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!

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.

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

NIC Lahore Batch 2 – A Recap

On January 10th, the National Incubation Center Lahore hosted the second investor’s summit for the graduating batch. The Summit is committed to making genuine and reliable contributions to the entrepreneurial community. NIC offers the perfect platform for networking as it brings together entrepreneurs and investors within Pakistan. The investors included 43 ventures, Fatima Ventures, Khurram Zafar, Almas Hyder, Usman Sabir, Umer Shah and several others. Each start-up was allowed 3-4 minutes to make their pitch – a fruit of their 4-month long incubation journey with the facility. The pitches included a demonstration of learnt skills, business models and financial ask.

Several raised the interest of the investors present hoping to secure a deal and promise themselves a more profitable future. NIC is a believer of providing opportunities to entrepreneurs and the investor’s summit is perhaps the most sought after event of our program.

30 start-ups were incubated in categories of Health, Education, Energy, Water and Agriculture.

Out of the 30, 15 start-ups graduated and were given the chance to present their pitches to investors.

The 15 start-ups included:

  1. Entertainment Pakistan

  2. Paycard

  3. Big Bytes

  4. MittiGhar

  5. Comic Con Pk.

  6. The Support Group

  7. Roady’s Café

  8. Mawazna.com

  9. Careerz360.pk

  10. Ilm Rohi

  11. Vceela

  12. AgriMart

  13. TrashMasti

  14. Home Innovation and

  15. RADA Technologies

Design Thinking

The graduation marked the end of a 6-month long journey inclusive of training sessions and one-on-one mentor-ship. Every start-up was given the opportunity to start their journey with a ten-day entrepreneurial development program. Soon after, they attended a 5-day workshop with the internationally acclaimed Shahid Khan and his design thinking workshop.

Industry Tour

The start-ups were also given a chance to visit the industry and learn from entrepreneurs in the business world, first hand. During the 3-day industry tour they interacted with and sat in sessions conducted by names like Daftarkhuwan, Fatima Ventures, Shakarganj and others.

Mentor-ship

Apart from the above events, the start-ups were regularly exposed to international and local mentors who provided them insight into the many facets of the entrepreneurial world so they may be equipped to step out. They attended sessions with lawyers, marketers, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, social media experts, website designers, investors and financial leads so that the start-ups may understand the many branches of their business and cater to them all, effectively.

What we Stand For

NIC Lahore believes in ensuring that the very best deal is provided to the start-ups. To ensure a decent impression is made, the 6-month long journey was tiresome indeed but productive for those who served the purpose well, invested their energies and were dedicated to ensure they meet the prerequisites set by the facility. Whether it was a 5-year plan or the drafting of an investment brief, the highly acclaimed trainers of NIC Lahore equipped all the start-ups to the best of their abilities before they were given the floor to make their pitches to potential investors.

NIC Lahore believes in providing opportunities to the start-ups to the best of its abilities. The investor’s summit marks the end of a start-up journey and commences the start of a business venture. We wish to continue serving the entrepreneurial community by incubating and producing more deserving entrepreneurs with revolutionary business ideas.

When to Boost Posts on Social Media – A Guide Startups

If you have a startup or a full-functioning business with a social media profile, then you are probably aware of the “Boost Post” button. The purpose why this button is made available is to help businesses increase their overall reach. However, when it comes to boosting a post, selecting which to boost is a predicament. More so, the amount that should be spent is also a question.

So, if you wish to boost your post on Facebook and Twitter here are answers to some of your questions.

Boosting Facebook Posts

Managing a Facebook page means you’ve often come across the system telling you that a certain post is performing better than the rest. This automatically also states that Facebook is suggesting for you to boost it. Where several people tend to ignore these notifications; they are there for a reason.

The in-built assessment feature of Facebook posts allows it to keep you informed. It keeps track of the quality of the posts and their performance on an average basis. It also often recommends how much you should be spending on boosting the post.

Facebook posting it not limited and allows the leeway to ensure a strong post is being viewed by a wider audience. Here are three ways you can boost a Facebook post:

  1. To Followers: Unfortunately, often the organic reach of certain posts is not as far reached as one would hope. For this very reason, the marketing strategies for all social media platforms keep altering. So, if you wish to boost a post to increase its reach to people who already follow you then the best options are features, updates, or events. These are elements that create hype amongst those who already know what you’re doing.
  2. To friends of followers: If you wish to increase your number of followers then this type of boosting needs to be considered. Pick your best post and boost it so that it appears on a non-follower’s page and is intriguing enough to get them to follow you.
  3. To selective group of people: If your post is getting a lot of shares, boost with a wider audience based on select criteria.

