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.

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

LUMS – Supporting Women Entrepreneurship in Pakistan

Gender rights and equal opportunities for women have always been a debatable concept. This is especially true for third world countries like Pakistan. For a very long time, women have been deprived even the acknowledgement that they may possess skills that can help them excel in the professional world. Despite making up more than 60% of Pakistan’s population, their craft has often been overlooked and considered non-lucrative for Pakistan’s economy.

However, the narrative is in a flux and has been for quite a while. Under this mutability comes the hopeful inventiveness of the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) National Incubation Centre (NIC) Lahore in cahoots with Karandaaz Pakistan. NIC won a competitive bid under the Women Entrepreneurship Challenge in 2017-18. This led to a productive partnership between NIC Lahore and Baluchistan University of Technology and Management Sciences (BUITEMS) to scout women led business venture like none other.

The National Incubation Center (NIC) Lahore was inaugurated by Minister of State for Information Technology and Telecommunications, Ms. Anusha Rahman Khan at a ceremony held at Lahore University of Management Sciences on December 23, 2017. NIC Lahore will house the first ever Makers Lab in Pakistan, a modern facility equipped with the latest technologies and smart equipment to bring ideas to life. The 23,000 square feet space not only houses the incubator and accelerator but also provides business acceleration services to incubated companies, a Smart Lab, a Design Thinking Lab and various libraries along with an in-house auditorium.

 

 

 

 

Driven by set guidelines and definitive objectives, the collaborative forces of NIC and BUITEMS sought high growth women led businesses and micro businesses. Their agenda; to further incubate them through the provision of a custom designed world-class curriculum and state of the art facilities paired with professional mentorship and the hopes of becoming a part of the grand business narrative.

After the tireless exploration, women led businesses were further connected to necessary financial sources, information and a network of well-versed facilitators. Furthermore, the micro entrepreneurs were enabled through a rigorous training curriculum at BUITEMS incubation center.

Since these steps were initially taken; 24 micro entrepreneurs were inducted in Quetta and 10 high growth businesses were incubated at NIC Lahore.

After the gruelling process of each business analysing itself to meet set bench marks, taking in the guidance and expanding their vision; the women entrepreneurs graduated on March 9th 2018. This ceremony entailed further empowering of their businesses allowing them to continue growing even after they left the direct guidance of the mentors at NIC.

To be viable graduates, NIC Lahore in collaboration with Karandaaz Pakistan hosted an Investors Summit allowing the women entrepreneurs to put learning into practice in front of a panel of esteemed judges from the managerial body, Karandaaz, Pakistan. The 26 businesses pitched their revamped, redefined and more mature pitches towards the judges. They demonstrated not only their growth under the guidance of NIC but also their approach towards a more sustainable business future.

In efforts to monitor impact, effectiveness and sustainability, the NIC management team used statistics based indicators to ensure NIC’s Key Performance Indicator’s (KPIs) are monitored throughout the structured incubation program.

The NIC regulation proved worthwhile when two high growth businesses; Aero Craft Engine founded by Sarah Qureshi and Zari Faisal Designs founded by Zarlasht Faisal, along with 14 micro entrepreneurs from Quetta received grants and equity investments.

Breaking Barriers: Sarah Qureshi sets out to take over the Aerospace Universe

With a PhD degree in Aerospace Engineering from Cranfield University, UK, Sarah Qureshi set out with a team of four including herself, to introduce a sophisticated new feature into the aerospace universe.

Qureshi is a powerhouse on her own with a Private Pilot License (PPL) and 70 hours of Flying Experience and familiarity in acrobatic flying. Driven by the passion to soar through the sky and to eliminate global warming, Qureshi and her team put together state of the art technology. With the added feature of reduced carbon footprint, her team designed a revolutionary contrail-free aero-engine.

This aero-engine is a unique pressure based condensation system devised specifically for airborne applications. It is a novel addition to the family of gas-turbine components. Not only does the technology reduce the aviation industry’s contribution to global warming by effectively eliminating contrails, but it also signifies a positive contribution of the aviation industry itself. It enables them towards meeting the global challenge of water scarcity by creating localized rain in the process.

Sarah Qureshi’s technology holds the potential to shift the negative impact of aviation to a positive contribution towards the environment.

This sophisticated and unique research project even won the Clean Technology Competition for the 2016 Clean Equity Conference, Monaco and was shortlisted for a few other environmental technology innovation competitions.

The concept is inimitable and the design is patent-protected. Its reliability, minimalism, and ease of implementation within the ecosystem are what set it apart. The design and the technology involved in its development are synergistic with the current technology employed by aero-engine manufacturers. Another unique specification is that it is a supplementary device and can therefore be cohesive to existing aircraft engines.

After being housed at NIC Lahore for four months, Qureshi and her team managed to receive decent investments from Karandaaz allowing them to pilot their project. With a financial plan in place and investors pegging their success, Aero Craft Engine is all set to take the aerospace industry by storm and NIC couldn’t be more proud.

The National Incubation Center Lahore believes in and strives to instill experiential learning through all the entrepreneurs it incubates. With the sole intention to breed sustainable, high-growth and high-impact ventures in Pakistan, NIC stands proud under the success of the Women Entrepreneurship Challenge with the promise that more female-led businesses will continue to flourish under their experienced wings.

So if you have an idea that you believe deserves to be heard and given an opportunity, then LUMS National Incubation Center is the place to be. Put ideas into action and send us your brief at salwa.akhtar@lums.edu.pk so we may scout, home and breed your dream into reality.