September 20th, 2011 was a historic day for the promotion of entrepreneurship in Pakistan, as it marked the culmination of the first Prime Minister’s Entrepreneurial Challenge 2011: Discover Prosperity Through Entrepreneurship, a program that has been endorsed and sponsored by His Excellency Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, Prime Minister, Islamic Republic of Pakistan. It was an engaging Business Plan Competition that spanned over seven months from February to September 2011. Talented youth of the country from around 30 participating universities from all over Pakistan came up with bright ideas and went through a seven month grueling exercise to develop Business Plans around these ideas. This exercise provided an enormous opportunity of learning for the students, through training/workshops and especially through the mentoring provided by the industry mentors. The program grand finale was held at the NUST Campus, Sector H-12, Islamabad, on September 20th, 2011 in an auditorium that was packed to its capacity and buzzing with the energy of the participants, who were mindful of the fact that they were witnessing history in the making.
The final event included a conference on entrepreneurship and innovation where four informative and engaging panel discussions were held. The panels covered the “Role of Incubation and Entrepreneurship Centers in Building the Entrepreneurial Eco-System”, “Industry Academia Linkages and their impact on economic growth”, “Angel and VC Funds – Why we don’t have these in Pakistan” and “Success Stories”. High profile participants of the panel discussions included: Nadeem Ahmed, Director Business Incubation, UAF; Mr. Adnan Shahid, CIO, Ideogeny; Mr. Akhtar Qureshi, GM TIC, NUST; Dr. Zahir Syed, CEO, Cambridge Advisors Network; Dr. Arshad Ali, Principal, SEECS, NUST; Dr. Aamir Matin, Country GM, Cisco; Wahaj us Siraj, CEO, Micronet; Mr. Faisal Khan, CEO, Ovex Technologies; Mr. Samad Dawood, CEO Dawood Corp; Mr. Fawad Younus, CEO, ICT R&D Fund; Mr. Zahoor Motiwala, CEO, Wincom; Mr. Azhar Rizvi, CEO Tech Angels Network; Ms. Sabika Nazim, PM, Scrybe; Mr. Hasan Rizvi, CEO, Five Rivers; Mr. Babar Khan, Country Head, Ikonomi, and Mr. Zia Imran, MD PSEB.
The following teams were presented before an illustrious panel of judges:
• Artificial Brain Controlled Prosthesis for Disabled (NUST, Islamabad)
• Complete Tracking System- CTS (SSUET and IBA, Karachi)
• Residual Waste Management System (CIIT and PUCIT, Lahore)
• Recycling of Tires (PNEC-NUST, Karachi)
• Healiver (NUST, Islamabad)
• Organic Farming (IIUI, Islamabad), Pak Traveler (NED, Karachi)
• SALTECH (Risalpur-NUST, UET Lahore)
• Sea Buckthorn Oil Extraction Plant (FJWU, Islamabad),
• Seraab (LUMS, Lahore)
Team presentations were done in a professional manner and the Q&A sessions were handled by the teams with poise and with to the point answers. This was followed by the judges’ deliberations to decide the top five finalists. Then came the hour of truth, when the judges announced the five finalists that will present in front of the Prime Minster on a later date, and after which the top three winning teams will be announced.
The top five teams in alphabetical order are:
• Artificial Brain Controlled Prosthesis for Disabled NUST-ISB
• HEALIVER NUST-ISB
• Saltech (water heating solutions) NUST-ISB, UET
• SeaBuck Thorn Oil Extraction Plant FJWU
• Seraab LUMS
The winning team is to receive a prize of Rs. 500,000 and the first and second runner-up teams are to get prizes of Rs. 300,000 and Rs. 250,000 respectively. In addition, the top teams will be offered six months free of cost incubation at the NUST Technology Incubation Center.