The National Incubation Center: Promoting Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Pakistan
The National Incubation Center (NIC) Islamabad, a collaboration between Pakistan’s leading digital operator Jazz and Ignite, has been instrumental in promoting entrepreneurship, nurturing innovation, and strengthening the startup ecosystem in the country. Since its inception, the NIC has incubated 295 startups in 12 cohorts, generating over Rs 5.6 billion in sales revenues and attracting over Rs 7 billion in investment. These startups have also created over 20,000 jobs, contributing significantly to Pakistan’s economic growth.
Interactive Session on NIC’s Impact
During an interactive session, Aamer Ejaz, Jazz’s Chief Digital Officer; Asim Shahryar, Ignite’s CEO; and Parvez Abbasi, Program Director NIC, discussed the impact of the NIC in promoting entrepreneurship and innovation in Pakistan. The NIC provides entrepreneurs with a platform to connect with mentors, angel investors, and venture capital funds to develop solutions to address pressing socioeconomic challenges.
Jazz’s Commitment to Local Startup Ecosystem
Aamer Ejaz highlighted Jazz’s commitment to accelerating the local startup ecosystem and driving innovation in the country. He expressed confidence in the partnership with Ignite to continue inspiring, enabling, engaging, and facilitating the startup ecosystem, contributing to economic growth and development.
Government’s Vision for Digital and Innovation Hub
Asim Shahryar shared the government’s vision to transform Pakistan into a digital and innovation hub, accelerating the country’s socioeconomic growth. Ignite has opened seven other NICs across Pakistan, incubating over 1,200 startups, raising investment of more than Rs. 21 billion so far. The government is committed to uplifting entrepreneurial skills and exposure of the youth, helping them realize their full potential.
Jazz xlr8: Pakistan’s Premier Accelerator Program
NIC Islamabad houses Jazz xlr8, Pakistan’s premier accelerator program, helping startups enrolled in the program to scale and grow. Through Jazz Xlr8, 31 startups have been incubated, and 11 startups also got the opportunity to showcase their ideas and products at 4YFN Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
Foundher: A Flagship Program for Female Founders
Around 24% of NIC Islamabad’s startup founders are female, and a flagship program called Foundher has been launched to facilitate them further. For female founders and staff, a day-care centre has also been established where they can leave their children while they work. The centre has won awards for its wheelchair-friendliness, making it an ideal, stress-free environment to work in. It also has a state-of-the-art eye tracking usability lab called the Jazz Xperience Hub, which is one of the only two such commercial facilities available in Pakistan. This commitment towards providing local startups with a dedicated platform to innovate has also resulted in attracting foreign investment.
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