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

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.

Tech Leadership Summit 2019 to kick off on 10th January with speakers from Forbes, Amazon, HP and Microsoft

Tech Leadership Summit 2019, presented by OPEN Lahore, TechTalk, and CareAxiom will take place on January 10, 2019.

The invite-only event will feature a number of reputable speakers from Amazon, Microsoft, TechJuice, and Forbes.

New technologies and startups are emerging every day. From blockchain to Virtual Reality, Internet of Things to Artificial Intelligence, new technologies are changing every aspect of our lives every single day. With more and more people moving towards a digital and connected future, it is important to identify the role of technology in our lives and have a meaningful discussion over where the future is heading towards.

And who is better suited to talk about the future than the representatives from the companies who are actively striving to bring it to fruition?

That’s why OPEN Lahore, Tech Talk, and CareAxiom have joined hand to invite speakers from Amazon, Microsoft, TechJuice, and Forbes to talk about future technologies and their impact on our lives.

Tech Leadership Summit 2019, which will be held on 10th January, will feature notable industry leaders such as Salman Akhtar, President OPEN Lahore, Fahad Aziz, Contributor at Forbes, Rizwan Malik, Senior Product Manager at Amazon, Fatima Rizwan, CEO of TechJuice, Iram Nawaz, HP/Microsoft Representative, and Muneeb Khawaja, VP CareMerge.

The tentative schedule for the event is:

  • 9:30 AM – Welcome

  • 9:45 AM – Introduction to OPEN Lahore: Salman Akhtar (President, OPEN Lahore)

  • 10:00 AM – The Exponential Thinking & Future of Technologies: Fahad Aziz (Forbes)

  • 10:45 AM – Fireside Chat with Rizwan Malik (Sr. Product Manager, Amazon)

  • 11:30 AM – BREAK

  • 12:00 PM – Components of a true cloud-based application. Muneeb Khawaja

  • 12:15 PM – Faster Innovation, Faster Releases: Continuous Integration: Furqan Razzaq

  • 12:30 PM – Building a Testing Framework for Cloud apps: Mudassir Ali

  • 12:45 PM – 10 Ways To Market Your Products Free Of Cost, by Fatima Rizwan (Founder TechJuice)

  • 1:15 PM – Evolving Role of Technology Leaders: Iram Nawaz (HP/Microsoft)

  • 2:00 PM – Closing Remarks

The event will be held at the National Incubation Center (NIC) located inside Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) and it is invite only. You can follow this link to submit an application to get an invite.

 

Note: To read original article click here.

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.

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.

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.

5 Things you learn at a Design Thinking Workshop

Design Thinking is a revolutionary process that has taken over the business world. It allows creative solutions to complex problems, allows collaborative innovation and ensures the results are humane. To instill all of the above and more in our incubated startups, NIC has organized a 5 day design thinking workshop for the entrepreneurs.

Here are 5 things you can expect to learn at a design thinking workshop:

  1. Prepare for the Unknown!

During a design thinking workshop, your learning is more hands-on thus reducing reliance on gadgets. It is an experiential learning environment that allows and enables more hands-on work that moves at a quicker than usual pace. Therefore, be prepared to be taken by surprise because this is a learning process that will provide profound insights within a short span. The unexpected is a vital element in such a workshop because to break the mold, the entrepreneurs need to be taught how to unlearn and learn through a design thinkers mind.

  1. Take Steps Collectively

Though in the grand scheme of things, the 5 day workshop teaches design thinking but there are several more minute aspects that go with it. More than anything else a driven and passionate entrepreneur learns about their team members allowing empathy. Empathy is key in enabling the creative side of the brain. This understanding is pivotal in pushing ingenious boundaries that are invigorating and overwhelming all the same.

  1. Breaking the Mold

In order to learn something new one must always unlearn a facet of the old. Such a workshop provides a refined culture for the attendees. Thus, it allows them to be more confident in their own creativity and allows them to break the mold they believe they need to fit into otherwise. It teaches listening, analysis, synthesis, testing, resolution and a plethora of other useful skills that work as enabling forces in the future of the entrepreneur. However, as the mold breaks don’t be overwhelmed by the ambiguity of the learning process.

  1. Be Open to the Likelihood of failure

The whole idea behind a successful business it to make the user feel they need the product as opposed to vice versa. This is why it is often difficult for entrepreneurs to welcome and realize that the possibility of failure is high. The product is designed on the basis of user needs that are often undiscovered; even by themselves. A design thinking workshop welcomes failure as a learning curve. It makes the entrepreneurs less afraid to fail and more likely to come up with effective solutions.

  1. Prepare to face the Music

It is very important to challenge ourselves as we step into the professional world. A design thinking workshop will challenge you to understand the process itself. So be prepared to face the music and learn, to welcome challenges and be in the moment of not knowing the solution to something only to figure out the most creative way to do it.

NIC understands the significance and relevance of equipping its startups to the very brim. So if you’ve had the opportunity to be incubated with NIC, don’t miss out on the chance to attend Shahid Khan’s 5 day design thinking workshop in September.

