Posts tagged ‘Innovation’

Time to move on

After a period of 20 years I have made the decision to resign as President of P@SHA and will be moving on as of May 1, 2021. My resignation has been accepted by the Chairman and the Central Executive Committee of P@SHA.

In my two decades at P@SHA I have dedicated my life to the Pakistan IT & ITES industry. Day and night have not mattered, nor have weekends or holidays. It has been a passion and a belief that has driven me to an extreme that even I did not know was possible.

From the Startup Insiders initiative that was responsible for inspiring many young people into taking the entrepreneurship route, to the P@SHA Launchpad events, to initiating the P@SHA ICT Awards in 2003 and taking many of our tech innovators to the Asia Pacific to compete in the APICTA Awards and show our friends in the region the kind of products that were being developed in Pakistan. Policy interactions with the government vis-à-vis ICT Policy, the Cyber Crime Bill, Data Protection and Privacy, and engaging with students and universities to bridge the gap between industry and academia and promoting the Pakistan tech sector around the world at major events, it has been a rollercoaster ride like no other … and I have loved every minute of it.

There are many in the local IT industry whose work I admire and am inspired by and who have become personal friends and collaborators. These relationships are long-lasting and will no doubt continue to flourish.

As many of you know, for the past 6 years I have focused, for the most part, on developing and promoting the Pakistan startup ecosystem through The Nest I/O, its flagship startup conference 021Disrupt and our many community outreach events. Guiding, mentoring, and working with a community of young entrepreneurs has brought me immense pleasure. The founders from these 200+ startups – as well as others who have emerged across Pakistan – will take this country and its economy forward.

When I ponder on the brand that my team and I have created and, along with it, the perception around the world of a young, entrepreneurial and innovative Pakistan, we feel a sense of fulfillment and pride. God has indeed been kind.

As I approach the last few years of my professional and working life, I want to spend every waking hour doing what I believe will create the most impact. There are 3 areas that I am most passionate about and would like to focus my efforts on – Developing women leaders, facilitation and scaling of women owned startups and working with accelerated startups in the fintech, agri-tech, green-tech, health and edu-tech domains.

We will start on our new journey from the first of May. Wish us luck. We will need all the help we  can get. We will be reaching out to many of you to join us in this new adventure. No doubt you will be as excited as we are to assist us in our mission. Onwards and upwards!

April 15, 2021 at 11:13 am 14 comments

Young innovators are what Pakistan is about

Most people around the world see Pakistan very differently from the way that you and I (Pakistanis) do, and from the way it actually is – maybe because they have never been here; maybe because they believe the myopic coverage on mainstream media; maybe because they have never met the hundreds of thousands of amazing people from Pakistan who are striving to make the world a better place. I strongly believe that we should talk about these people, ensure that others know who they are and what they are doing. Some of them are working on mass philanthropic efforts; yet others are working towards improving the economy on a broader scale … and then there are the young ones who are breaking all stereotypes and working on the cutting edge of technology.

FawwadOne such person, who I am fortunate enough to know, is Fawad Ejaz Bhatti, the CEO of Trequant. Fawad is a passionate young man working to improve the lives of people who suffer from tremors.

I first met Fawad last year when he was studying at NUST in Islamabad. He submitted his Final Year Project for the Tertiary Student Award Category at the P@SHA ICT Awards and won. The judges were very impressed not only with what he was trying to do but also with his attitude and his temperament.

The winners from Pakistan at APICTA 2014He went with us to the Asia Pacific ICT Awards in Jakarta in 2014 and presented Trequant to an international panel of judges and was declared a Runner Up in that category, with Osama Maruf – also from NUST – taking the top award in that category for his product Smart Seth. We could not have been more thrilled. The pride we felt at  the recognition that these young men had attained for themselves and for Pakistan, made everything we have ever done to support them, and others like them, totally worth it.

 Many young people work on Final Year Projects at university as just assignments; they take part in business plan competitions and award programs but once they graduate, they lose all interest in the projects that they  had once spent so much time on.

Not so with Fawad and his team of innovators. I continued to be in touch with Fawad on social media and followed what he was doing in the final year of his undergrad education. Last year he became part of The Nest i/o External incubatee program and I connected him with Shehryar Hydri, CMO of Convo who is a fabulous mentor.

TrequantEarlier this year Trequant joined the Plan 9 Incubator in Lahore. I met him and his team again last week when I visited Plan 9 to catch up with some of the teams there. The Trequant team showed me the watch they had made for tremor patients and told me what it could do. Tremors are a neurological disorder in which hands, head or legs shake involuntarily. Until now patients with tremors have found it difficult to get assessed. The Trequant Tremor Quantifying device enables patients to not only self-assess; it also allows the doctor and family members to monitor the patient’s progress. A dedicated application is able to analyze and track the tremor patterns.

Trequant goodiesSounds amazing, doesn’t it? It fills my heart with so much pride to see these youngsters come up with a product like this. Fawad gave me a package while I was there – the package contained, amongst other things, a personalized letter that I didn’t read there because I thought I might become emotional.