Important Boosting Hacks

It is always a bad idea to boost a post right after you’ve posted it. It is always a smart idea to wait for at least 3 days before pressing that button. Oftentimes, people decide to not boost a post if it did not organically manage to get any notifications. Just because Facebook did not inform of that a certain post is doing well, it does not mean you shouldn’t boost it. Keeping track of the insights can help learn which post is reaching how many people.

It is always a smart idea to boost videos mainly because it is the most engaging kind of content one produces. Text only posts are often limited to a certain type of audience. However, posts that are videoed or have graphics automatically intrigue more people just because they are visual.

However, this does not mean that you don’t put out any text whatsoever. The credibility of a page often relies on the content that is being produced whether you choose to boost it. It is always a smart idea to boost those posts that are original. Where sharing posts by other pages isn’t a bad idea, it does not have the desired impact. It is always smarter and more effective to boost a post that is exclusive to your page.

The goal of boosting a post is to get your brand in front of more eyes; therefore, what you’ve created wholly should meet more eyes.

Budgeting your Boosts

Boosting costs of a post are not as high as one would expect. You can set a daily budget for yourself and ensure you’re meeting that benchmark. Boosting a post is often better than ads because of the time allowed to use the former. Ads limit you to a certain sum monthly limiting your overall budget. So, for startups who do not wish to invest a great deal, boosting a post is a great way to go about marketing your product or service.

Boost with A Resolve

It is important to have a proper marketing strategy regardless of the platform where you choose to market. Knowing when to spend the money and where to spend it, is a big plus especially for startups who already have a limited budget to begin with. It is irrelevant and will be lost in vain if you boost posts without a final resolve in mind. Set an objective or a goal for yourself; it can be as simple as gaining 100 more followers after boosting a post.

There are many ways one can gain traffic in an organic way. However, where investment is needed it should be made but with a clear head and with an objective in mind. If you can witness the strength in one of your social media posts, make the smart call and boost it.

The Importance of a Sales Strategy for a Startup

Any business or company that designs a product or service, must at one point sell it. Often when businesses are in their startup phase they focus on not just developing the product but on marketing as well. Lost in the above two steps, they often overlook and fail to provide the required attention to sales. This is something that can be detrimental to the growth of their business.

Therefore, it is important for companies to invest the same amount of effort on developing a strong sales strategy. There is no denying that a well-orchestrated marketing strategy places a business and its services on the roadmap to visibility, a sales plan allows them to make profits out of their product. The gist of a good sales plan must include:

  1. Acquiring new customers.
  2. Retaining previous customers and
  3. Making more sales.

This article answers some of your pressing concerns that must have arisen during the Sun Tzu and Sales Panel discussion arranged by NIC.

Why Must you have a Sales Plan?

A sales plan is more focused on acquiring new customers and therefore must be developed keeping that in mind. This allows you to understand that the targeted individuals do not know about the product and must be informed. To address their concerns from all angles, a thorough strategy must be devised. Here I what this allows you to do.

1. It improves your team’s return on investment

A plan or a strategy ensures you have the big picture in mind. It allows you to focus on obtaining new clients and identify if your current strategy works for you or not. It also allows you streamline areas that are most profitable. You can devise tactics and maximize results while keeping in mind your budgetary limitations.

2. It ensures you Hire People Beneficial to your Business

Startups often overlook the importance of hiring a good sales person. This allows you to have set goals and adhere to methods that are beneficial as well. Doing so allows you to set reasonable expectations and track your own growth over the months.

Developing A Strong Sales Strategy

To develop a strong sales strategy, you must follow the 6 steps provided below:

Priority 1: Make a spreadsheet of your customer journey and see how they behave before and after the sales.

Priority 2: Analyze the journey and come up with smart ways to reduce the cost to ensure increased customer contentment.

Priority 3: Ensure you integrate your sales plan with your marketing plan.

Priority 4: Come up with a key sales strategy and track its growth.

Priority 5: Identify a process of your sales activity and them build resources to maximize profit from it.

Priority 6: Stay patient and don’t expect immediate results. Consistency of investment will be fruitful.

If the right approach to expanding one’s business is adhered from day 1, any idea can go a long way. So, don’t ignore your sales plan and ensure all things are in order before going into business.

 

 

8 Legal Mistakes Entrepreneurs Should Avoid

The life of a startup is often quite precarious. This is why even a single wrong turn can lead to disastrous outcomes. If you are a founder setting up the groundwork for your business idea, there are various elements that need to be considered. Where creativity is imperative on one hand, the legalities that come along with stepping into the professional world as a service provider should never be overlooked.

Here are 10 legal mistakes entrepreneurs should avoid:

  1. Ignorance towards early Incorporation

Often in a startup, one founder consequently abandons the idea. However, all things considered, when the idea picks up and receives funding and financing, the partner often returns demanding parity. This is often followed by a string of contributions made by them on their end. To cater to this problem founders should be given incorporated shares early on. As a result of this, each founder should then be prerequisite to dispense to the new corporation.

