success. Funded by Ignite, the Foundation is an immersive six-months long programme designed to help young Pakistani entrepreneurs develop their ideas into an investor-ready business plan, benefit from a network of experts and business leaders, culminating in a capstone Investor Summit.

The renewed vision for NIC is focused on problem solving in high impact areas for Pakistan—agriculture, education, environment, health, financial inclusion and applications using machine learning and artificial intelligence—with success determined as fundraising for growth. “Raising capital from investors is incontrovertible evidence of commercial viability and conviction in the entrepreneur team, and our new FC embodies just that”, commented Saleem Ahmad, about the choice of council members. Dr. Alnoor Bhimani, Dean, School of Business, LUMS, added, “Our start-up community has a lot to learn from the successes and mistakes of our FC members in navigating to great success; while FC members will have a gratifying engagement with the next generation of innovators and an opportunity to contribute to their success.”

NIC Lahore aims to build a comprehensive entrepreneurial ecosystem, with LUMS at its epicentre, and support of Ignite, Ministry of Information, Technology and Telecom, and Fatima Ventures, to help maximize the growth potential of Pakistani entrepreneurs. NIC’s renewed vision expands upon the LUMS ‘Learning without Borders’ agenda that aims to create an environment of inclusion, unity, and boundless knowledge to develop innovators, leaders and change-makers who can contribute to the community and economic development of Pakistan.

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