ISLAMABAD: National Incubation Center Lahore (NICL) at LUMS held its capstone Investor Summit bringing together Pakistan’s most prominent investors to meet with its Lahore and Quetta cohorts of aspiring entrepreneurs.
The event, streamed live to the public via Facebook, was the culmination of a rigorous, months-long Foundation Programme, delivered by esteemed LUMS faculty to equip entrepreneurs with the knowledge, skills and tools needed to ensure success. The programme directly aligns with NICL’s mission to inspire, enable and facilitate problem-solvers in high impact areas of development such as agriculture, healthcare, finance, education, and the environment.
“We are striving at the grassroots level to feed the pipeline in Pakistan’s rapidly emerging start-up ecosystem,” said Saleem Ahmad, Chairman NICL and NIC Quetta.
“Our goal is to also incubate talented youth from diverse socio-economic and demographic backgrounds, ensuring access to those who may otherwise be excluded from such opportunities.”
Ahmad also highlighted the much-needed socio-cultural solutions and indigenous offerings created by this cohort. “I’m personally moved by the mix of start-ups including many conviction-driven social ventures catering to physical disabilities and psychological wellness issues including abuse,” he said.
The 23 judges attending the Investor Summit included top venture capitalists and seasoned angel investors, as well as successful start-up founders who have themselves raised significant capital in Pakistan.
Speaking during the Summit about social impact in entrepreneurship, Aatif Awan, Founder and Managing Partner at Indus Valley Capital and member of NICL’s Foundation Council, commented, “There’s a false dichotomy where people think that either you’re a social impact start-up, which means you cannot raise VC money or scale fast enough, or a company just for profit. I don’t believe that dichotomy needs to exist. I feel you have maximum impact when you can figure out self-sustainable motives. The ‘why’ founders are doing something determines how much impact it will have.”
Interested investors and venture capitalists can view all 24 pitches on the NICL Facebook page (NICLSolveTogether) and get in touch at for more information on the start-ups.
Graduates from Cohort Six have already started garnering investor interest, reflecting the recent interest in start-up investment in Pakistan.
NICL is set to welcome Cohort Eight in September and is also collaborating with Stanford Seed to offer Stanford Seed Spark, a four-month online programme for early-stage entrepreneurs.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021