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 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.

Clever UI/UX Design trends for 2019

Websites have always been getting revamped by the makers to ensure they stay up to date and continue meeting the standards of the users. Because of this reason, websites today come nowhere near the websites that existed even a few years ago. Back in the day, when a website was created – the primary incentive was to get as much information on there as possible. The user and their needs were never taken into consideration. However, now; when a website is created the attention span and interest of the user are the driving forces behind content and design.

Website makers and business owners now spend months researching the psyche of the customer before they put out a final product to ensure maximized results. If you have to design a website, then here are some clever design trends for 2019 you should keep in mind to.

Credible Design

A well designed website never grows old. It plays a pivotal role when controlling and modifying the emotions of the user. It can persuade users to respond to the website in a certain way. This means the ease with which users can find their way within the website and how engaging it is in terms of content and display of information.

A good example to look at would be Amazon. Their use of patterns and the display of products on their webpage is what keeps urging and persuading users to click the “purchase” button. They simplify it even more by offering their customers the ability to purchase an item with just a single click. This kind of ease on a website has long lasting impacts on the users and becomes the primary reason why they keep returning to the website.

Recent psychology has proven to be a very useful tool in order to enhance the use of website design. Implementing this as a core of your design can help you validate the use of certain features once they’ve been proven to be popular amongst customers.

It can also help develop new theories and serve as a form of research to make up for deficits.

The Illusion of Control

It is the primary job of a good designer to translate his day to day interactions with people into the design they create and that is accomplished through control. This is how they can ensure a positive response from the people; by observing their response to the environment. A good designer is one that enables a sense of control through the design of their website. As human beings, the innate desire is to feel control in all circumstances. Through this illusion of control, a sense of mobility through motivation can be triggered within the users.

When designers take over the control and drive the user motivation they can gain the kind of responses they are looking for. This targeted motivation forces users to engage with the provided content in front of them.

Conclusion

There are a lot of stats that can help designers and website makers identify where they stand in the eyes of their customers.

However, it is only the use of clever design hacks driven out of human psychology that can truly maximize the results.

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.

The Importance of Deadlines for Entrepreneurs

There are several elements that work for regular employees but cannot be applied to entrepreneurs. However, what stays relevant and significant for both are deadlines. Deadlines are imperative when it comes to setting and achieving goals. For entrepreneurs, it is imperative that their deadlines be strategically specific and not capricious. It is only then that they can allow one to excel towards their goal and experience small wins on the daily as opposed to always stressing about bigger goals set for a longer future.

However, not exhibiting or following deadlines with a clear head can backfire. Some entrepreneurs get stressed and react whereas others get so caught up in the deadlines that they neglect major business priorities. For business newbies it is important to learn how to do things effectively. Deadlines can be daunting, but they can also excite, inspire and give your team the motivation and purpose. Here are some reasons why deadlines are important for entrepreneurs:

  1. You become liable for your goals

It is imperative for entrepreneurs to take the sole responsibility of several aspects of their business in order to ensure things ensue in the right direction. Deadlines have the power to grab one’s attention and that is how they define the varying levels of importance set for different tasks. Hence, regardless of who sets the deadline, if the objective is singular, it instills a strong sense of liability for attaining goals.

  1. They encourage positive impetus

Strategically set deadlines ensure entrepreneurs work towards meeting them. Approaching a deadline often spurs emotions and that is what induces in them the desire to act upon their feelings thus meeting or evading a deadline. Meeting deadlines instills a strong sense of positive impetus because it translates as a success. It enables entrepreneurs to believe in them and get excited for bigger deadlines. Despite the magnanimity of a deadline; meeting one is always positive.

  1. They tend to instill Creativity.

For entrepreneurs who feed on success, deadlines become a challenge that forces them to engage with their work creatively. They see deadlines as an opportunity for them to prove their own worth. It has been recorded that renowned individuals like Steve Jobs were known to set unattainable deadlines, primarily to set a singular objective for his team and force them to think creatively to meet it. Deadlines should be used to fuel creativity and should not be leveraged by entrepreneurs looking to remain motivated.

  1. They help Prioritize

When one sets a deadline, it helps them value not just their time but the time of everyone involved. It helps entrepreneurs struggling to make it big to organize and manage themselves and therefore, prioritize tasks not just for themselves but for their entire team. This is what enables them to keep the momentum going and not meet a standstill when it comes to meeting bigger deadlines that matter. Deadlines help say no when one feels like they’ve been stretched too thin.

