By Mir Muhammad Ali Khan
Conferences, incubation centers, award ceremonies, university sponsorship, 10.8 billion speakers in Pakistan each claiming to know entrepreneurship better than Steve Jobs, funding seminars with zero VC’s, you name it and it has been going on but 98% of Pakistani startups have only done one thing and one thing alone, they have just “Started Up” and nothing else.
Nobody is producing expansion from their revenues but looking for further funding based on their previous revenues. 9 out of 10 startups are imprisoned within an incubation center run by a person who himself has never started a single company and has taken it to a successful conclusion, either its run by a bureaucrat hand picked by the CM of the province or somebody with a Ph.D degree in IT. A Ph.D degree in IT makes you qualified for entrepreneurship expertise ?
Are all Startups only going to deal within the IT sector ? What happened to all the other fields of business that have nothing to do with IT ?
We love to compete with India and we love to look up to America but we fail to learn from either because one,our ego based national pride does not allow us to learn from India and two, we are too impressed by America to ask questions from their entrepreneurial leaders because of the fear of looking stupid.
We are “ONLY” concerned with starting up a business and not concerned with growing it. Incubation centers are inducting young people for 3 months and kicking them out after the 3 month period is over with a title “Graduated From…..” or “Incubated At….”.
While countries are producing “unicorns” on top of unicorns within our geographical vicinity, we have not even produced 10 companies that are worth a $100 million dollars. Why?
Because we are leaving everything to chance by incubating them, holding their hands for 3 months, kicking them out into the real world and getting another batch of new companies repeating the same process. Because these incubation centers are getting funded by deep pocketed institutions and they have nothing to lose. These incubation centers only have to exhaust that funding because without spending the previously gotten funds, they can not get more funds.
Universities are not supposed to groom entrepreneurs, universities are supposed to provide innovation and R & D for the entrepreneurs to commercialize it. But the horse is always behind the cart in Pakistan.
Universities are opening up entrepreneurship centers run by “Professors” or executives of multi-nationals. Professors and multi-national executives? Neither of them have taken a single risk in entrepreneurship in their entire lives. One dispenses knowledge and the other is an employee with a cozy salary.
And the world is watching us from every country around the world. Financial centers are watching us from around the globe. They do not see a single start up being listed onto the stock exchange in the past 10 years. Not a single one. Soon will come a time when the world financial centers will come to a conclusion that Pakistan has no innovation.
Soon they will start to say that even Chile, a country in The Andes mountains has produced more entrepreneurial geniuses then us. And why ? Because they are concentrating on producing winners and we are concentrating on just producing. We need to wake up before its too late….And we are very close to being late.
This post first appeared on Mir Mohammad Ali Khan’s Facebook and has been reproduced with permission here.
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