Visiting digital economy expert lauds efforts for development of ICT

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Zubair Qureshi

Secretary General of the Digital Cooperation Organization (DCO), Ms. Deemah Al-Yayha, visited National Incubation Center (NIC) Islamabad, a project funded by Ignite National Technology Fund. Ms. Deemah, an expert of digital economy and innovation, was on a three day visit to Pakistan.

She took a keen interest in the startups from NIC Islamabad and Peshawar and appreciated the initiative of Ignite and the Ministry of IT & Telecom for establishing a network of govt-backed incubators across Pakistan.

She commended Pakistan for enabling policies for the development of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in the country.

She was impressed with the new ideas of the presenting startups and mentioned that DCO plans on taking selected startups from its different member countries to an international pitching event next year which will be attended by investors also. Hence, it will be a good opportunity for startups to raise funding through the event.

Earlier in his address, CEO Ignite, Asim Shahryar Husain apprised the DCO delegation about various initiatives of Ignite.

He said, over the past 4 years, a network of 5 National incubation centers has been established by Ignite through public-private partnerships in Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar and Quetta and Ignite is planning two more incubators in Faisalabad and Hyderabad by next summer inshallah.

To date, 864 start-ups have been incubated at these NICs out of which 469 startups have graduated so far.

Within a short span of time, an estimated $57 million dollars have been raised by NIC startups, which demonstrates the significant impact these NICs are creating on Pakistan’s startup ecosystem.

He further stated that 2021 has been a remarkable year for Pakistani startups! In the whole of 2020, Pakistani startups had raised $77 million dollars last year.

But in the first 10 months of this year, 55 Pakistani startups have raised $330 million which is a growth of 4.3 times over last year! The hot sectors for investment in Pakistani startups have been ecommerce, logistics, fintech, retailtech, edtech, and healthtech.

Later, Project Director NIC Islamabad, Parvez Abbasi while shedding the light on various aspects of the incubator said, NIC Islamabad is the first of its kind.

A shared space providing state-of-the-art facilities, a bridge between entrepreneurs, innovators and investors and a hub for innovation.

He said this place is born to nurture and grow talent from across Pakistan, powered by Jazz and Teamup, under the umbrella of Ignite and the Ministry of IT and Telecom.

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