Posts tagged ‘PSEB’

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

Interested in applying for the PSEB Incubator Program?

You may remember that the Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) had initiated its “Smart Plug and Play Incubator Program” the purpose of which was to promote entrepreneurship and to encourage creativity  among young IT Graduates. The next stage of the program will start from January 2012 in which PSEB will provide necessary infrastructure support & mentorship to the selected applicants alongwith the monthly stipend of Rs 15,000 for the initial period of 6 months.

Professionals who have already been in the industry 01-10 or more years or Students in their 3rd year/ 4th year who have a promising final year project or otherwise would like to work on a new idea are encouraged to apply. For details regarding this program please visit  http://www.pseb.org.pk/pseb-programs/incubators-program.html.

*Please also note that PSEB will be conducting a session on 27th December 011 at Pakistan Software Houses Association (P@SHA) Head Office located at (310, 3rd Floor Business Center Block 6, PECHS Main Shahrah-e-Faisal – Karachi) where all the applicants will be invited for a 5 minute elevator pitch.

Interested in making a pitch? Apply latest by 25th December,2011.

 Contact : Sheikh Hammad Amjad  0333 2259241      Muhammad Kabir Farooqui  0300 2179614

December 16, 2011 at 9:44 pm 4 comments

P@SHA ICT Awards 2010 in Lahore was an absolute blast!

All I can say is WOW! As I stood there at the podium watching the 550 people who had gathered for the event, there was a feeling of absolute joy and satisfaction. Many weeks of hard work and sleepless nights had gone into the planning and execution of this event but it was all worth it.

This was the first time the P@SHA ICT Awards had been taken on the road. The decision had been made by the Central Executive Committee of P@SHA that we should come out of our comfort zone and start rotating this flagship event across different key cities of Pakistan. Lahore, therefore, was the first choice. There is so much technology innovation happening in Lahore, so many successful companies and startups, so much talent coming out of the major universities.

Participation at the event included professionals, university students, startups, corporates, government officials, the media and bloggers not only from Lahore but also from Karachi, Islamabad, Faisalabad, Multan, Gujranwala, Rawalpindi, Peshawar and Sialkot. Student volunteers for the event came from 8 different universities. And the Royal Palm Golf & Country Club made for such a beautiful venue.

The proceedings started with an able recitation from the Quran by Awais, a Masters student from FAST Islamabad and a blogger & aspiring entrepreneur. Then we played Green & White, the theme song for the event, which was written and produced by Yusuf Jan. It was a great start to the proceedings which were mainly a combination of the announcement of our Oscars interspersed with musical performances by various groups – the FAST Music Society, a combination of rock, rap and pop by the UCP Music Society, Sajid Hussain from Sofizar – a talented SEO specialist and a vocalist, the sweet voice of Maleeha Azeem and a duet by Maleeha and Nighat Dad, a TBTT activist and IP lawyer.

Awards were given in 20 different categories. 130 nominations were received this year – the highest ever. A complete list of winners is provided here – P@SHA ICT Awards Winners List.

One of the unique things about this year was that 3 new categories were introduced: E-Marketplace, Mobile Games and Animation. There is a lot of interesting work being done in this space and it was importnat to recognize the new breed of companies who were making a mark for themselves both in the domestic and international arena.

This year, for the first time, one company won in 4 different categories – E-Government, Security, Communications and Research & Development. The name of the company: Center for Advanced Research in Engineering (CARE) from Islamabad. A group of PhDs quietly working away on producing really cutting-edge technologies that are being used both in Pakistan and in countries in the region.

None of this could have happened without the support of our sponsors – Naseer Akhtar President & CEO of Infotech who not only took on the Platinum Sponsorship but also arranged for us to host the event at the Royal Palm, Microsoft Pakistan who once again took on the Gold Sponsorship, wi-tribe who came to the party for the first time with a Silver Sponsorship & also provided free wifi and online streaming, PSEB and IBM who continued to play their role by sponsoring the Bronze. Zia Imran, MD of PSEB, was also actively involved at various stages of the planning for the event, Intel who continues to support our activities each year; Mixit, Dell & Oracle who supported the Tertiary Student Category thus enabling us to recognize good work being done by young upcoming talent in Pakistan. And of course Google who was the Digital Marketing Partner and CIO Pakistan who continue to be our Technology Media Partner. Rabia Garib, Editor-in-Chief of CIO Pakistan, was also my co-host for the evening.

