This has been a year of innovation, groundbreaking technologies, and change. We have opened the doors for talented young entrepreneurs to become a part of a thriving digital entrepreneurial ecosystem. As we move into our next year of inviting applications for our next cohort, we encourage young budding entrepreneurs to join our growing community here at the NIC

Zouhair Khaliq
Co-founder, Teamup

FOSTERING DIGITAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Pakistan: Supporting Digital Innovation

“The Jazz National Incubation Center has been a godsend”, says Mustafa Muhammad, the co-founder of Mauqa Online, a digital start-up that allows users to schedule high-quality domestic helpers in Islamabad and Rawalpindi. He faced many roadblocks after launching his business. His biggest concerns were the lack of platforms to connect with like-minded entrepreneurs and an inability to access physical infrastructure “without spending the precious little resources we had”.

The Jazz National Incubation Center (NIC) is unprecedented in Pakistan as the first initiative to bridge the gap between entrepreneurs, innovators, academics, and investors. By bringing these together, the NIC is helping support Pakistan’s ongoing digital revolution and ensuring a brighter future for entrepreneurs such as Mustafa.

Technologically minded and entrepreneurial in outlook, the country’s youth demographic is the largest ever recorded according to the United Nations Development Programme. However, as 64% of the total population is below the age of 30, efforts must be made to create opportunities to make this a demographic dividend and contribute to the country’s economic growth. Under a public-private partnership (PPP), Jazz signed an agreement with the National ICT R&D Fund for a grant of USD 5.4m over five years for the development of the NIC in July 2016.

Together with Teamup as project partners, this public-private initiative provides state-of-the art incubation facilities, technical training and networking opportunities with business experts. “The advice and connections helped two cofounders with zero entrepreneurial experience to have the confidence to build something bold and innovative”, says Mustafa. “The collaboration has provided us with much needed access to services like JazzCash and opportunities to meet investors and partners on an international stage. When we joined the programme, we only had an idea. A year later, Mauqa Online has clocked over 20,000 hours of service to customers”.

Thirty-two start-ups have graduated to date with 48 currently incubated at the NIC. Start-ups such as Mauqa Online, Cheflingtales and Deaf Talk have secured external funding, enabling them to expand the scope and scale of their businesses.

“This has been a year of innovation, groundbreaking technologies, and change”, said Zouhair Khaliq, Teamup co-founder and an active mentor at the NIC. “We have opened the doors for talented young entrepreneurs to become a part of a thriving digital entrepreneurial ecosystem.” 

He added, “As we move into our next year of inviting applications for our next cohort, we encourage young budding entrepreneurs to join our growing community here at the NIC.”

The collaboration has provided us with much needed access to services like JazzCash and opportunities to meet investors and partners on an international stage. When we joined the programme, we only had an idea. A year later, Mauqa Online has clocked over 20,000 hours of service to customers

Mustafa Muhammad
Co-founder of Mauqa Online