This is a Guest Post By Mr. Murtaza Khambati
Dr. Yasin Chairman PTA the other day regretted the fact that although the telecommunications in Pakistan has seen rapid boom, people especially young ones in general are reluctant in entrepreneurship and they only prefer to seek jobs.
He was addressing the participants of the Forum on Telecom which was held in connection with CONNECT 2010. Although the chairman made a true observation, nonetheless several factors could be attributed to it including the questionable performance of PTA itself.
Being the regulatory authority, PTA did not take any initiative to kick start entrepreneurship in the country. On the other hand performance of PSEB (Pakistan Software Export Board) undertook number of steps which encouraged fair competition. I certainly agree there are various other factors but role of PTA is no exception.
PTA may take below mentioned initiatives to promote entrepreneurship in Pakistan
- It is said that seeing is believing, PTA may bring successful business enterprenures and the budding lot under one roof to discuss important issues pertaining to business in a frank and candid style. The practical discourse by a successful business entrepreneur is worth one hundred bookish examples. The rewards and odds will be better understood b I the language of those who made their way through.
- Youth of the country desperately needs capacity building on issues of entrepreneurship like role of Incubation centre, if any, laws governing the industry, capacity building on writing a Business Plan and blue print for proposed venture.
- PTA can give incentives to telecom professionals to make the uphill task of starting a business a bit easier. Either PTA can provide free office space, or interest-free loans, at the initial stage
- It is worthy to mention here that NUST in Islamabad has established a full fledged Incubation Centre for the young ones to ease out their problems at initial level. They provide everything from loans to technical help and PTA must sought a concrete relationship with NUST in this regard
- There is no dearth of advertisers who offer lucrative cash prizes to budding entrepreneurs and most of them prefer to enter into an agreement with talented enterprenuers. PTA should cease the opportunity and hold competitions in this regard. The name of PTA will bring credibility to such competitions.
- Many regulators around the world restrict MNCs to hire local companies for this technology needs and PTA can also do the same in Pakistan. If that particular product or service is not being provided by any local company, only then can they request for proposal from foreign vendors.
Technologies like Wi-max, IMS, FTTx, LTE, EDGE, VOIP, NGN, IPTV, CDMA, EvDO and others are no more domain of any giant company these days, thanks to massive de-regularization in this sector On top of that, anyone can develop an innovative VAS (value-added service), which can be sold to giant telecom operators.
New aspiring entrepreneurs may be encouraged to content-driven applications and provide easy access to internet Web 2.0 web portals. A beautiful human aspect is that technology can be used to bridge the ever rising digital divide between rural and urban areas. India has taken several successful initiatives in this regard and some of them may be tried in Pakistan in piece meal
Therefore, many opportunities await talented young entrepreneurs and sky could be the limit for them but non-cooperative bureaucracy and sluggish attitude of PTA are the main hurdles in a net shell. Let talent prevail in this sector as we already lag behind the rest of the world.
Enterprenuership has the potential of leading Pakistan successfully in next decade only if PTA rise to the occasion and feels its responsibility.
Writer is a telecom professional currently working at Sido Telecom, as Sr. Manager, Network Operations & Projects. He has done BE in Computer & Information Systems Engineering from NED and he has completed MBA from IBA. He can be reached at murtaza.engineer [at] gmail.com