NIC All Set for Graduation
The National Incubation Center, Islamabad, the hub of budding and growth for young start-ups of the city, is all set to host the graduation of its second cohort today, on Thursday 15th November 2018.
Having only lately been established in February 2017, NIC has already taken in 4 batches of startups, has had one of its cohorts graduate and is awaiting its second graduation only a few hours from now. In a report from Pakistan Observer, the publication highlights, “[NIC, Islamabad] has so far incubated 74 startups, 23 Female Founders, created more than 450 jobs, raised Rs.194 million investment and earned revenues of Rs.212 million.”
While the statistics may say a lot about the incubation center, none can reflect on the organization’s true performance like some of their best cohorts, or as NIC likes to call them, their Super Stars.
“[Our startup] graduating means that we’re strong enough to compete in the market,” says Sibhatullah, the web developer at Naseem. “When we came here, all we had was a simple idea. We had no business plan, no guidelines and neither did we know how to execute our business. We owe all that to NIC.”
Seeing the overwhelming student to teacher ratio in lower-end schools of Pakistan, Naseem ventures to provide an app service that caters to teachers and students specific educational needs garnering information and content from the likes of YouTube, Udemy and Khan Academy.
After graduation, the team of Naseem hopes to make the education service available through SMS for children who do not have access to the internet.
NIC grooms their startups to think of success in terms of the affect that one can bring to a user’s life as opposed to how many customers a business has.
“Our aim with insurance is that we want to provide coverage to as many families, as many lives as we can,” explains Fahad Awan, co-founder of Easy Insurance. “We want to improve the process of getting insurance; we want to make it more accessible, more transparent, which I think is more important than counting the number of users.”
Two of the co-founders of Easy Insurance, Fahad Awan and Masna bin Umeed ultimately agreed on having high hopes for their company’s future after graduation, confident on being self-sustained and staying afloat.
What, however, was most interesting about the startups at NIC was the level of emphasis they placed on the betterment of society.
“At first we wanted to cater to the illiterate lot of our society,” related Muhammad Mustafa, co-founder of Mauqa. “However, we soon realized that they didn’t want education or skills; what they really required was a job.”
“NIC has been instrumental in our growth,” elaborated Mustafa on Mauqa’s success. “More than just a rent-free space, it provides us with mentoring, networking and a curriculum. It’s a great place to meet like-minded people.”
Mauqa, run by co-founders Suniya Sadullah Khan and Muhammad Mustafa, is a home help service where one can temporarily hire help for cooking, cleaning, ironing and other such services. Mauqa hopes to branch out of Islamabad and Rawalpindi into the Lahore and Karachi markets after graduation.
With so many stories of passion and drive, and a sincere effort for the betterment of society, one cannot help but wish them the best of luck for and after their graduation!