  1. They keep you on your toes

Deadlines are a great way to identify what needs to be said yes to and what needs to be ignored. Setting a deadline helps entrepreneurs say no to various tasks and thus never compromise on the quality of the work being done. However, it is important to not slack and say “no” to pressing tasks out of sheer laziness. Setting deadlines to meet the expectations of the clients ensures that you stay on your toes. Additionally, it also ensures that entrepreneurs make only those promises that they can deliver. As an extension, this teaches them the integrity to run their business.

  1. They allow space for small failures and successes

For entrepreneurs with a team in place, it is significant to delegate. Seeping into everyone’s decision making process can become quite problematic and can only add to unnecessary delays. Therefore, as an entrepreneur or the founder of a business, one must allow the space for small failures and successes merely to identify what type of deadlines work for everyone. This helps establish and set productive, effective and strategic deadlines for everyone in the team, in the long run.

  1. Meeting Deadlines Builds Buoyancy

When one starts meeting small deadlines on a regular basis, it tends to establish a strong sense of faith and belief in one’s team in the long run. It equips entrepreneurs to approach bigger and more important deadlines with a strong sense of buoyancy. This is very effective in inducing customer happiness and enables more team members to take on more responsibility.

  1. Helps Assess Success

There is no denying that meeting deadlines helps entrepreneurs assess the calculable progress of their business. It helps them assess their own performance and the performance of their team members.

There are many opportunities that exist in the entrepreneurial world. These vary from international grants to opportunities that can change the face of a small business as we know it. Setting deadlines and approaching them seriously allows entrepreneurs to meet more significant deadlines in an organized and strategic manner and that is what helps them upscale their business.

Social Media Mistakes Marketers Often Make

When it comes to establishing new businesses, it is very important to be wary of possible mistakes in all avenues. One such avenue is social media marketing. In order to grow and reach maximum number of people, it is important for businesses to hire professional and trained marketers who hold the potential to develop rich, client centered and evocative approaches to maximize productivity. A flawed strategy can cost one a lot, so here are some social media mistakes marketers should avoid:

  1. Poor Choice of Social Media Platforms

It is very important to identify the social media platform being used before it is used – this enables the marketers to come up with a solid strategy. This identification comes through research and the assurance that the chosen platform adds to the business value. If a social media platform does not promise longevity of profit and increased opportunities, then you may need to think twice.

Facebook usually works in all cases – it allows effective communication and enables marketers to promote their product or services well. Platforms like Twitter allow connection in a very interesting and creative fashion – this biggest plus is the direct interaction with followers. If networking and branding is your desired results, Twitter is the way to go. Other platforms must be look at through a similar lens so you can decide how you can benefit from each in the best possible way. It is always better to use more than one platform, however, the two should be picked out after some strategic thought.

  1. Inconsistent Updates

It is imperative that your social media platforms be updated on a regular basis. Inconsistent updates not only make a bad impression but they also fail to accomplish the desired impact minimizing your reach to the audience. Not only should you stay consistent but also boost strong posts so that you reach a maximum number of people. Consistency tells your users that you are concerned with the frequency with which your business is putting information out there. This does not mean you post one thing or another without an end result in mind. Come up with a solid strategy that keeps reminding your users of your services without becoming spam.

  1. Develop a strong strategy

The newness or oldness of a business does not define the use of social media strategy. Whether you’ve been in the business for a while or are just starting out, it is imperative that you develop a strong strategy. It is this approach that will allow you to establish a certain kind of connection with the audience. If you continue to use social media based on whims, then you may continue struggling to establish any connection with the people on the other end. This can only begin once you’ve identified your target audience. It is imperative that the content being released resonates with the audience, it should also have a touch of personalization while being engaging as well.

  1. Observe and Analyze Page Performance

A website is continuously under observation and that is what allows marketers to ensure it is up to date and its performance is being analyzed. If you wish to be at par with the response of your audience, then you must observe their rate of response and analyze the performance of each post on the page. Analysis is what ensures that you care about your customer and are willing to modify your stance based on the response rate. It allows you to:

  • Calculate achievement levels
  • Identify strengths and laggings

These will allow you to maneuver future posts to the best of your company’s abilities.