The letter is something they have been sending to some mentors and supporters who have motivated and helped them in their journey … and that is indeed sweet and considerate of them. There is a customized portion though and mine said “Dear Jehan, Hope you are well. Thank you Jehan. Thank you for always believing in me from the very first day. Your motivational talks and words of strength are the reason we have reached this far. We admire your work not just for us but for the tech scene of Pakistan. We at Trequant are on a mission to help 300 million tremor patients around the world using wearable technology. Since you have personally believed in us from the start, we are writing to you to give you the updates.” They then go on to provide the updates and end with this message: ” What we need from you is your vote of confidence and Hunaid, Jehan and Fawwadsupport all along our journey. We want to touch the lives of as many tremor patients as possible. Your support can help us achieve that.”

Fawad, there is no doubt that you and your team are on a mission, on a journey that will benefit a lot of patients around the world. It will be a privilege for me to do whatever I can to support you on your journey. You can always count on me to be there whenever you need me. Well done … and God bless you.

October 23, 2015 at 1:56 pm 2 comments

It is that time of year again

1237091_10153283046220327_631662539_nWhen we first started the P@SHA ICT Awards 12 years ago the goal was simple. There were a few of us who were fed up of hearing people say that there was no innovation happening in Pakistan, that there was no talent, no creativity – in fact some even claimed that we didn’t really have an IT industry.

Debating with them was of little use. We knew that we would never be able to talk our way out of that perception. So what could we do? Why not just show them, we asked ourselves – and indeed in the past 12 years we have!

From the very first year – 2003 – we were surprised at the number and the quality of entries for the P@SHA Awards from Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad. At first we received nominations from only known P@SHA member companidr-shoab-khan-of-care-makes-his-markes but as people found out that our mission was to recognize innovation in IT no matter whether the company was a member or not, the numbers increased as did the diversity in the kind of companies that applied.

And what a ride it has been so far! Each year we continue to be absolutely amazed
at the quality of products. Some of the same innovators continue to develop new products but each year there are new companies that emerge. Companies from Peshawar and Hyderabad have also started participating and in some cases, 1233464_10151608297625759_1747260324_nwinning! That is a wonderful sign. Pakistan is a large country with talent galore. All we have to do is give people a chance – and there will be no limit to the kind and quality of products that we will continue to see each year.

Celebrating innovation in the Pakistan IT industry is one of my favorite things to do. There is so much to celebrate, so many young people (and some older ones too) who prove again and again that we are a country brimming with talent and creativity; where people with wonderful ideas start companies and transform their ideas into dreams and faisal-khan-gets-gender-diversity-awardproducts that conquer markets, create impact and win awards and accolades.

Has your product ever been recognized? Maybe that’s because you haven’t submitted it to the Awards judging committee. Each year dozens of judges adjudicate and pick the best out of the best.

If you happen to be in Lahore or its vicinity on Monday evening, don’t forget to register to attend the P@SHA ICT Awards.  There is no registration fee but registration is essential I hope to see you there!Invite - PASHA ICT Awards 2015

 

 

October 9, 2015 at 9:29 am Leave a comment

P@SHA LaunchPad is back!!!

P@SHA Launchpad Logo

Yes we are back with another edition of the P@SHA LaunchPad series which are now in their sixth year.

The vision behind P@SHA LaunchPad is simple – find the best technology ideas and start-ups, bring them in front of the Pakistan IT industry’s most experienced and influential professionals and entrepreneurs and highlight them through online showcases and social media. The purpose is to create a platform where young people with great ideas, and where early-stage companies with innovative products, can have the opportunity to pitch their ideas in front of people who ask relevant questions, make suggestions to help develop the idea or product, assist with market identification, mentoring and possibly investment. Ideas with the following characteristics are encouraged to participate in P@SHA LaunchPad Events

  • A new startup with a product or service that you have been working on and wish to launch
  • A young person/team who have an idea for a product or service that you want to pitch
  • Anyone who has a product or service idea that uses technology for Social/Community impact

Startup entrepreneurs and young people with Ideas are put in the hot seat where some of the most successful entrepreneurs and business executives will grill them in front of an audience of their peers. Each category will carry a cash award of Rs.100,000/- for the winners in each of the cities. This year we are planning to hold the event in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad on June 24, 25 and 26. The P@SHA LaunchPad event will be held in Peshawar and Faisalabad after Eid. We may add on another city or two if we have the bandwidth to do so. This year we have been fortunate enough to get  the Pakistan Software Export Board to provide partial the sponsorship for holding these events. Thank you PSEB. To apply for entry into the P@SHA LaunchPad event, please fill up this form http://goo.gl/XiNWN2 and prepare your presentations. If you are shortlisted you will be informed by the morning of June 23. You will have 5 minutes to present to a panel of judges in your city and there will be 5 minutes for Q&A. Deadline for entries is 6 pm June 21, 2014. The dates, venues and time for the events are as follows: Karachi – June 24 – IBA Main Campus – 1 pm to 5.30 pm Lahore – June 25 – Lahore College for Women University – 1 pm to 5.30 pm Islamabad – June 26 – in partnership with Kuch Khaas – 1 pm to 5:30 pm Tagit

Judges & participants

The audience

June 18, 2014 at 10:37 am 2 comments

Want to attend a fully paid 2 week Startup Immersion Program in the US?

blackbox program logoThe first time I heard about Blackbox Connect was when Mary Grove from Google for Entrepreneurs wrote to me in April 2013  telling me how excited she was to announce that GfE was going to be powering Blackbox Connect‘s Summer 2013 class,. What she said next was even more exciting. She asked if P@SHA would like to invite a startup from our community to participate. As you can imagine, there was only one answer I could give to that question – a resounding YES!