Last but not least, the young people without whom I would have been totally lost – Rafaeel Akbar Chaudhry who took on a lot of the organizational activity including Sound, Lights, Projection System, Photography & Video; Zaeem Yaqoob Khan and Maria from UCP who, together with Rafaeel, identified the young Volunteers who were there at every stage of the execution of the event; Usman Latif who led the bloggers initiative and worked with the wi-tribe team, Iftikhar Hussain who brought Pepsi Sting into our lives and was there to lend a hand with the organizational work, Rohan Emmanuel who went off to buy various things that we needed at the last minute and so many others who did their part to make the event into the stupdendous success that it was.

From my team, Mustafa Parmar was there at every step over the past two months making sure that all the nominations were in, that the collateral (the cool knapsacks with the tshirts, mugs and notebooks) was ready in time, that the banners were printed, that it was all shipped out to Ovex Technologies (thanks to Faisal Khan who allowed us to use his office for storage and who arranged to send all the goodies to the venue and offered transportation and any help that we required) and Mustafa even reconstructed some of the Awards that came apart during the shipping process. Thank you Mustafa for all that you do :-).

Before we broke up for dinner at 9.30 pm, the CIO Pakistan team was asked to come and cut their second birthday cake – Blogger Haris Nadeem and I conspired to make sure that Lahore celebrated the birthday even if it was a belated celebration.

October 16, 2010 at 5:53 am 4 comments

Bureaucratic procedures may prevent Pakistan’s participation at Gitex Dubai

Up until now the Pakistan IT industry believed that our government did not realize the importance of the ICT sector. Unlike other countries in the region and elsewhere in the world, our government is unable to recognise that the IT sector delivers across a wide spectrum, hence ‘silo’ mentality treatment is inappropriate. We thought they were oblivious to the fact that IT not only brings in revenues and provides well-paid employment to young people, but is also responsible for the improved efficiency of all other business sectors, of education and healthcare institutions and of government.

This week we have realized that a few things that the industry relied on the government for, are also being withdrawn due to idiotic bureaucratic procedures.

One event that the Pakistan IT industry has been participating in for 10 years is Gitex Dubai. Companies  have found that it is a great place to showcase their work, network with potential customers and partners from the Middle East and Africa and pick up business. The Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) has subsidized this participation each year.

Yes there are last minute hitches now and again and complaints are lodged about inefficiencies in arrangements and business matchmaking sessions but overall it has been an activity that has helped several companies in growing their businesses.

The process of shortlisting companies for this year’s Gitex took place a couple of months ago and companies sent in cheques amounting to Rs. 1.4 million to PSEB toward their participation. They then embarked on creating customized collateral for the event, fixing up meeting pre and post event and booking airline tickets and hotel rooms (anyone who has been to Gitex knows that this needs to be done well in advance).

On Friday participating companies were informed that all these weeks of preparation might be for nought. Apparently the PSEB which we are told has been set up to promote and increase the IT exports from Pakistan has not yet had their budgets for the year approved. They have been functioning on self-sustaining funds generated through the sale of fibre optic connectivity while they wait for the funds to be released.

Participation in Gitex would not have happened if not for the PSEB MD getting permission for the Federal IT Secretary to use the existing funds towards this event. This could then be replenished once the budgets were released. Okay so the problem seemed to have been sorted out, right? Noooooooo. The PSEB then had to apply to the Ministry of Finance so that it could purchase dollars to pay for the stall space at Gitex. The Ministry of Finance is not in a mood to grant that permission or is at least dilly-dallying over it until the extended deadline for payment has passed. Remember Gitex takes place Oct 17 – 22, 2010 in Dubai  so we are already well behind in terms of payments.

If the Ministry of Finance does not give PSEB the clearance to purchase dollars today, participation in Gitex will not come about. Companies will not only have tied up their funds for this period of time, they will also have wasted money and time preparing collateral, booking tickets, hotel rooms and arranging meetings.

Can we appeal for good sense to prevail and for the Ministry of Finance to grant the permission PSEB needs? As it is PSEB has not been able to run most of its programs – apprenticeship, internship, CMMI, ISO, training programs etc because of the delay in the release of the budget. If the government really does not think that this organization needs to operate, and is of any benefit to the industry, then why does it exist?

October 4, 2010 at 5:16 pm 16 comments

PSEB extends special Gitex offer to young companies

The Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB), in line with its charter to promote small enterprising entrepreneurial companies has, in consultation with the Pakistan Software Houses Association for IT & ITES (P@SHA),  decided to provide young entrepreneurial ventures the opportunity to exhibit at Gitex Dubai 2010 at a nominal cost. Companies that are less then 24 months old have been invited to participate under this scheme.

