Lahore: Mr. Dilawar Syed, Special Representative of the US Department of State for Commercial and Business Affairs, was hosted at the National Incubation Centre Lahore (NICL) by Mr. Shahid Hussain, Rector, LUMS, and Mr. Saleem Ahmad, Chairman Advisory Board, along with the NICL management team. He was apprised of the Centre’s pioneering role in bolstering the start-up ecosystem in the country by providing founders with training and resources to develop and scale ventures that solve Pakistan’s most pressing problems.
Mr. Ahmad’s presentation highlighted the high-impact areas for Pakistan which are the core focus for NICL including agriculture, education, environment, financial inclusion, and healthcare with an overlay of key technologies like AI/ML, blockchain, cloud/IoT, hardware/robotics, and VR/AR. He discussed Pakistan’s start-up ecosystem, the critical importance of upskilling talent, encouraging gender diversity and outreach to underserved communities in Pakistan. He spoke about the ecosystem of support through NICL’s Foundation Council comprising role model entrepreneurs and respected venture capitalists, and hundreds of mentors across the world.
Mr. Syed toured the Centre’s state-of-the-art facilities including the Makers Lab (3D printing and prototyping) and Facebook Innovation Lab and engaged with start-ups currently in incubation. He praised NICL’s efforts and said, “Wish we could do more of this in communities across this country. We’ve got to make sure that the underserved regions and the underserved communities in this amazing country have access to these kinds of facilities.” He also talked about how inspired he was by the diversity of ideas that ranged from aviation space to solving speech impediment problems.
NICL aims to inspire bootstrapping entrepreneurs to build #TechForBetter through its 6-month Incubation Programme. Successful applicants are given the platform for capacity building and scaling up their start-ups using NICL’s free resources like business skills and technical training, mentoring support from business leaders, a growth conducive co-working space at the LUMS campus, and industry networking opportunities.
With over 150 seasoned mentors, start-ups at NICL have the perfect opportunity to absorb their experience and apply it to prove their mettle. Once ready, they are given the opportunity to pitch to the 100+ investors on the Centre’s panel to take their start-ups to newer heights.