Blackbox Connect is a 2-week immersion program for founders who are based outside the US. Founders will come to Silicon Valley and live at the Blackbox Mansion where they have the opportunity to live and collaborate with like-minded entrepreneurs from all around the world and partake in an intense agenda of meetings and workshops with entrepreneurs, investors, experts and executives.

Google for Entrepreneurs  covers the cost of the Blackbox Connect program (including airfare, tuition, room & board)  for one founding team from each country.

Criteria for eligible startups are as follows:

— Must be based outside the US

— Only founders (not employees) may attend; up to 2 of the founders can attend

— Founder attending must be proficient in English

— Start up must have launched a technology based MVP (minimum viable product) and gathered feedback from early adopter customers. If product is B2B, then feedback from prospective customers is acceptable.

This was how P@SHA became the official partner for the Blackbox Connect Google for Entrepreneurs funded program in Pakistan.

The first participants selected to go from Pakistan were Groopic and Tunacode (yes I know I said that only one team from each country would be sponsored but the Blackbox team was so impressed with the quality of applications that we sent that they selected two). The second time around the same thing happened – Appography and SMSAll were selected by Fadi Bishara – the founder of Blackbox Connect.

-Ideally, but NOT required: startup should have raised some investment capital, have a team between 2-20, and have a product or service that can be launched globally.

Last week P@SHA put out a call for applications for the next program which will be in the fall. Have you applied? Many of your peers have. If this is the first time you are hearing about this program, and you are interested in applying and expanding your business globally, please go to theApplication Link: http://goo.gl/wqWNS0.

Benefits of participation in Blackbox Connect two week program:

  • Blackbox Connect speakers mentor, inspire and impart their knowledge and experience with the participants in a genuine Silicon Valley Way
  • You live and work within a comfortable environment that is conducive to learning and sharing
  • There are Network events to gain access to Silicon Valley’s best resources of entrepreneurs, mentors and investors
  • Membership of the Blackbox global community
  • By Demo Day, Blackbox Connect Entrepreneurs deliver a refined and compelling presentation, conveying clarity of their vision and direction, understanding what it takes to get  funded by experienced US and global investors and realizing goals for the long term success of their startup

To catch a glimpse of what Entrepreneurs took away from the Blackbox Connect program, have a look at this video https://vimeo.com/86613312

For the last two programs we received about 60 applications. Our local panel of judges went through them and selected the top 10 – 12. This shorter list was sent to the Blackbox Connect team who then interviewed all the shortlisted candidates and finally selected the participants. So who will be the lucky ones for this program? It could be you!!!

June 12, 2014 at 4:16 pm 3 comments

Calling all Tech Innovators!

Awards home page 2013It is that time of year again. P@SHA is on the lookout for innovators in the tech space. We want to recognize and celebrate innovation in the ICT space. This is our 10th year and we are really excited because we know that there are many more techies – young and old – out there who have yet to be recognized. But in order for us to do that, you need to come forward. You can only win if you take part. Go to the P@SHA ICT Awards 2013 website and submit details regarding your product or service so that our panel of judges can shortlist the best of the best in each category.

The categories are divided into two distinct parts: Products and Services. There are 17 Product Categories and 12 Service Categories.

Product Categories include:

Best in Communications Applications
Best in E-Government Applications
Best in E-Learning Applications
Best in E-Health Applications
Best in E-Inclusion & E-Community Applications
Best in E-Logistics & Supply Chain Management Applications
Best in Financial Applications
Best in Green & Sustainable IT Applications
Best in Industrial Applications
Best in New Media & Entertainment
Best in Research & Development Applications
Best in Secondary Student Project
Best Startup Company
Best Tertiary Student Project
Best in Tools & Infrastructure Applications
Best in Tourism & Hospitality Applications

Note: Winners in the Product Categories will be required to represent Pakistan in the Asia Pacific ICT Awards in Hong Kong in November 2013.

Service Categories include:

Best in Animation
Best in BPO
Best in Brand Development
Best in CSR
Best in Export Growth
CIO of the Year (Private Sector)
CIO of the Year (Public Sector)
Best in Gender Diversity
Best in HR Excellence
Best in Mobile Applications
Best in Managed Services
Best in Project Management
Best in Service Innovation
Best in Social Media (IT Company)
Best in Social Media (Non-IT Company)

 This year the P@SHA ICT Awards will be held in Islamabad for the first time. Email invitations will be sent out after Ramzan.

