Why aren’t they doing this in Pakistan?
I have a question to put to IDG Ventures and Microsoft. I read an article a few weeks ago which stated that IDG Ventures India was partnering up with Microsoft India on the BizSpark program that was also launched in Karachi and Lahore recently. But there is difference in the two programs – a MAJOR difference. My question is why. What am I ranting about? I will tell you.
The Microsoft BizSpark program that has been launched in Pakistan entitles startups to some free Microsoft software and mentoring and coaching from partners which include P@SHA, TiE and MITEF and TAN.
Here is a detailed description of what they are offering in India according to The Financial Express, Bangalore,
In a bid to provide access to entrepreneurial, technology and financial resources in one place to accelerate the success of high-potential technology startups, IDG Ventures India and Microsoft India announced an ‘Early Stage Funding Program’. This partnership will offer dual benefit to the startups registering for Microsoft BizSpark wherein they will get a funding of up to 25 crore rupees by IDG Ventures and access to Microsoft suite including the latest tools and technologies at no cost.
The program is open to technology companies that are under three years old, and whose annual revenues are less than Rs 5 crore (US D 1 million). Companies meeting these eligibility criteria will be offered access to development software through Microsoft’s BizSpark program; and asked to send their business plans to IDG Ventures for evaluation. Startups that meet the investment criteria of the VC will be provided access to funding of up to Rs 25 crore.
According to the article, this has already impacted about 200 startups in India. Microsoft and IDG Ventures believe that in the current difficult scenario, this support in terms of development software, the right amount of funding and hand-holding will make a real difference between success and failure of young technology companies. Both organisations are showing their commitment to India and to innovation in the Indian ICT sector by investing heavily at a time that this help is really needed. They intend to evaluate upto a thousand companies. Wow! Yes that certainly shows real commitment. Good for the Indian startup scene. I wish them luck.
However, my question to Microsoft and IDG Ventures is: Why not Pakistan? We have some wonderful startups, no dearth of talent, a knowledge of cutting edge technologies and a stream of proven successes. So why not invest in innovation here? Why not really support the startup scene in Pakistan by committing a percentage of the amount that is being invested in Indian startups? I would love an answer – and if there’s action, that would be even better!
Sales offices are a great way to initiate a presence in a country, but isn’t it about time for multinational IT companies to show significant commitment to Pakistan by starting research and development facilities, by bringing work here and by investing in innovation in this country? Shouldn’t we raise our voices and stand up and be counted? It is about time.
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