  1. Altering Approach

Social media is constantly being evolved. Because of this reason an approach that was very effective yesterday, may not be operative today. You can easily build your own brand and understanding with clients. Several companies build their individual brand and then empower that idea amongst their users. You can do this through modification in the mobile landscape of your application, simplicity and ease with which customers can find their way. It is important to stay on top of trends and analyze what it is that the consumers are most receptive to.

  1. Live chats and streaming

If you’re wondering how you can benefit from live chats and streaming online, then here are a few:

  1. Allows consumers to make quick decisions.
  2. Allows ease in access to products.
  3. Expedites response time to questions put forth by consumers.
  4. Allows personalization in user experience.

Any company or business without their customers is a fundamentally failing one anyways. It is imperative that your marketers are prioritizing the customers and keeping their requirements in mind. Everything a marketer does must have a vision and a strategy. This can only be done through assessment and analysis of what is already done in the past and how it must be amended to continue gaining positive and effective responses from consumers, both old and new.

The Urban Youth Project Award Ceremony

On November 12th, 2018; the National Incubation Center (NIC LUMS) alongside British Asian Trust (BAT) and Citi Foundation hosted the award and cheque distribution ceremony to mark the pilot of the Urban Youth Project.

Out of the 60 trained micro-entrepreneurs under this project, 13 were invited to the NIC facility to be given cheques ranging between 100,000 to 200,000. These micro-entrepreneurs included:

  1. Muhammad Faisal and his electricity store.
  2. Rabia Ashiq and her school.
  3. Shagufta Parveen and her academy.
  4. Salma Gilani and her academy.
  5. Muhammad Waqas and his mobile store.
  6. Shazia Zafeer and her school.
  7. Fatima Tabassum and her medical lab.
  8. Shahista Waheed and her school.
  9. Sidra Shehzadi and her beauty salon.
  10. Aneela Jaffer and her store.
  11. Hafiz Mudassar and his fast food chain.
  12. Huzan Arshad and his academy.
  13. Sheheryar Manzoor and his cosmetics and jewelry store.

The event was conducted at the National Incubation Center’s auditorium with more than a 100 guests from various institutes present to honor and commemorate the efforts of the young micro-entrepreneurs.

Sayed Zulfiqar Bukhari; Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development was present as the Chief Guest.

Director NIC, Faisal Sherjan addressed the audience and the media informing them of the inspiring and overwhelming experience of working with the micro-entrepreneurs. LUMS Vice Chancellor, Dr. Arshad spoke of the importance of empowering the youth; followed by a brief documentary that provided insight into the journey of these young minds.

Sayed Zulfiqar Bukhari, in his concluding remarks highlighted that through projects like UYP, LUMS NIC has contributed a great deal to ameliorating the circumstances of the youth and serving the bottom of the pyramid communities and that is bound to have lasting impact on the future of the country. He further, commented, “It is heartening to see the high results this group of entrepreneurs has delivered given the right mentorship and opportunity. I hope the British Asian Trust, Citi Foundation and NIC Lahore continue investing in Pakistan’s youth so they can fulfil their potential.”

The evening ended with dummy cheques being presented to the recipients as each recalled their excursion and shared anecdotes on how NIC contributed to their development.

It was an inspiring sight to behold as their hard work paid off in the form of an investment that allows the growth of not just their business but their self-worth and financial standing as well.

The National Incubation Center stands firm on the belief that those with a potential must be mentored to entrepreneurial heights. It recognizes dedication, conviction and the motivation the youth possesses and often struggles when looking for opportunities and platforms that would identify that eagerness and willingness to grow.

The Urban Youth Project is merely a stepping stone in the right direction to enable the youth for a brighter and more stable tomorrow.

 

UX for Online Business – A Short Series

Series 1: 7 UX tips to Convert Visitors to Users

When it comes to making a sale, whether you run a conventional market or an online one; it all boils down to user experience. Without one’s users, their business is as good as dead. Here is an analogy to help you understand online user experience; when people walk into a shoe store, they walk in with certain qualitative expectations.

This is why, if upon arrival they find it difficult to locate what they’re looking for and no one there to assist them, they are most likely going to walk out disappointed and with a promise to never return. This is the kind of impression that has a lasting impact on them. This is exactly how it is for those who run online businesses. An online user’s experience boils down to how they felt when they clicked your link.