If you are a technology innovator, or you know of any ICT innovators across the country, make sure that all of you take part in the P@SHA ICT Awards by submitting your product or service to the P@SHA ICT Awards 2013. Deadline for entries is August 8 2013. Please don’t wait till the last moment. Apply NOW!

July 22, 2013 at 11:02 pm 8 comments

Breaking News: A P@SHA LaunchPad perk for a winner or two from Karachi

If the offer of cash awards and expert mentoring at the P@SHA LaunchPad events wowed you, there is JUST ONE MORE perk for a winner or two from Karachi that I need to tell you about.

If the judges think that one or two or all three winning ideas from Karachi are ideas that are likely to become our next tech stars, P@SHA will connect them with Dot-Zero, the new community, co-working space coming up in Karachi next month. Dot-Zero is one of the grantees of the P@SHA Social Innovation Fund and they have agreed to incubate some of the P@SHA winners (who require working space).

Dot-Zero is the brainchild of three tech entrepreneurs – Farzal Dojki, Imran Moinuddin and Atif Azim who were later joined by one of our very successful entrepreneurs Yusuf Jan, of Mixit Inc. fame, as a Board Member and an Angel Investor.

Farzal, a graduate of UT Austin, worked for 3 startups in Pakistan before founding Next Generation Innovations in Karachi. He is also a co-founder of Venture Dive, another local startup.

Atif’s claim to fame amongst other things is that he was the founder of Perfigo, a technology startup in Silicon Valley, which was acquired by Cisco Systems. He went to Imperial College London &  Stanford before founding Perfigo.

Imran is also a graduate of Stanford and the founder & CEO of Nex Degree. His organization catalyzes the growth for four socially conscious startups.

So what is Dot-Zero? Briefly, it is a not-for-profit community working space that hopes to be the fertile ground from which innovative tech starts will emerge. It is a space where networking, collaboration and an exchange of ideas will flourish. For more details regarding the project, check out this complete slide deck.

It is an amazing project that still requires some funding so if you have some extra money lying around that you want to contribute, do contact the Dot-Zero team.

In the meantime, we are trying to see if we can find some perks for aspiring entrepreneurs from Lahore and Islamabad as well.

Karachi Plug and Play from Farzal Dojki

June 17, 2013 at 11:01 pm 2 comments

Additional information on the P@SHA LaunchPad 2013 process

P@SHA LaunchPad logoAs most of you are aware, registrations for the P@SHA LaunchPad 2013 close tomorrow at 5 pm. If you haven’t registered your idea or startup product/service yet, go do it NOW! You can apply to participate in the P@SHA LaunchPad events at http://goo.gl/UsVUR. We have already received a lot of entries from across the country. The Oversight Committee will go through them on June 19 and we will notify the shortlisted candidates on the evening of June 19.

There are three categories this year:

  • Innovative Idea for an ICT product/service
  • Startup with an Innovative ICT product/service
  • Innovative Idea which uses ICT for Social impact

There will be a winner in each category in each of the three cities (i.e. a total of 9 winners). If you have applied from any city other than Karachi, Lahore or Islamabad, you need to email services@pasha.org.pk and inform us which of the 3 cities you will be able to present in.

This is the process that will then be followed:

1. June 19 evening – Shortlisted Candidates will be informed. They will have to confirm that they will present their idea/startup on the following dates:

KARACHI – June 22 – Karachi Marriott – 3 pm to 6 pm

LAHORE – June 25 – LUMS – 5 pm to 8 pm

ISLAMABAD – June 27 – from 5 pm to 8 pm (Venue To Be Announced)

2. On the Presentation day in each city, shortlisted candidates will be asked to present a 5 minute pitch regarding their idea/product or service. This will be followed by a 5 minute Q&A session. The Panel of judges comprising experienced IT entrepreneurs from the local community in each city will determine the winning idea in each category. To assist you in preparing your pitch, we are attaching a template here P@SHA LaunchPad 2013 Template. You do not have to use this – it is meant to give you a sample of what is expected from you.

3. Judging Criteria – Each idea or product/service will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Does it solve a Business, Individual or Community problem?
  • Is it innovative?
  • Is there a viable market for it in Pakistan or elsewhere?
  • Does such a product already exist? How is this one different? What is the competitive advantage?
  • What is your business model? How will the idea be sustainable?
  • Is the team able to deliver on the idea?
  • Communication Skills – your ability to present the idea well

4. Mentoring – The winning ideas will be assigned mentors to help them develop the idea/product/service.

5. Cash Award – Each winner in the three categories in each city will receive Rs. 200,000 to help them develop the idea/product/service.

6. Register to attend the event – Whether you are shortlisted to present or not; whether you have submitted an idea or not, you are welcome to attend the events in each city. Though there is no registration fee, you will however have to register to attend the events at: http://goo.gl/AENZq. Please only register if you are planning to attend the events so that we can make arrangements accordingly.

Watch this space as another exciting announcement will be made TONIGHT!

