As part of Ignite (previously National ICT and R&D Fund) mission of establishing National Incubation Centers in all provincial capitals, The National Incubation Center (NIC) Lahore was inaugurated yesterday by Minister of State for Information Technology and Telecommunications, Ms. Anusha Rahman Khan at a ceremony held at Lahore University of Management Sciences.
The event began with a welcome address by the Vice Chancellor of LUMS, Prof.Dr. S. Sohail H. Naqvi, who welcomed the esteemed guests and shared his immense delight at the launch of this state-of-the-art facility.
With justifiable pride, he said “The establishment of NIC at LUMS is a tremendous milestone on a journey we at LUMS embarked on when the LUMS Center of Entrepreneurship (LCE) was established in 2014. At that we dared to set a vision for ourselves to become the largest breeding ground of sustainable, high-growth commercial and high-impact social ventures in Pakistan. The establishment of the NIC allows us an accelerated implementation of this vision. Building on the success of LCE, we are extremely excited to provide young Pakistani entrepreneurs an enhanced and expanded opportunity to nurture their business ambitions.”
Addressing the audience, Mr. Yusuf Hussain, CEO Ignite, spoke of the role of National Incubation Centres in the knowledge economy of Pakistan and how these would become breeding grounds for sustainable growth and drive Pakistan’s economy forward with 4th Industrial wave technologies. Sharing his thoughts, he said,
“For corporations, this is a singular opportunity to transform and thrive in this age of global competition and change by partnering with and invest in start-ups that solve meaningful problems. With the track record of its management team, Makerspace, Design Lab, deep R&D resources, and organic VC linkages, NIC Lahore is poised to graduate true 10x start-ups and become one of the best incubators in Asia.”
During the event, Director NIC Lahore, Mr. Faisal Jalil Sherjan shared the vision and mission of NIC Lahore, and took the audience through the facilities offered at the new center.
He highlighted that NIC Lahore will house the first ever Makers Lab in Pakistan, a modern facility equipped with the latest technologies and smart equipment to bring ideas to life.
He further added that this 23,000 square feet space will not only house the incubator and accelerator but will also provide business acceleration services to incubated companies, a Smart Lab, a Design Thinking Lab, a Usability Lab, various libraries and an in-house auditorium.
“NIC Lahore will be more than just an incubation space. It will foster creativity, design and encourage its selected incubates to develop companies that have high growth potential. We have everything here in terms of physical requirements and when allied with the immense intellectual capital LUMS has on campus, many winners will emerge from this facility,” added Mr.Sherjan.
Ms. Anusha Rahman Khan, concluded the ceremony, saying, “The launch of yet another National Incubation Center at LUMS after Islamabad is a testament to Government of Pakistan’s resolve to bring a digital revolution in Pakistan.
This launch provides young entrepreneurs an opportunity to further their business ambitions, who are ready to make their mark on the world economy and my Ministry along with Ignite, LUMS and other consortium partners will make it a reality.
Having an important milestone, I would like to appreciate the efforts of all our partners who have made this possible. I wish all the start-ups joining the National Incubation Center Lahore the very best in achieving their dreams”.
Other dignitaries who graced the occasion included Syed Babar Ali, Pro-Chancellor LUMS, Mr. Ali Mukhtar, CEO Fatima Ventures and Mr. Khurram Zafar, Country Director of 47 Ventures Investment amongst others.
The NIC Lahore picks up from its previous manifestation as the LUMS Centre for Entrepreneurship (LCE), established in May 2014 with the mission to discover, groom, and develop high-growth, high-impact companies.
Till date, LCE has incubated 78 companies, 17 of which have raised close to US$4 million in seed funding and are currently valued at US$20 million. It has also created 1,500 direct employment opportunities and another 5,000 jobs were created through vendors and suppliers.