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!

Developing a Strong Social Media Strategy for Start-ups

It is impossible to imagine establishing a business without it having a social media presence. Some of the most prominent social media platforms have more than 2 billion active users collectively. This is the primary reason why these platforms have become pivotal in raising brand awareness. For start-ups with a set and limited budget, a social media platform can be very effective.

Here is how you can develop a strong social media strategy and use all social and digital media platforms for the benefit of your company:

Come up with a Solid Plan

Just because social media is accessible to everyone doesn’t mean that whatever is being put out there is going to be well received. More so, a social media strategy and plan requires thorough research and an effective plan that ensures the posts don’t derail.

Divide Your Target Audience into Groups

It is imperative that you understand who you intend to send the message to; whether it is being done overtly or subtly. A detailed research over who you intend to target is the most significant aspect of developing a plan. This can be made easier once you identify what the interests of the cluster you wish to target are; these can include occupations, education, gender, background, hobbies et cetera.

Know What You Are Up Against

Knowing one’s competition is also extremely important to research who else is conducting something similar on their social media profile. It is imperative to identify what both the small and large scaled companies are doing. If your competitors are producing their own content or if they’re publishing already available content. If they are doing the latter then you have your work cut out for you and in order to earn your credibility, original content may be the way to go.

Define Your Milestones

Once the above has been identified, then the plan needs to be extended long term with set milestones you wish to accomplish overtime. Every decision that is being made for your businesses social media presence must be driven by the data and should be bound by time.

Use Platforms Suitable for You

Not every platform is suitable for every business. Therefore, identifying which one works best for the idea that one wishes to project is one of the initial steps. Not every platform serves the same purpose or uses the same policy as the others. This step goes hand in hand with identifying your target audience as well. For example, Facebook is considered applicable for all because of its wide reach. Twitter on the other hand is suitable for businesses that wish to encourage engagement and distribution of content. Similarly, for a B2B business LinkedIn may be the best idea.

Creating Awareness

Social media networks are the best way to create expansive brand awareness not just through viral posts but also by allowing you to assign ambassadors. Social platforms encourage exposure and promote the idea of loyal customers. For this to become a natural response of your customers, it is important that you create a logo that is simple but worth remembering.

Building Content Strategy

Content is always the backbone of every marketing campaign. Content that encourages readers to share it and is both easy to fathom while being informative. This includes more than just articles and blogs and also understanding what the reader is expecting from the content being pushed out. All of this must be paired with a decent strategy that acts as the glue.

Be Open to Feedback

The best way to make the most of your social media presence is to collect instant feedback by monitoring your customers’ discussions. This way, you will be able to find out how your target audience feels about your brand and use these opinions constructively to improve your approach. Most importantly, social media help you provide your customers with the real-time customer service and immediate feedback. Alternatively, you can also monitor users’ opinions on your recently released product, detect any potential customer experience issues and solve them on time.

Unsurprisingly, integrating social media marketing with the digital marketing campaign allows startups to reach broader audiences, promote their brand effectively and deliver personalized and real-time customer experience. As a result, they can generate higher revenue and better conversion rates.

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.

What Makes a Start-Up Investable?

According to a survey conducted in the year 2016, it was identified that more than 22% of the Pakistani youth expressed a dire interest in wanting to start their own business as opposed to getting a job. Just in the United States, more than fifty thousand start-ups produced a year.

If a start-up is not investable then they might as well close off their business before they have even begun. According to a research conducted amongst several experts, attorneys and investors, following are five primary elements the investors wish to find in start-ups to consider them investable:

  1. Founders and Advisers

A founder and a panel of advisers are two aspects that are considered the backbone of a start-up because they identify the strength of the network the start-up bases on. An advisory council can help the start-up foot its growth and make relevant and significant decisions without compromising the scaling of the business. Advisers assist the founder in the financial component of the job and often enable them to form strong connections that allow the start-up to grow within the right and desired circle.

  1. Business Model

Before pitching your idea ensure you have answers to key questions such as how you intend to make money. Furthermore, identify if the answer caters to the notion that your business is in fact sustainable. Potential growth is one of the key factors that investors look for when making a call. When making a pitch, it is imperative that founders prove that their idea or their business can and will eventually make profit.

  1. What Problem Is Being Solved?

Whether this is a local or a global problem or a mere market friction that is being catered to, it has to be spelt out for the investor because this can be a deal breaker or a deal maker. The market friction needs to be identified alongside expected and latent friction. All of which allow the founders to uncover the relevant market and understand their user persona so that their pain point can be catered to and whatever problem exists, it can be solved further allowing the start-up to make consistent money.

  1. Potential Exit

Each potential leave accompanies an arrival math dependent on a mix of the amount you contribute, the pre-cash valuation, the amount of the stock the financial specialist possesses, and the price itself. So it is significant not exclusively to have a thought of how much the organization may be sold for, however the investment you contribute and whether extra speculation rounds may weaken your proprietorship rate.

  1. Legal Structure

The very first thing one needs to do is identify which legal structure is fitting for the start-up. This depends largely on the type of business in order to identify the liability. One is required to decide whether a sole proprietorship works for the type of business or if a partner is required. Based on these details, the tax liability has to also be taken into further consideration. Whenever an investor considers investing a sum of money into a start-up or the founder, an intact legal structure plays a pivotal role in enabling them to decide in favor or against the investment.

There are several other aspects that go into the firm standing and the potential growth of an idea into the business world. It is imperative that the team of any start-up takes all of those into consideration; however, if you are at a time crunch then the above 5 points need to be given dire focus and importance to ensure what you are presenting to a panel of potential investors is worth your and their while.

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.

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.

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.

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.