June 17, 2013 at 5:23 pm 2 comments

P@SHA LaunchPad 2013 – Apply NOW!

P@SHA Launchpad Logo scaledGood news! The P@SHA LaunchPad event is back in full force with events scheduled in Karachi on June 22   in Lahore on June 25 and in Islamabad on June 27, 2013.

The vision behind P@SHA LaunchPad is simple – find the best technology ideas and start-ups, bring them in front of the Pakistan IT industry’s most experienced and influential professionals and entrepreneurs and highlight them through online showcases and social media.

The purpose is to create a platform where young people with great ideas, and where early-stage companies with innovative products, can have the opportunity to pitch their ideas in front of people who ask relevant questions, make suggestions to help develop the idea or product, assist with market identification, mentoring and possibly investment.

You should be interested in participating in the P@SHA LaunchPad events if you are:

  • A new startup with a product or service that you have been working on and wish to launch
  • A young person/team who have an idea for a product or service that you want to pitch
  • Anyone who has a product or service idea that uses technology for Social/Community impact

Startup entrepreneurs and young people with Ideas will be put in the hot seat where some of the most successful entrepreneurs and business executives will grill them in front of an audience of their peers.

There is bound to be:

  • One startup product/service ready for launch and
  • One innovative idea
  • A social impact product/service

that will no doubt stand out – these will be the P@SHA LaunchPad Stars and all three will be given a cash award of Rs. 200,000 each and highlighted on as many platforms as possible.

The panel of experts and mentors that we have identified in each city will no doubt bring a lot of value to the event and spark lively discussion that will add to the strengthening of the entrepreneurial eco-system.

Deadline for entries is June 18, 2013. 

Fill in this form http://goo.gl/UsVUR and we will let you know by the June 19, 2013 if you have been shortlisted to participate. If you are shortlisted, you have to make a 5 minute presentation at the events on June 22, June 25 and June 27.

June 12, 2013 at 3:32 pm 6 comments

Well done Team P@SHA!

APICTA-2012-Day-Two-BannerThis is one of the rare times that I have been unable to accompany the Pakistan delegation to the Asia Pacific ICT Awards (APICTA) since I took over as President of the Association. To say that I was unhappy at not being able to go with them, would be an understatement. One of the greatest joys in my job at P@SHA is to recognize talent and innovation and promote and project it – talk about it, shout from the rooftops so that the world will realize the brilliance of the young people of this country. So not being able to go and witness their brilliance in Brunei was disappointing to say the least.

And brilliant they were!! Yet again!! Only 7 products were nominated from Pakistan this year. Of these 4 came away with Silver Awards. Of those 4, we had the amazing APICTA-2012-Hongkong-ReceptionDr. Shoab Khan, CEO of CARE, with their product Secure High Data Rate Wideband Networking Radio Waveform with Multiple Access for Software Defined Radios in the Communications Category, Munir Usman and Amir Ali Jiwani, CEO and CTO of Pi-Labs for their products Candy Pot/Feed Garfield in the very competitive New Media & Entertainment Category, Tunacode with their product gKrypt and a joint nomination from EME (NUST)/CARE/Shifa – the Network Enabled Retinal Image Analysis and Screening System for Grading and Diagnosis of Diabetic Retinopathy.

As Jawwad Ahmed Farid, our Chief Mentor for APICTA, says “we breathed a sigh of jawwad-farid-2012-Decrelief when we saw Dr. Shoab Khan walk into the Empire Hotel in Brunei because he is our Wasim Akram and Javed Miandad rolled into one. We know he is going to bowl everyone out and/or go for a huge SIX”. And that’s certainly true. CARE continues to innovate and produce great applications that compare with the best in the world.

What is extremely heartwarming is the performance of two startups in the most difficult categories at APICTA – Security and New Media and Entertainment. Pi-Lab’s Candy Pot/Feed Garfield Game Engine and Tunacode’s gKrypt made the judges sit up APICTA-2012-PASHA-090and take notice. Such work out of Pakistan always surprises technology gurus from the rest of the world but I think as year after year our technologists show what they are capable of, the judges are becoming used to seeing such innovation from our ICT industry.

The preparations for Team Pakistan’s participation at APICTA began weeks before the team travelled to Brunei. Jawwad Farid sent templates, tutorials and guidelines so that the teams would start preparing themselves for the task ahead. He and I bullied participants so that they would take the time from their busy schedules to concentrate on their presentations. Zafar Khan took the lead in Lahore and helped participants in Karachi via phone and email as well. I had to soothe the feathers of the Chief Mentor when he thought that nominees were not responding as quickly as he wanted them to. People like Rabia Garib and Talea Zafar put in time to help with storyboarding and presentation preparations for a APICTA-2012-PASHA-094couple of the participants. Powerpoints went back and forth from Lahore and Islamabad to Karachi and several iterations later they were still being fine-tuned.

At APICTA I wear 3 hats – Economy Coordinator, EXCO Member and Head of Delegation. It requires a lot of multitasking but it is a labour of love and I thoroughly enjoy it. Since I knew that I would not be going this year, I had to make sure that I delegated the work to friends within the delegation.