The total cost of the trip for one person representing a member company, is less than Rs. 100,000 and includes all associated costs, such as exhibition space, visa cost, airfare,  lodging/boarding etc. Selected companies will be provided with a  counter and a bar stool at the Pakistan Pavilion at Gitex. Whereas Rs. 100,000 is nothing to sneeze at, usually participation at an exhibition like Gitex costs a whole lot more so those young companies that can afford it should certainly grab hold of this opportunity.

This cost can be reduced to Rs. 30 – 35K if you can find someone to put you up in Dubai, feed you and take you to the exhibition every day. It has been suggested that this may be a wasted exercise for young companies. My take is that for 35K if you can get the exposure, work the show, see what is happening in the IT space regionally, then it is money well spent even if you don’t generate direct business benefits from it. Usually participating at an exhibition is not meant to generate immediate business. It is a long term exercise but some small companies have actually been able to sign contracts at Gitex so who knows?

According to a PSEB email shot that has been sent out:

GITEX Dubai (OCTOBER 17 – 21, 2010) is one of the top information technology events in the world and is considered to be the most critical and important platform for buyers and sellers in the Middle East as well as the African Continent. The IT sector in the Middle East is booming despite the global slowdown. Middle East based companies are expected to spend approximately US$50 Billion on IT related products and the region is forecast to show highest year-on-year IT spending growth in the world. At 11 %. Dubai alone is expected to spend US$ 4.79 Billion on ICT investments in 2010, an increase of 12.4%. Furthermore, Pakistani IT companies report that the probability of securing projects are higher in the Middle East as compared to the North American/European Markets.

Interested member companies of PSEB and P@SHA are invited to submit their Expression of Interest (EOI) along with the following:

* Duly filled-in Application Form
* Company Profile
* Objectives Statement and associated Strategy to attain results from participation in the exhibition
* Signed TORs and Payment of Rs.5,000 in the form of Demand Draft.

Application forms and TORs are available at:
http://www.pseb.org.pk/UserFiles/documents/Application_Form_exhibition.pdf. All documents must be submitted before September 10, 2010.

September 7, 2010 at 11:00 am 16 comments

P@SHA LaunchPad: the Karachi event

After the successful launch of the Lahore event, we were a little more relaxed that the Karachi one which was scheduled for the next day, would go off without a hitch. However, force of habit meant that I was there several hours before I had to be – just to see that everything was going according to plan. I had also scheduled a meeting at 12 noon with someone who was visiting Karachi from Lahore even though it was a Sunday so I had to be there early.

Everything was under control. My team was already there and so were most of the volunteers. The backdrop was being put up and everything else was being done. Some minor changes needed to be made with the stage setting and the seating but things were under control otherwise.

So when Khurram arrived for our meeting, we went down to the Nadia Coffee shop at the Marriott to have our discussions over a cup of coffee. It was only when people started to arrive that I was summoned upstairs.

The judges in Karachi included:
Amin Hashwani, director of the Hashoo Group
Yusuf Jan, Founder of Mixit Inc & Chairman of P@SHA
Ashraf Kapadia, MD, Systems Ltd
Jawwad A. Farid, CEO, Alchemy Technologies
Nauman Sheikh, Director, Credit Chex
Rahim Lalani, Director, TRG Tech

The ideas presented in Karachi included:

ArziRehaish.pk, a web portal focusing on exclusively on bachelor accommodation. The theme of this portal was to facilitate bachelor community of Pakistan who travel from their home towns for educational and employment purposes.

People Capital, an online human resource management software as a service (SaaS) model, through which organizations (SMEs) would have their own online Human Resource Development, Management and Information system, orientation and knowledge resource without the need for setting it up, maintaining it and worrying about hosting it.

Kitabain.com is Usman and Jawwad’s latest initiative towards making books accessible to a wider audience in Pakistan. About a year ago they started out The Readers Club, Pakistan’s first online book rental service in Karachi (www.thereadersclub.com). Very often they get requests from members for the option to purchase books that they’d like to hold on to and also a way to give away books that might be lying around.

They have tried to put the two requests together along with other ideas to come up kitabain.com. They envision it as a platform to enable individual sellers or independent bookstores to instantly make their inventory available to a much wider audience than they can typically hope to with a geographically constrained brick and mortar establishment. For Buyers; Whether they are looking for the latest releases or something hard-to-find, the hope is that they can find it at drastically reduced prices on kitabain.com.

A simple idea that immediately resonated with the judges.

