Karandaaz, Planet N explore challenges facing local startups at LUMS workshop

With an objective to connect entrepreneurs on the path to commercialization with industry experts and to promote the exchange of ideas among each other, Karandaaz Pakistan, in partnership with Planet N Group of Companies and Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), hosted a workshop on the “Challenges in the Startup Eco-system in Pakistan”.

Key Stakeholders

The workshop aimed to engage with key stakeholders meaningfully to discuss the operating environment, deliberate on the challenges in the startup eco-system, and propose strategies to address those challenges. The participants included, senior industry professionals, founders from successful startups, policymakers, researchers, entrepreneurs, representatives of the incubators and venture capitalists.

Discussion Areas

Through the workshop, participants identified common challenges faced by startups and suggested solutions. The workshop showcased the value, economic impact and contribution to entrepreneurial advancements for the development of start-up ecosystem in Pakistan. Nadeem Hussain from Planet N. Broad discussion areas included moderated the workshop:

1.Company Law
2.Role of Incubators/ Accelerators
3.Exits/ Seed Funds/ VC/ Angel Investors
4.General Awareness/ Curriculum

Mr. Nadeem Hussain, Founder & Coach Planet N Group, enlightened the audience about the importance of building an ecosystem by discussing the shortcomings and areas of improvement. He also underscored potential areas that need to be addressed for empowering entrepreneurial culture in order to avoid the menace of economic failure. Moreover, Planet N will publish a white paper providing solutions to the challenges discussed in order to rationalize entrepreneurial spirit in Pakistan.

Seeding Innovation Landscape: A Framework for Rooting FinTechs in Pakistan

The workshop concluded with a presentation on the key findings of a report commissioned by Karandaaz Pakistan titled “Seeding Innovation Landscape: A Framework for Rooting FinTechs in Pakistan”.
Mr. Qasif Shahid, represented FinSurgents, the research partner for this report, and discussed the opportunities and gaps that exist in the Fintech eco-system in Pakistan and the future of digital financial services in the country. Some of these are highlighted below:

“Fintech Disruption is more of an emerging market phenomena. Pakistan can utilize it as it’s the third largest cash based economy and Fintechs could be enabled to drive the economy. We are in an ideal situation and we can use it to become a case study for the world because the fast moving Fintechs can change the landscape of business. As soon as individuals in the middle and bottom of the pyramid digitize their behavior, they will get access to digital credit and that could totally revolutionize the digital and online economy.” (Qasif Shahid)

The presentation also highlighted the need for local Fintechs to enter the market so they could experiment and disrupt. Incase they are not allowed the space will be taken over by global fintech giants. The presentation was interactive, informative and engaging because it highlighted the approaches emerging fintechs can adopt, the challenges they face and the possible impact of a digitized behaviour. We would be sharing the details early next week.

Engaging the Ecosystem

We appreciate LUMS for supporting this effort initiated by Planet N and Karandaaz and hope to see more engaging conversations in the future.
There is no doubt that the ecosystem needs more engaging workshops, conversations and dialogues in the future so more active players could be involved. We hope that other players in the industry could follow this approach and define ways to engage players from the industry to strengthen the ecosystem and empower the youth.

“Active collaboration and engagement between startups and eco-system enablers, such as incubators, accelerators and policymakers, is critical in order to develop a comprehensive understanding of the challenges faced by aspiring and existing entrepreneurs and developing creative solutions. We believe that this workshop organized by Karandaaz Pakistan in collaboration with Planet N and LUMS will inspire scalable programs to empower youth in the region,”
(Mr. Ali Sarfraz, CEO of Karandaaz Pakistan)

Information Contribution: Karandaaz Pakistan, Team @ Perspective

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