Sadaf Ali from my team at P@SHA, was given the role of Economy Coordinator. I know a couple of our CEC members were a little nervous about a total novice taking on this important task but I had faith in young Sadaf and I am proud to say that my faith was not misplaced. From the time she took on the task weeks before flying to Brunei, she took to it like a duck to water. I was copied on everything so I knew APICTA-2012-PASHA-010exactly what she was up to. She was pro-active and competent and the feedback from Brunei shows that she did a much better job than I would have. Well done Sadaf!

Another young woman in the delegation was Syeda Areej Kamal from NED University. She didn’t win in the Tertiary Student Category because there was some extremely tough competition in terms of technology as well as student projects already generating over US$40,000 in revenue. The support that those projects receive in terms of training, participation costs over the year at various events and investment by government in their projects is what helps those kids from countries like Hong Kong to perform brilliantly each year. We need to take a look at what we are missing out on by not offering similar support to our youngsters. However, if you had seen Areej’s presentation, you would be amazed. It wowed our mentors and judges during the late night mentoring sessions at the Empire Hotel in Brunei. They shared it with me and I was blown away. Well done Areej. We are proud of you.

My EXCO duties were shared by Jawwad, Zafar and Sultan who are very popular at APICTA and who’ve made many friends in the region. Pak team minus SajjadThey, and Badar Khushnood, have as judges won the respect of counterparts from the Asia Pacific and Pakistan is lucky to have such passionate and dedicated professionals representing us. Badar covers his own costs (as did Faizan Siddiqi this year) to travel to APICTA, to provide great feedback to nominees during the prep sessions and to generally be there as part of the supporting team that projects our country and our industry so phenomenally. Thanks guys. Where would we be without you?

The Head of Delegation duty was transferred to Sultan Hamdani – and who better than our Sultan to head a delegation to Brunei. The man is a total charmer and gets people to do whatever is needed whenever its needed and finds creative solutions to any problem that may creep up.

As you can see, the team was in good hands… and yet like a mother hen, I worried nonetheless. I kept bugging them with emails and messages on GTalk. The night APICTA-2012-Day-Two-End-of-Daybefore the results were announced I didn’t sleep because I was so anxious. First thing in the morning I kept pinging them to ask if there was any news coming out of the Final Judges’ meeting. I was on pins and needles. It was as if my life depended on it. I needn’t have worried though. Team Pakistan didn’t let us down. They held the flag high and did us proud. Thank you guys and girls. Thank you for allowing us to hold our heads up high once again.

Other relevant posts:
APICTA Photo Blog – Arrival

APICTA Judging Brunei -Day 1

Team Pakistan picks up four Silvers at Empire Hotel in Brunei

More photos of Team Pakistan from APICTA 2012

Some of the coolest people who were judges at APICTA 2012 from Pakistan

Profiles of Team Pakistan at APICTA 2012

December 6, 2012 at 12:09 pm 7 comments

Making learning fun!

Many of us have often had heated conversations about the difference between education and learning; about the dire need for making education a fun experience; about bringing learning to life instead of letting it lie between the pages of a book. With multimedia, interactive learning and initiatives like the Khan Academy, this is indeed beginning to happen in some small way – probably not fast enough or widely enough – but nonetheless it is happening and that’s wonderful to see.

Another area of concern for many of us has been the lack of an attempt on the part of government and educationalists to focus on creating a passion and interest for science and technology amongst the young in our country. This is of course not restricted to Pakistan. All over the world there is concern that not enough young people (especially young girls) are opting for the sciences.

It was therefore a pleasure to visit the Robotics Labs in Karachi and see the kind of things they are involved in. The Robotics Lab is a high tech initiative targeted
towards the young generation of Pakistan who want to develop a passion for Science. At the lab the kids have the opportunity and resources to learn cutting edge technologies in Robotics, Programming, iPad Game Development, 3D Scanning, 3D Modeling, 3D Printing and many more through interesting workshops held throughout the year. The children get to use the state-of-the-art equipment including laptops, robotics kits and high-end software. The modern, secure, air-conditioned facility offers an un-interrupted power supply and has  high speed access to the Internet.

The vision of the Robotics Labs, according to co-founders Afaque Ahmed and Yasin Altaf, is to create a learning environment for children where they can come, learn and get exposure to  “practical science”. With the world changing at a fast pace and technology taking over literally all aspects of our lives, it is imperative that our children are taught and given such hands-on opportunities from an early age. They are also able to determine which areas are of particular interest to them so that when they are choosing a discipline in high school or college level, they are aware of the opportunities in science and technology that are open to them.

In order to create awareness amongst students and parents in Karachi, the Robotics Lab has been hosting field trips for schools in which the students are given hands-on experience of Robotics. Besides this, most of the courses are also offered in after school workshops and in summer/winter camps. The Robotics field trips have been very popular amongst both children and their teachers.

