The Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (MoITT) and Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) have launched National Expansion Plan (NEP), the largest network of technology incubation centers across Pakistan. This project aims to create nationwide opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs to turn their business ideas into viable ventures. The initiative aims to support entrepreneurial activity and create opportunity nationwide. The program is particularly designed to support early-stage startups.
Applications for all the centers are open now. With six regions on list, 13 centers will be opened across Pakistan namely in Punjab (Lahore, Gujrat, Taxila and Rawalpindi), Balochistan (Quetta and Lasbela), Sindh (Karachi, Jamshoro and Sukkur), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (Kohat and Swat), Gilgit Baltistan (GB), and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (Muzaffarabad).
Aspiring entrepreneurs can apply through the official website on preferred location (http://nep.pitb.gov.pk). Shortlisted startups will pitch to a panel of judges as part of the induction process. Top 10 startups will be admitted in the center of their relevant city.
Based on a Zero Equity Model, the duration of each cycle of NEP will be for six months during which all resources would be geared towards facilitating and enabling the startups to optimize their business activity. Selected startups will also receive perks such as monthly stipend, free workspace, networking opportunities, mentorship, business development assistance, and legal guidance.
In a message, Chairman PITB Azfar Manzoor stated that startups and aspiring entrepreneurs have the potential to change the future of the nation. Pakistan has already made an impact ICT sector globally. NEP’s mission is to work as a catalyst in paving the way for innovation-led initiatives across the nation for early-stage startups. By doing so, NEP will foster and develop opportunities for the progress and prosperity of Pakistan.