Here are 7 highly effective and useful UX tips for all the people who earn or want to earn a livelihood through their online business:

  1. The Landing Page

To boil it down further, this is specific to the upper half of the front page. When a new user comes across a website, it takes them just a few seconds to decide whether or not they will stay on or not. This is the very reason why the above-the-fold space of your home page is imperative.

The incentive behind bringing a new user to this page is to encourage them to want to look around and scroll. The best way to achieve this is to ensure your design is highly interactive. Do not cram a lot of information in the above-the-fold space. This is the make or break space that allows the visitors to decide based on experience if they will become a user or not.

  1. Keep Things Simple and Familiar

It has been recorded by Google AI blog that visitors often take less than 50 milliseconds to decide if they will continue scrolling through a website or not. That is far less than the time one takes to even blink. To ensure these seconds work for your benefit, it is always recommended to keep the design fairly simple and familiar for the visitors to understand and maneuver through.

If a visitor is having a hard time just locating things on their page or getting distracting by all that is happening, they are most likely to not return. Keep is easy for the visitors to move through and click around to explore as much as they can and have an experience that makes them return each time.

  1. Don’t Make Things Too Long

A lot of the times businesses make the ridiculous mistake of turning text as a fluff needed to fill in the gaps. The easiest way to identify whether or not people read big blocks of text is to observe yourself. How often do we read pages upon pages of policies? Almost never.

The 21st century generation is one of bullet points and visuals. You are required to use this to your benefit. Write bullet points that catch the attention of the visitor. This does not mean you stick purely to text or to visuals – the intention is to be able to find the right balance. If you feel there is a lot of text that is important for them to know, break it down and use it in small portions that are easy to read. Embolden the words that you think will catch their attention and force them to read what needs to be read.

  1. To all the copywriters

When it comes to introducing what product it is you are selling, do not dilly dally with your language. Keep your language simple and clear. Confusing your visitors won’t do you any good.

  1. Make Forms Friendlier

When it comes to filling out forms, you have to take into consideration the ease of the user. Do not start your website with the form. It is important that the user develop some sort of amicability with the be website. In that regard, place the link for the form at a point where you believe conversion is possible the most.

  1. Study Conversion Based on Devices

An example to follow to increase conversion rates is the Monetate Ecommerce Quarterly. The main reasons why this happens is because they immediately provide their users with useful details that help the retailers make quick decisions. This is the kind of impact your business you have on the people visiting your website for the first time. It is important for online businesses to know the upgraded rates of conversion based on the device being used. This allows them to be better prepared. People using smartphones is often beneficial for businesses.

To simplify this thought further, one must question what makes consumers to buy something using a smartphone? Because of the ease and convenience, smartphones are preferred over desktops, however for purchases, only desktops are used. Therefore, to increase conversion rates, online businesses must understand the audience’s requirements using smartphones.

  1. Sustaining Conversion

Only if your visitors and users have had a good experience will they click on the call-to-action posts. It is important that the little things be taken into consideration. Thank your users for sticking around, encourage interaction, inform your users by recommending products and also provide incentives like freebies to show appreciation.

And to Wrap it Up!

It never hurts to learn, unlearn and then put to use what has been learnt.

Startup weekend 2018 – Sign up Now!

One of the most prodigious startup competitions of Pakistan is back! This time around it’s even bigger and better than before. Fifty-four hours of intense competition, coupled with an unparalleled entrepreneurial learning experience, await you at Startup weekend 2018.

The event would be held at NIC Lahore, from 16th to 18th November 2018.

Techstars Global Startup weekend, powered by the tech-giant Google, is an internationally recognized competition that offers a platform to the budding entrepreneurs to present their creative ideas, hone their entrepreneurial skills, and execute their plans.

National incubation center (NIC) opens the doors to the vast entrepreneurial world. Participants are given the opportunity to interact with the renowned and adept entrepreneurs of the industry, and subsequently augmenting their team-building and networking skills.

Wining team is honored with a chance to convert its ideas to reality through a fast track incubation at NIC itself!

DAY 1

Being a 3-day event, startup weekend’s first day would kickoff with the participants checking in, followed by an opening ceremony where guests and speakers would reminisce their past experiences regarding the event.

After that, participants would pitch an idea in 60 seconds, and through voting, 20 to 30 ideas would be qualified for the remaining rounds. Day 1 would come to an end with a scrumptious dinner.

Day 2

On the second day, the remaining participants, now in teams, would be exposed to rigorous counselling and mentoring sessions with acclaimed entrepreneurs and coaches.

