The official inauguration ceremony for Jazz’s National Incubation Center (NIC) was held at the National Information Technology Board in the presence of H.E. Houlin Zhao, Secretary General – International Telecommunications Union, H. E. Anusha Rahman Khan, Minister of State for Information Technology & Telecom, Mr. Rizwan Bashir, Secretary IT & Telecom, Dr. Syed Ismail Shah, Chairman – PTA and CEO – National ICT R&D Fund, and Aamir Ibrahim, CEO – Mobilink.
The incubator has been developed to further the Government’s vision of a digital Pakistan, and is funded by the National ICT R&D Fund. It will be a first of its kind innovation hub to nurture and grow talent from across Pakistan under the unique Mobilink sponsored ‘Jazz XLR8 Program’.
The program will help in bridging the gap between Entrepreneurs, Innovators and Investors, while providing state-of-the-art incubation facilities and access to experts and advisors.
Anusha Rahman Khan, Minister State of Telecom and IT, said, “NIC has been strategically designed to be an effective tool to foster economic growth through innovation. The government is alive to the aspirations of the youth, and the Ministry of IT is endeavoring to ensure that adequate support is provided to young talent to realize their ideas. This initiative is pursuant to the vision of the Government of Pakistan, which endeavors to foster “Entrepreneurship Led Growth”.
Dr. Syed Ismail Shah added, “National ICT R&D Fund is committed to bringing about a tech revolution in Pakistan by motivating academia and industry to perform research and develop state-of-art technologies and software. The fund believes in efficient mobilization of its resources with an emphasis on achieving technical excellence for the economic growth. The NIC will effectively link talent, technology, and capital in order to accelerate the development of new businesses and commercialization of technology.”
Speaking on the occasion, Houlin Zhao said, “ICT entrepreneurs and start-ups and small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have a particularly relevant role in ensuring economic growth in a sustainable and inclusive manner. They are involved in the development of innovative ICT-enabled solutions with a unique potential to make a long-lasting impact in economies and as an important source of new jobs, especially for youth, in the current knowledge economy”. He added that the “ITU Theme for 2016 is “ICT entrepreneurship for social impact”; and I am glad that Pakistan is making tangible efforts in honoring the global focus of the ITU. The NIC initiative will go a long way in providing the necessary impetus to drive economic growth through innovation in the ICT sector of Pakistan”.
Speaking about the public-private partnership to achieve digital enablement goals, Aamir Ibrahim stated, “It gives us immense pleasure to be partnering with the Government for this initiative, since we both share a common goal in ensuring Pakistan becomes a key player in today’s digital economy. Through this partnership, we shall not only be able to provide resources and expertise to enable young entrepreneurs to fulfill their potential, but also strengthen our existing economy by way of job creation, and development of innovative ICT-enabled solutions.”
“By helping young entrepreneurs, we are looking to galvanize communities they belong to, and the broader economy. This state of the art incubator coupled with Mobilink and VimpelCom’s decades of combined international and local market experience, provides Pakistani youth an opportunity to let the world know about the immense potential they possess and how they are to use this potential in brining positive changes in the society,” He further added.
Mobilink will be operating National Incubation Center with its service delivery partner Team Up, bringing expertise of seasoned industry veterans like Zouhair Khaliq and Pervaiz Abbasi, who shall be leading the operations.
This initiative is also aligned with VimpelCom’s group-wide ‘Make Your Mark’ (MYM) program.
Under the program Mobilink has already collaborated with LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship (LCE) to provide support and mentorship to 15 startups currently incubated there.