  1. Shares without Conferring

Conferring allows founders to protect the founding members of a startup. This way, as long as someone stays on board and is working towards a common goal, the shares are vested. Upon leaving the shares can be retrieved and reassigned to their replacement.

  1. Hiring an inexperienced lawyer

Several investors often judge the worth of a startup based on their legal choices. This is why it is imperative to ensure one hires a lawyer who has experience dealing with startups. This is because experienced attorneys are able to look for loopholes others might consider insignificant or ignore. Hiring someone who knows the tricks of the trade and understands the mode of negotiations goes a long way for the future of a new idea.

  1. Negotiating investment based on estimation.

It is important to go beyond the basic estimation when it conversation with a potential investor. There are many ways in which compensation can be demanded if they pay a high price. Therefore, apart from basic evaluation other aspects of the capitalist must also be taken into consideration. These include their reputation, their relationship with entrepreneurs in the past and their response to roadblocks. A capitalist’s reputation within the industry also makes a lot of difference.

  1. Unveiling ideas without a nondisclosure agreement

It is very important for entrepreneurs to not get carried away when revealing new ideas. For a startup experimenting; any idea can work and therefore must not be disclosed in passing especially if a nondisclosure agreement has not been signed. The only protection available is to ensure required steps have been taken to protect the secrets from competitors in the market.

  1. Hiring or getting hired by possible opponents in the market

Often entrepreneurs come up with interesting ideas while working for a firm. Though the venture begins while still being employed, it is very unsuitable to do so if the employer is a possible competitor. Doing so can lead to a lawsuit and therefore jeopardize the future of a business before it is even launched. Therefore, they should either formally leave the job or ensure their employer is aware and raises no concerns regarding their entrepreneurial idea.

  1. Overselling and failing to deliver

It is understandable when entrepreneurs come up with an idea and dream for it to make it big. However, overselling an idea on the basis of just that can backfire in the ugliest ways. Promising something without a certainty to deliver falls into fraud and can be detrimental for your startup. It is important to make realistic claims when selling an idea to avoid being sued. When a business flourishes, investors pour in automatically, conducting the activity the other way around may bring your startups journey to one that is short lived and not pretty.

  1. Ignoring legal concerns

Entrepreneurs often overlook the legal concerns and postpone them for later. To run a successful business one has to be farsighted and make the right calls at the right time. Hiring a competent attorney who takes care of the legal matters is a smart way to go about the business. You can stay focused on investors while they ensure your company meets legal benchmarks.

So if you have a business idea you’re willing to take into the professional world, be sure to handle all the legal matters beforehand.

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.

PayCard; the Smart Way to Make Payments

The National Incubation Center at LUMS Lahore has always encouraged and taken in startups that stan for what they believe in. Diversity and contemporary nature of the businesses is something that the startups of NIC are known for. Under this prestigious influence NIC is the proud incubation center for PayCard, a smartcard that

PayCard is the brainchild of a LUMS alumnus Shujaat Ali. It is a contemporary card that allows you to make your over-the-counter payments within a second by simply waving your PayCard in front of a scanner.

It is a newly introduced and a highly convenient and secure contactless payment method that harbors no hassles of PIN codes or signatures.

This is a digital wallet that aims to helping users make transactions in a quicker, easier and a user-friendly way. Paycard started its journey by enabling smart cards with “Near Field Communication” capabilities to make transactions by simply tapping the card on a special terminal to pay.

In order to test the product, the founders of Paycard introduced it within the LUMS Superstore. The product has been taken by Futureonics Pvt. Ltd to ensure maximum productivity and minimum cause of complaints. The founders have demonstrated due diligence by ensuring that not only does their product understand but also follows the rules and regulations of The State Bank of Pakistan. Under this understanding the founders and the minds at Futuretronics have integrated this state of the art product with the SIMSIM wallet. This amalgamation ensures our users are provided the security of transactions.

On July 12th 2018, PayCard was lucky enough to sign a contract with Futureonics and FINJA. Under the promising guidance of NIC and hosted by the establishment itself, this new collaboration is intended to bring the SIMSIM wallet on board with the PayCard platform.

As a result of this fin-tech collaboration, PayCard is all geared up to ensure the experience of making payments is made much not just easier but far more exciting for our users.

It intends to offer them a plethora of nifty ways that will allow our users to maintain their budgets, manage their funds, block their cards without delay in case of loss or theft. Our users will also have the super convenient option to transfer funds to friends or family with just a tap along with several other futuristic features that come with our PyaCard.

PayCard ensures that the priority is always the users. They strive towards providing them convenience, one tap at a time.