Foot Mouse: Basicly Ahsan had been thinking of some design Innovation in the Mouse for a long while and one day he thought why shouldn’tt we use this mouse with our feet. Naturally he google searched for existingproducts and found 2 major Foot operating Mice worth around 12000 to 30000 Pakistani rupees, none of them as simple as the one he had in mind. So he brainstormed with teachers, his brother and his friends and voila, the Foot Mouse.

Why a Foot Mouse? Well, Ahsan thinks it can be used by people with physical challenges, it can be used by gamers and by musicians. He gave a live demo of the product and judges actually examined it. Price is estimated at Rs. 700. One of the judges asked Ahsan what he would do if he got an order for 100,000 pieces tomorrow. How long would it take for him to deliver? Where would he get the money to buy materials, etc. Valid questions to get him thinking. Interestingly enough the judge also said that he was part of a large NGO initiative dealing with physically challenged individuals and he asked Ahsan to meet with him so that they could explore the idea of turning this into a commercial product and getting him his first big order. Yay!

Pak Polling – Ali Naqi says this is a better and more efficient way of National Elections Voting through an SMS based service and Finger Print Scanning alongwith Automated camera snapshot and Live camera monitoring of Voter on the day of Polling.

RenSoy is the “the search assistant you need”, says Adnan Muzaffar. The idea behind RenSoy is simple.  We all use Google as a search engine. Why? Because we get relevant, reliable and accurate results quickly, with a simple GUI.
However, Google has advanced searching capabilities through different commands. But only the smartest people or the IT/Tech related people know how to use them effectively.

That’s where RenSoy comes into play. It offers web, image, blog, news and books search all in one place – and all of the searches are legally powered by Google. So quality is assured, its fast, ajaxified and has 30 different ways of searching and the GUI is sleek and simple.

Reflex 360 – A research house that would be a setup, foundation or a unit where IT personals, IT-base companies and educational institutes will come together under the umbrella of ‘research work’. This research work for example could be based on discovering new technologies ( write down your technical wordy stuff here). On financial front and to sustain it, Reflex 360 could sell out newly discovered ideas and prototypes to interested companies. It could even invoke foreign investment in aspect of off-shoring research material. It would help give a culture of ‘research’ a base in the country. People with vague ideas and concepts about ‘the next big thing’ could come together with people with IT- genius and research and develop it. The house would publish research papers, materials and develop piloting systems if the idea is worthy.

Wi-track – Taimoor Zubair says that this is a GSM/GPRS based tracking system which uses cellphones to track users. He says that it is a novel concept which provides an alternate to GPS based tracking and is much more flexible and cost-effective. The location of a user is determined by using nearby cellphone towers and applying the principle of triangulation. This location information can be sent in real-time to the server using GPRS or sms.

SEO tool – Sadia Abdullah said that their tool provides optimization services to increase web page ranking on search engines especially Google. It performs Keyword Analysis and will suggest appropriate keywords with respect to pages. It determines Site Popularity and analyzes HTML Code for better optimization
and generates reports. They are planning to offer SEO outsourcing services to customers domestically and internationally.

Dhaaba, says Ali Iqbal Khan, is the first implementation of a ‘data-aggregation’ idea of Enroi. Basically it will enable consumers to order food online or through SMS. Right now it is not possible to order food online, consumers need to remember the phone number and make a call. Few restaurants have their websites and they are seldom well-maintained. Dhaaba is envisioned to fill this gap.
Features:
-Portal with data aggregation from restaurants
-Consumer can view/search/compare dishes of various restaurants at one place
-Consumers make order through website or SMS
-Dhaaba will communicate order to particular restaurant and food will be delivered to consumer
-Consumers don’t need to enter address details etc. as Dhaaba will save them.
-Consumers can save their whole week’s lunch plan, Dhaaba will make order appropriately on each day.
-Consumers’ money and time will be saved for making an order.

Interactive Learning for the Muslim world – To provide an online platform for students all over the world, especially Pakistan, where they can learn and play at the same time.  Apart from conventional classroom learning, children will now be able to enhance their creative and interpersonal skills on an online forum.  It would play a role of discussion board for students, teachers and parents. Online lessons, exercises, modules, chapters and one to one sessions on all subjects will be provided 24/7.  Because of this imitative, students will get out of the typical home tuition and academy system.

FYDest – The idea is to guide the people by telling them the shortest path to their destination. It is the same function provided by the GPS in cars. GPS can tell you to turn right or left to reach to your destination. Our idea is a little bit different. In addition to the service similar to GPS we want to provide additional information to the user. We inform the user that from all possible paths, which is the easiest, shortest and fastest. These goals can be achieved by giving the user the current situation of the path that he is going to take. Or at least inform the user the fastest path after analysis of all the possible ones.