This would entail an unprecedented experience of building effective and coherent business models under their guidance.

Day 3

On the third and final day, the participants would present their business models in front of a panel of reputable judges, followed by a critical Q&A session. The third day would finish with the dinner and a closing ceremony where the names of the winners would be disclosed. NIC would award the winners with an incubation opportunity at its highly-specialized and capacious, internationally recognized, entrepreneurial facility.

Besides the incubation opportunity, Startup weekend offers a plethora of benefits to the participants. Through networking, they would be interacting with the brightest minds of the entrepreneurial milieu. Being an internationally-recognized prestigious event, Startup weekend allows its participants to compete with the contenders from other startup weekends around the globe.

Some of the judges and coaches from past events include notable names like Zafar Khan (CEO Sofizar), Shayan Zaeem (Co-founder Caramel Tech Studio), Sajjad Kirmani (CEO Infogistics), Tosheeba Sarwar (Founder Management Outfit), and Amena Hasan (CEO Business for Social Progress), Faisal Sherjan (Director National Incubation Center, Lahore), Huamyun Mazhar (Founder, Chairman, CEO CresVentures) etc.

The venue for the event is NIC Lahore. The National Incubation Center Lahore (NIC Lahore) is a first of its kind Incubation & Acceleration platform, launched under the public – private partnership of Ministry of Information Technology & Telecom, IGNITE, Fatima Ventures & Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS).

It provides state of the art facility established to nurture startups during their early phases whereby they provide affordable space, shared office spaces and included services, hands-on management training, marketing support and, often, access to financing.

The registrations for the event is open and the entire registration process can be accessed online.

To register: https://www.facebook.com/276793985720254/posts/2258612317538401/

Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/startupweekendlahore/

#TGSW #SWLHR

Dangers for Startups – Recruiting Friends as Investors

Usually when startups go into business they decide to trust their family and friends as long-term investors. Stats have reported that a huge percentage of these startups receive more than 50 billion dollars’ worth of investment from their family and friends.

On the one hand, getting your family and friends to invest in your idea is advantageous in many personal and legal elements. On the other hand, there are several factors that overrule the advantages and make recruiting family and friends as investors a step into the dangerous territory.

When family and friends invest in your startup, equity will immediately be divided to ensure equal shares. Over or under evaluation is often a possibility that can lead to legal penalties. Following are some of the things that need to be considered gravely when stepping into the dangers of recruiting relatives:

  1. The Pressure is Far Too High

If your relative wishes to invest their life’s savings in your idea, that is probably not a good idea. When you know what is at stake from the investor’s end added the personal relationship, the pressure becomes far too high. The pressure to be able to return the investment in the form of profit can drive you to take decisions that may not be fruitful in the long run thus jeopardizing the whole process altogether. A small scaled investor may not put that kind of pressure on you and often allows the startups the space needed to grow at a reasonable pace.

  1. Their Involvement May be Bothersome

When family members become investors, the boundaries get blurred. Therefore, their investment in your idea has the tendency to exceed the monetary limitations. They often require constant updates and even expect their involvement to be imperative in the decision-making process.

Even though, it is reasonable to keep them informed; their involvement in the day-to-day may become problematic. Investors with extensive experience are often allowed interference in business decisions of startups because of what they might bring to the table. Allowing relatives that level of participation can be more damaging than helpful.

  1. Strengthen the Business Idea

It is imperative that your business plan be a strong one, especially when dealing with relatives. Often relatives don’t push us to the extreme we would like to be pushed at. They overlook loopholes an outsider investor may not. This is a deceptive fault that can be detrimental for the business when it comes to profit and longevity.

  1. Don’t promise what can’t be delivered

Just because you are excited about the venture you are endeavoring on, it does not mean you promise what you cannot accomplish. More so, when relatives invest money in your idea, they must be informed of all possible risks and downfalls. Not only is this important to ensure their expectations are not exceeded but also to ensure your relationships do not get damaged.

  1. Avoid putting relationships at stake

There is no surprise in the fact that sometimes businesses fail, and ideas do not work out as anticipated. When something like this happens, you may be unable to return the money to the investors. It is important to always anticipate a possible downfall when getting into a new business venture. Also, voice your anticipations honestly to your investors.

There are many advantages to hiring investors from the outside as opposed from within your social and familial circle. Hire a lawyer as well as they may be able to guide you better when looking for tangible and profitable investments.