INVENT: A Step Towards Promoting Entreprenuerial Culture in Pakistan

In a country previously considered on the lowest bar of innovation, it is reassuring in more than one ways to know that entrepreneurship has been on the rise. With a population dynamic with more than half of its population being youth, it is about time that innovation was made a priority in our corporate culture.

It is not news that IBA, one of the leading business institutions in Pakistan, hosts and continues to host events for the curious minds in our country. As with every year, IBA Karachi has played its part in fanning the flame of innovation that is spreading like wildfire in Pakistan.

The Entrepreneurship Society at IBA, in affiliation with IBA Aman Centre for Entrepreneurial Development, hosted an event, INVENT’19, from the 19th – 21st of April which served as a platform for increasing the trend of innovation in our society. It is known as a competition for existing operational startups in four different categories, targeting all sectors of business: Technological and Information Systems, Shell Tameer Social and STEM Education, Health and Agricultural, and General and Traditional.

There was a lot of enthusiasm seen all over Pakistan regarding INVENT and nearly 106 startups registered for this competition from eight major cities of Pakistan including from Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar, Quetta, and Gujranwala. This event is supported by corporations who realize the pivotal role of entrepreneurship in Pakistan such as Shell, Tameer and Nabi Qasim Industries. Well established incubations such as the National Incubation Centre (NIC) and various other institutions such as the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) have joined INVENT’19 as supporting partners.

Starting with its First Round from 16th of March, participants of INVENT have gone through a month-long rigorous process of selection and with only 35 finalists left for Round Three, the event was ready to enter its final stage. Participants from outside of Karachi were invited in on Thursday, the 18th of April. The best startups were chosen as finalists from each track and these finalists presented their elevator pitches in front of a panel of judges comprising of industry experts, to compete for cash prizes, industry feedback and much more.

The third and final round took place on 19th and 20th April, at the IBA Main Campus in Karachi. The event was open for the public to attend and anyone who wished to take away tips and tricks from the industry gurus, themselves, was welcome to join.

Other than the elevator pitches there were other workshops and mentoring sessions which allowed the participants to pick the brains of some of the country’s best entrepreneurs. The notable speakers included; Saba Khalid of Aurat Raaj, Sameer Ahmed Khan from Social Champ, Dr. Shahid Qureshi (Ph.D.) the IBA Aman CED Program Director, and many more.

Sameer Ahmed Khan helped the participants understand social media marketing, vision, and customer segmentation. This would be especially useful for the participants once they launch their start-ups on a larger scale.

Dr. Shahid Qureshi, helped the participants keep up to date on the latest entrepreneurial trends and teaching them the value of teamwork.

Ms. Saba Khalid assisted the participants with their pitches the following day by conducting a workshop specially dedicated to Elevator Pitches. The workshop was followed with a very detailed Question and Answer session.

Day 1 concluded with a highly informal tea and a mentoring session where the participants asked questions to the speakers and mingled with other participants.

Day 2 was dedicated solely to the elevator pitches of the start-ups of the participants. Each five-minute pitch was followed by another five-minute rigorous round of Question and Answer Session. Never the less, the participants did amazingly as most of them were giving a pitch for the first time ever.

The day ended with the award distribution ceremony, which was preceded by a speech from Mr. Habib Haider from Shell Tameer, gave his positive closing remarks on the entire event. The award distribution ceremony was followed by a speech from the Chief Guest of Honor, Dr. Farrukh Iqbal, the Dean, and Director for the IBA, who explained the importance of entrepreneurship to the IBA.

The winning teams were awarded cash prizes in the following fashion:

Shell Tameer Social and STEM Education

1st Winner (Rs. 100,000): Green Energy Revolution Now
2nd Winner (Rs. 75,000): Lets Home
3rd Winner (Rs. 50,000): The Walkway School

Technology and Information Systems

1st Winner (Rs. 100,000): Leekwall
2nd  Winner (Rs. 50,000): Enent

General and Traditional

1st Winner (Rs. 100,000): Satrariyun
2nd Winner (Rs. 50,000): She Bakes

Health and Agriculture

1st Winner (Rs. 100,000): SMT (Self-Management Training)
2nd Winner (Rs. 50,000): Mukhlis Fertigo

The event ended with a formal dinner for the participants, judges, and management team members.

We wish all the participants the best of luck for their futures!