Our objective is to create a ‘National Impact’ through Robotics education and equip the young generation with the multi-dimensional abilities required of them in the 21st century, say the founders of the lab. If you have a child or a neice or nephew or a younger brother or sister who is free this summer, it is worth looking at enrolling them into the summer camp. You will be surprised at how much they learn and how excited they get about the potential use of science and technology in the real world.

 

May 18, 2012 at 12:26 pm 5 comments

Join the wi-tribe bazaar Pakistan Developers’ Challenge 2012

wi-tribe, in partnership with P@SHA, HEC, Microsoft, Intel and Dell has launched the wi-tribe bazaar Pakistan Developers’ Challenge 2012.

Students, graduates, aspiring developers, professionals and virtually anyone in the development community is invited to create their very own PC and Mobile software applications and be part of the contest.

wi-tribe Bazaar supports Windows Desktop as well as Mobile Apps for Android, Blackberry and Symbian.  Although there has been a worldwide surge in the mobile apps industry, there is a ripe market opportunity within the local market of 22 million internet users. With wi-tribe Bazaar, you have the added opportunity to develop desktop software applications to reach a potentially untapped and lucrative consumer market.

There is a lot of talent in Pakistan that is often not recognized. There are applications that are developed that don’t have a chance to be tested or sold because a platform for showcasing such applications is not always available. With the Pakistan Developers Challenge 2012, wi-tribe is presenting young developers with an opportunity to test out their products in the local market. It is a great opportunity not to be missed. A number of key organizations have therefore agreed to partner with wi-tribe on this challenge. P@SHA is one of them. Our mandate is to encourage innovation and showcase talent.

Don’t miss the opportunity of joining the Pakistan Developers’ Challenge 2012. Register to participate NOW. wi-tribe believe this contest to be more than a platform for showcasing your talents; it will also contribute towards a new market opportunity, within Pakistan.

How to Participate:

In order to participate, contestants must follow the simple steps below:

1.       Read through the ‘terms and conditions’ of the contest (available online)

2.       Select one of 9 categories that best describes the software application they are developing or have developed

3.       Register for PDC2012 by visiting http://bazaar.wi-tribe.pk and fill in the online form in the ‘Seller FAQs’ section.

Once registered, wi-tribe Bazaar will email contestants the PDC2012 submission form and the Developer’s Agreement, both to be completed and sent back along with 2 copies of the software application on separate CDs to:

Pakistan Developers Challenge 2012,
c/o Marketing Department,
wi-tribe Pakistan,
14N, F-8 Markaz, Islamabad

5.       After a thorough quality check, the software will be published on wi-tribe Bazaar with a confirmation email sent to the contestant.

6.       Once published, the software is open for promotion and downloading.

Follow wi-tribe Bazaar (@witribeBazaar) and use #PDC2012 for contest news and updates.

Awards & Cash Prizes:

With PDC2012, contestants can win a number of cash prize awards, based on the following categories:

·         Biggest contributor award (institutions only): Rs. 100,000

·         PDC 2012 Grand prize: Rs. 100,000

·         Runner up – Best Software: Rs. 50,000

·         Best Student Software: Rs. 30,000

·         Most popular: Rs. 10,000

·         Highest ratings: Rs. 10,000

Exclusive jury awards:

·                 Best concept: Rs. 25,000

·                 Best design and UI: Rs. 25,000 (Rs. 10,000 each)

·                   Awards for best of each category

·                   Anti-virus & anti-spam

·                   Business

·                   Communication

·                   Games

·                   Graphics

·                   Internet and Networking

·                   Mobile Applications

·                   PC Widgets

·                   System Utilities

With 17 prizes being awarded, the PDC2012 promises to be an exciting opportunity for developers.

For more information, you can email us at pdc2012@wi-tribe.pk

May 4, 2012 at 5:19 am Leave a comment

Buy & sell software portal launched by wi-tribe

News for software developers who want to sell their software locally online! Wi-tribe has just announced the beta launch of wi-tribe Bazaar – Pakistan’s first Buy and Sell software portal – as a platform where Pakistani software developers can sell and monetize their software. The portal, as all things wi-tribe, is slick and the User Interface is very simple to use. This is in beta so developers are warned that there might be a few bugs – and these should be reported so that they can be fixed.

The basic categories that they have defined in the portal include:

  • Anti-virus & anti-spam
  • Business
  • Communication
  • Games
  • Graphics
  • Internet & Networking
  • Mobile Applications
  • PC Widgets
  • Systems Utilities

So all a software developer has to do is fill in the details in the online application form, mention the price, provide a description, the OS the app runs on and send it to w-tribe alongwith a sign up fee of Rs. 1000. According to the information on the portal, wi-tribe will get a contract to the developer within 7 days. In accordance with the contract, the developer will get 65% of all revenues minus taxes. There are some pre-requisites though. The software must have had a minimum of 100 downloads and should have been on the portal for at least 3 months. The shopping experience for buyers is very simple – add to shopping cart, use the scratch card and download! You can also create a wish list if you are not sure how many products you want to end up buying.

