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

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.

Education, An Awakening by Ilm Ideas 2

Ilm Ideas 2 focuses on improving the condition of the supply and demand of education in Pakistan. It 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. The intent of this program is to develop and support innovative educational establishments to ensure the demand of education in Pakistan is being met. Therefore, 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:

  1. It supports startups establish their business ideas that work towards improving the quality of education. This is where the National Incubation Center at LUMS Lahore steps in and scouts for startups working under the said category.
  2. Once that has been accomplished, IIM2 may provide them with grant funding to ensure the outcomes of the business plans are being met effectively.
  3. Most importantly, 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.

How NIC Scouts for Promising Startups

NIC is an established incubator in Lahore and holds one of the strongest networks of investors, education mentors, alumni network, facilities and other useful amenities. The establishment is already responsible for incubating several new and innovative education institutions. Under the funding of ILM2, NIC set out to look for visionaries in the education sector that desired to potentially change the face of education in Pakistan.

At the same time, NIC also believes in catering to the education facilities often found at the bottom of the pyramid. Under this approach, supported by the likes of Akhuwat and other similar foundations, NIC took over approximately 20 education micro entrepreneurs last year under a different program, training youth from low income communities, out of which 15 ran their own schools. NIC is a firm believer of balance, equity and diversity. The micro-entrepreneurs taken under the guidance were located in areas ranging from Bedian Road, Walton, Cantt, Mughalpura, Nishat Colony, Sadar, Manalwala, Kotlakhpat and others.

Inspired and motivated by a similar approach, higher in the pyramid of social hierarchy, under the funding of ILM 2, NIC was able to incubate approximately more than 10 educational-technology (ed-tech) companies as well. The most promising ones amongst them were Grassroots, Edkasa and BigBytes.

BigBytes is a group of Technology Educationists. The startup belongs to the current cohort of incubated businesses at NIC Lahore. The incentive of this establishment is to teach people how to make use of the tools of technology, and their creative faculties to solve real-life problems. The business was initiated by a community of tech enthusiasts through collaborative, hands-on learning. Their aim was to introduce robotics and the latest technologies in the schools of Pakistan by conducting workshops and establishing the model of a tech-focused makerspace.

Grassroots Consultants provides management consultancy services, as well as edTec solutions in the education sector. One of the solutions they developed and deployed is “School Service Quality Management” program.  Through this solution they are able to obtain monthly feedback from a sizable sample of each school’s parent community on how satisfied they are with the education services being delivered and the performance in light of specified performance indicators.

The received information is then digitally captured into a designed Education Service Score Card and then circulated to School Heads and their Management. This allows them to keep track of the progress of each school through close monitoring. The technology and the processes used are relatively low costing, more so, they are customizable and highly effective. Grassroots is currently working on deploying similar solutions at a lower cost for public schools as well.

EDKASA – Our Success Story

The founders of this business Annum Sadiq and Fahad Tanveer displayed immense skill, talent and experience in their respective fields.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amongst the plethora of accomplishments under the ILM2 program, the one greatest success story is EDKASA. This business aims to increase access to qualitative secondary education by making available top notch teachers across the country through a collaborative online learning platform. The platform allows live, cooperative and interactive classes connecting one teacher to approximately 100 students at a time. Using the EDKASA Direct product, students from anywhere in the country can join the platform just as long as they have access to the internet. Autonomously, EDKASA aspires to make available its ‘teacher stream’ to its own franchisees. The incentive behind this is to target those students who cannot directly connect to the platform thus ensuring that this unavailability does not impact their academic exposure.

EDKASA was able to receive an investment of up to £150,000 by the Ilm Ideas 2 program. This allowed them to pilot test their business model and to conduct more market research to increase accuracy and efficiency of their approach. EDKASA achieved a flopping sum of £ 1.5 Million  from the ILM2 program because of various factors. The most promising ones included its potential to scale, its likelihood to reach young people in poorer communities who were at a risk of dropping out of schools and lastly, EDKASA’s committed team of highly ambitious, driven and innovative individuals.

Story Kit

Story Kit or, Kahani Se Kitab Tak is another program incubated at NIC that works towards for teaching children the Urdu language through story telling. The organization works on developing products for historical sites and monuments, such as, Wazir Khan Mosque. It aims to substitute the methods of teaching Urdu currently by introducing children to Urdu literature and folktales through stories while also organizing free Story Kit sessions on weekends in schools located in the relatively low income areas. Developed by Pakistani–Canadian writer, translator, and essayist Musharraf Ali Farooqi the Kahani Se Kitab Tak program partnered with Children’s Global Network, Pakistan State Oil, British Council also a brand called Leisure Club, introduces children to Urdu literature while ensuring their learning of the language.

Story Kit has partnered with Knowledge Platform, Alif Ailan, British Council, Ferozsons Lab, PSO, Arbisoft and is launching a product specifically targeting exclusive schools like Lahore Grammar (LGS), International School Karachi, Beaconhouse Newlands, Roots Millennium, SICAS, LACAS and others. They are currently working on marketing their products and simultaneously targeting more schools to branch out their services and reach a wider audience.

Education, An Awakening!

The National Incubation Center stands firm over the belief that innovative learning is the future and the best way to enable the youth of today for a more promising tomorrow. Keeping this view in mind, the implementation of the ILM2 program allowed NIC to scout and home some of the sharpest and most pioneering minds in the country. Through this inventive approach, NIC was able to provide stable grounding for establishment to the likes of BigBytes, Grassroots and EDKASA. The forces at NIC LUMS believe that an investment in the innovative minds of today through knowledge pays the best interest in the future of the country.