MITCEF BAP – an excellent initiative!

November 10, 2007 at 10:12 am 5 comments

mitcef logoAttending the MITCEF BAP Final presentations at the Avari Hotel on November 6 was a very exhilirating experience. The five finalists – Alchemy, Autosoft, Sofizar, Softech and Tohfay – took 20 minutes each to tell us their stories, finally ending up with their strategies for accelerating the growth of their businesses over the next 5 years. The presentations were impressive and showed how much work and thought had gone into the process.

MITCEF’s Business Acceleration Program was launched in August with the objectiveKen & Junaid of assisting IT and ITES companies in Pakistan to grow to the next level by providing expert coaching and mentoring.

Since most companies here are shy to share revenue statistics and strategies, it was not surprising that companies actually had to be cajoled into joining the Business Acceleration Program. A total of 20 companies from across Pakistan took part. All of them went through intense coaching and mentoring with local and foreign entrepreneurs. The process enabled them to look at weak areas, change strategy, re-construct business plans and review what they had done thus far and what the roadmap should be for the future.

The advice they received, the questions they were asked, the self-assessment that followed, and the lessons they learnt were all totally invaluable. Speaking to some of them over the last few weeks, I was able to see how much they had gained from the program. Ken Morse and Bill Aulet from the MIT Entrepreneurship Centre have been an integral part of this program, as have many entrepreneurs from within and outside Pakistan.

jawwad in actionFor details regarding the experience that Alchemy went through, read Jawwad’s blog. The event was also covered heavily in Green&White.

Dr. Zahir A. Syed, Syed Azhar Rizvi, Imran Sayeed and the entire MITCEF team need to be congratulated for coming up with an excellent program and for executing it beautifully. This will be run again early next year and I hope that those companies who had reservations about participating in this initial phase, will take advantage of it in 2008.

This year’s MITCEF BAP award distribution ceremony was followed by the announcement of the launch of the *Tech Angels Network (TAN) by Professor Ken Morse. This will mark the beginning of angel investment into Pakistan’s talented technology sector.

Many of us have always had great faith in the Pakistan IT industry and its
potential. The past couple of years have justified our faith as companies
like Scrybe, Amaana, Alchemy, PixSense, Mobile Complete, CDF, Orgoo etc have appeared on our landscape bringing forth technology innovation and
attracting investment. With programs such as the MITCEP BAP, the TiE Business Plan Competition and P@SHA’s continued efforts and commitment, our companies will continue to make a mark for themselves in local and international markets.

Sofizar, which was the formal winner of the MITCEF BAP, and their product, has been covered beautifully by Osama Hashmi in this post.

Entry filed under: Posts.

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jawwad Farid  |  November 10, 2007 at 10:39 am

    Nice picture… Who is the geek sell out wearing the tie?

  • 2. Vic  |  November 10, 2007 at 2:54 pm

    Very interesting post.

    Does it mean other companies, as a practise, do not a. Strategise, or b. Communicate those strategies effectively?

    My 90 paise goes to b., that learning how to express one’s visions and plans clearly and meaningfully go a long way towards making them effective in practice. To some extent, the inability to communicate effectively is a regional failing, it is not a part of the learning cycle. This is a problem that can be fixed, and must be.

    This is not to say that the art of expressing business plans is trivial, it is certainly not. It should be taught at B-schools, as much as other business tools.

  • 3. Zafar Khan  |  November 10, 2007 at 5:38 pm

    What I found interesting in the choice of the finalists was that they were all “products”. As far as I know, the ratio between “products” and “services” companies in Pakistan is 1:20 so great to see people’s own ideas and initiatives see the light of day.
    Even Sofizar has done services ( and ughhhh outsourcing) in the past and continues to work with channel partners like Korea Telecom ( ), but the way forward for Pakistan’s is _not_ undercutting India by $1/hour. It is instead to move into higher value services by selling ourselves as the “high end” country and seeking a premium. Even better would be to use the profits from services to launch products and market them. Its a flat world…it can be done. All we need is chutzpah & confidence (Yes, and hardwork and innovation helps…)

  • 4. Jehan  |  November 10, 2007 at 8:17 pm

    Vic, they do strategise and communicate but perhaps not as effectively as they could. Maybe they are too close to the business – for most of them it is their baby and they keep to the path they initially defined for it without actually realizing that a change is required. It sometimes take someone else to view it dispassionately and tell them that if they tweaked this or that, things would work much better. Or if they changed direction somewhat, they would be able to grow more effectively. Most of these companies are doing extremely well btw. However, they could be tripling their revenues with a slight shift in strategy.

    I totally agree with you about B-schools. Actually we have noticed in Pakistan that these schools don’t produce entrepreneurs, just managers who want to work in multinational companies. First they must inculcate the ability to have a vision and develop a plan; only then will they be able to teach them how to express that vision or plan effectively.

    Zafar, congratulations on winning the MITCEF BAP competition. We were all truly impressed by your vision and especially your passion. And of course the fact that you make US$10,000 while you sleep every night, had us all dreaming of being able to do the same. As you completed your presentation, Jawwad said “if I were the judges, I would vote for Sofizar”. They must have heard him! 🙂 Let us meet up again soon – and it doesn’t always have to be at an event you know.

  • 5. Osama A.  |  November 12, 2007 at 11:37 am

    Wow CDF Software was put in the same league as Scrybe, Amaana, Alchemy and PixSense? I’m honored.


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