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.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Impact Challenge – Defying Limitations

The KP Impact Challenge is an enterprise of the KP Government in collaboration with the National Incubation Center Lahore located in LUMS and The School of Education. The united effort of the three aspires to provide better prospects to the youth of the province. KPIC seeks to sustain them in a manner that encourages entrepreneurship and facilitates them to become active earners without the rut of job quests.

With the assistance of its School of Education (SoE) the National Incubation Center Lahore (NIC) implemented the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Impact Challenge successfully. The main incentive of this project is to empower youth, located in the relatively lesser developed areas of Pakistan so they may establish and run enterprises to ensure a maintainable source of revenue.

The target audiences of this incentive are individuals between the ages of 18 and 30. Like many similar projects successfully executed by NIC, KPIC looks to sustain already established businesses or assist individuals in developing one from the ground up. It is a platform that encourages and expedites pioneering and inventive minds and business ideas that have what it takes to thrive in the business world.

How NIC goes about the KPIC Project

Individuals interested in the prospects of a sustainable future were required to submit their applications through several portals that were readily accessible. Potential candidates used WhatsApp, courier or GUST and LUMS NIC received the applications in clusters of thousands. Once received, contracts were signed to initiate the promise of a better and more lucrative future.

More than 900 applications were received, they were shortlisted in 100’s and a flopping total of 45+ were later shortlisted.

Once selected, the candidates were then brought to LUMS to commence their training. To make the transition easier for them, candidates were even provided accommodation. NIC believes in assisting the candidates to the very extent they require. Whether this is the filling of the applications or the training, creating investment briefs or deriving an exclusive business plan – if a candidate shows potential and determination, NIC ensures they are met with a better future.

Through moral handholding and constant mentoring, enough support was provided to ensure implementation. Once their training was successfully complete, they attended the Investors Summit organized in KP by the local government of the area. The intention of this summit was to further beseech investments for their business ideas. These ideas were later provided with sufficient grants to supplement the investments.

The Diversity of Businesses Homed

The applications received revealed the diversity of the business ideas brewing in the minds of the young entrepreneurs. Amongst them one was the Doctor’s Dairy Farm initiated by Waleed Omar. His business aimed at eradicating contamination from the milk being delivered within the province. His plan was to establish a farm that would ensure organic milk production that was hygienic. With a degree in veterinary sciences, Omar believed he possessed the expertise to not only provide pure milk but to also create awareness among the masses of its importance.

Similarly, we had Mishal Khurshid and her idea of TaleemArt. With a Master’s in Education, Khurshid’s business idea was to provide an extraordinary learning environment equipped with state-of-the-art technological facilities. She planned to develop a consulting firm consisting of educational, financial, and management experts that could provide technical assistance to the private schools of the community for provision of services such as curriculum development, teacher’s training, administrative management, child care and counseling, school building overhauling, staff support program, institutional planning, and infrastructural extension recommendations.

These two ideas were merely a drop in the bucket when viewed in correspondence to the plethora of others received.

KPIC Main Features

One of the most prominent features of the challenge was the selection of universities across KP. The faculty members were selected and trained with the objective that they would eventually take their roles as entrepreneurship trainers. The faculty members went through a process that entailed their participation as trainees in the first cohort, observers in the next and co-trainers in the third. As a result of this, they would be provided with the expertise to conduct the workshops at their universities independently. Nonetheless, these would be supervised by the NIC teams to ensure quality control.

The worth of the challenge was not in the streamlining process of the businesses, nor does lie entirely in the training of the faculty. The true assessment of the KPI challenge was in ensuring accessibility of the local universities for the entrepreneurs.

The syllabus used in the training process was specifically designed by the team at NIC LUMS. The intention behind it was to guarantee understanding and the assurance that through following it, the trainees would reach the set benchmark and be able to gain independence in the upcoming cohorts.  The drive behind the meticulously drafted syllabus was also to ensure that the qualitative performance expected and received from the universities in KP was equivalent to the ones being received at LUMS.

The Investors Summit

The Investors Summit held on April 26th, 2018, was a success, to the say least. Notables who attended it included the chairman of PTI, Imran Khan himself, Mr. Mohammad Tariq Khan, Secretary for Tourism, Sports, Archaeology and Museums, Culture and Youth Affairs; Mr. Pervez Khattak, Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Shabana Gul, Faculty Member IMSciences and Dr. Qazi Waheed, Assistant Professor Entrepreneurship.

The availability of this platform allowed the startups to address their business plans in front of a wider audience and be able to speak about their venture with a new found confidence and future in mind.

The National Incubation Center stands firm over the belief that entrepreneurship and enabling the rural youth to accomplish their entrepreneurial dreams can guarantee a palpable future for the country. Keeping this view in mind, the implementation of the KPI challenge was to yoke the same skill, dedication, drive, passion and commitment in them. Through the successful execution, NIC was able to involve the rural youth in the economy of the country through the creation of jobs.