According to Ali Fahd, Director Marketing wi-tribe, the wi-tribe Bazaar is powered by wi-tribe scratch cards, allowing the purchase of software through scratch cards available at over 600 locations throughout Karachi, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore and Faisalabad. There is no hassle or requirement of credit cards or other e-commerce payment methods. Understanding the Pakistani market, they are aware of the fact that consumers in Pakistan are familiar with scratch cards and use them frequently for various services. So why not software?

“wi-tribe Bazaar is our effort to support, encourage and proliferate the local IT industry and software developers in particular,” says Ali Fahd. “We understand that there are a lot of developers with products that they would like to sell in the local market. We are also aware of the challenges in monetizing software and applications (apps) in Pakistan. With wi-tribe Bazaar, software developers will enjoy a significant portion of the revenue share as the main beneficiary. The software and apps can be priced at Rs.100, Rs.250, Rs.500 or Rs.1,000 by the developer. wi-tribe Bazaar also offers hundreds of free applications, which will support developers in building and reaching a larger market.”

Currently, wi-tribe Bazaar supports Windows Desktop and Mobile Apps for Android, Blackberry and Symbian. It is a robust platform for selling any windows software and mobile applications such as games, system utilities, wallpapers and customized themes. The platform is open to all types of developers who would like to bring either their commercial product or even a final year university project to their target market, says Ali Fahd.

wi-tribe state that they are only acting as a catalyst by providing the platform. To help build a local ecosystem of software and apps, wi-tribe has taken a conscious decision to open the platform to all – not just to wi-tribe users. They will aggressively market the wi-tribe bazaar in Pakistan.

Test drive the beta version at http://bazaar.wi-tribe.pk.

Provide feedback on the Bazaar to support.bazaar@wi-tribe.pk.

February 3, 2012 at 10:37 am 5 comments

wi-tribe and UET unveil ‘wi-cam‘

wi-tribe Pakistan and Al-Khawarizmi Institute of Computer Science, University of Engineering and Technology (KICS-UET) unveiled ‘wi-cam’ at a press conference held at the UET campus today.

wi-cam, a CPE (Customer Premises Equipment) Management and Administration tool, developed by students and graduates of KICS-UET using open-source technology, allows broadband companies, such as wi-tribe, to remotely configure and manage CPEs, while receiving instant notifications and access to live data. Not only does this result in an improved customer care experience, it also enables customers to continue enjoying seamless connectivity.

Wi-cam was the result of a strategic public-private partnership that wi-tribe entered into with KICS-UET to conceive, develop and launch a fully funded research and development program, enabling the innovation of this breakthrough feature-rich management tool. With wi-cam, wi-tribe and UET jointly demonstrate that sourcing local development of critical customer service innovation is not only possible, but also essential to the proliferation of technical capabilities within Pakistan.

In his speech on the occasion, Dr. Tanveer-ul-Haq, VP Technical at wi-tribe impressed on the fact that wi-tribe believes in the potential of Pakistani youth. He said that all over the world universities are the research grounds for a lot of industry innovation and this needs to happen more in Pakistan.

At KICS-UET, researchers are keen on capitalizing open source technologies and developing cost effective solutions for local telecom and IT industry, said Dr. Waqar Mahmood, Director of KICS-UET. wi-cam is a product built with local talent and it has helped KICS-UET researchers better understand software needs of the telecom industry, he said.

UET has established collaboration with international research organization of high repute such as Broad Institute of MiT Harvard, International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Canada, University of California Barkley, Purdue University USA, Caviam Networks USA, CISCO Systems, European Language Authority, Microsoft research and many others. Several companies have opened their design and training centers in the University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore.  It has attracted US$8.3M worth of equipment funding from Huawei Technologies China.

wi-tribe should be congratulated for investing in local R&D. It is by increasing the research and development capabilities of our universities that the industry will flourish at a much faster rate and the innovation ecosystem will be further strengthened.

 

January 24, 2012 at 4:50 pm 1 comment

P@SHA is the proud user of SmartXS!

As P@SHA expands its resource capacity, we thought we should have an Attendance system to document who comes in at what time – not that this will ensure how productive they have been during the day – but nonetheless it seemed like a cool thing to do.
So how did we go about it? Well it seemed only natural to contact Farhan Masood who runs Solotech. His innovative products have been P@SHA ICT Award winners in 2010 and 2011 and have grabbed the Silver award at APICTA.
Farhan suggested that we instal his SmartXS hardware and software solution which is selling like hotcakes throughout the country as well as elsewhere.
Solotech’s SmartXS was developed following a pitch that Farhan made at the P@SHA LaunchPad event in Lahore which he in fact won. He used the winner’s cash award to work on the initial design of the product which many people had told him was not a feasible product to invest in. He is glad he didn’t listen to the naysayers because today this product generates a large portion of the revenues for Solotech.
At first I was hesitant about installing this flashy new technology at the Secretariat. One of the main reasons was that I thought it would be too expensive. Fortunately Farhan made sure it wasn’t and so P@SHA is now the proud owner of a Made-in-Pakistan product that is working superbly. Thanks Farhan. Thanks Solotech.

January 20, 2012 at 4:59 pm 3 comments

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