Formal Shirts Online – Shahzeb Saeed brings together handpicked fabrics, light but durable, and meticulous tailoring in order to deliver the very best to you. The carefully proportioned collars, made of 18 individual pieces, are reinforced by removable collar bones to ensure durability and edge bones to maintain shape. Plackets help strengthen the cuffs and hide the wrists. The shoulder fit is perfect every single time, because of the use of a two piece split yoke at the back. The details matter here, and extra care is taken in the hand-stitching and finishing so that you never have to worry about your shirts, ever again. He is running this business online and has achieved some level of success already.

PakiPay – Ahsan Saleem sais that PakiPay is a small tool for bridging the Pakistan mobile world to the internet, by allowing users to share mobile balance to purchase small value items via the internet or phone. It currently works only in Pakistan. There was some discussion as to whether PakiPay would require a license from the State Bank of Pakistan as has been the experience of products like Amaana and Innovate.

Telecom Clicking GE – a web based application that binds the tools of Mapinfo into Google Earth, with facility to view  3D plots of sites. Mapinfo is the most widely used software in telecom. It plots the sites of the network in its window and has tools that display the frequencies assigned to the cells of site, and the adjacencies (neighbors for Handovers) created in the database. This allows the engineers to plan and audit the Radio Network of cellular systems. They also use  Google Earth for updated geographical info. As Mapinfo tools for displaying frequency/adjacency are not portable in GE, the engineer constantly switches between Mapinfo & GE. Telecom Clicking GE integrates the benefits of desktop application Mapinfo into web application Google Earth, while resolving the problems in usage of Mapinfo. The product displays height of site, hence allowing faster & efficient plan and audit of Cellular Network.

Help Me – According to Farzal Dojki, H.ELP.ME is focused at providing technology support – pre launch but mostly post launch – for technology products, primarily, mobile applications. HELPME staff is trained by product owners, and then the consumer support interactions are migrated to be handled by HELP ME staff. The expected client base is supposed to be small product companies with < 20 people and needing between 0.5 to 5 people in support role – and hence the necessity to outsource instead of building in-house team and managing it. Farzal was looking for ideas on how to scale his business. The judges were impressed with the niche he had selected and saw impressive growth. They felt that he needed to tap into networks of individuals whom he had studied with, worked with in different industry segments and people he had had as mentors. Those would be the ideal channels in addition to the referrals from satisfied customers.

Kidsconvent.com – Kidsconvent.com is Pakistan’s first customizable online/offline animated syllabus with Urdu Script. It supports and wants to promote activity based learning methodology of education. According to Ahmad Raza, animation and graffiti can help a child to capture & understand concepts more quickly than a regular notebook. Their idea is not to make the book obsolete, but to use animated syllabus as a supporting tool.

Tagit – This service attempts to create an easy way to communicate with your consumer in three simple steps:
1. Brand/ Blog/Organization visits the Tagit website and registers itself and receives a unique ID similar to brand name or a simple widget to integrate into their website.
2. Brand/ Blog/Organization asks their consumers to SMS their uniqueID to the given mobile short code for example “SMS Microsoft to 3456”.
3.  If the consumer texted Microsoft to 3456, Microsoft and the consumer are now connected, consumer can send any message to Microsoft by simply texting to 3456, and Microsoft can send notifications, updates to connected consumers.
Websites or blogs can integrate a simple widget on their homepage through which a reader can subscribe to their RSS feeds which he/ she will receive through SMS.
Internet users can interact with the brands through Tagit’s Brand Social Network by simply joining/ following the brand pages to get their latest updates. Possibilities are endless and the solution is simple.

The winning entries in Karachi included Kitabain.com for the product category whereas the winner for the idea category was a tie between Foot Mouse and Tagit. What was more satisfying was that in addition to the cheques, the winners had additional offers of assistance and collaboration. Khurram of Evolve offered to connect Usman Siddiqui of Kitabain with some of the main bookstore chains in Lahore and Tagit has signed a termsheet with a local technology company to work jointly on developing the product.

The participants were all pleased with the questions and feedback that they received from the judges but some people in the audience felt that the judges were very tough on the presenters. However, as one judge pointed out, “We wanted to be tough on them now because the opportunity cost of changing direction is low. We want to prevent them from the kind of heartache that we went through at a later stage on our entrepreneurial journey.” So there were questions like:

Have you had any user feedback vis-a-vis the utility of the product and the UI?

Okay so it is cool, but have you done some research on existing competitors and pricing?

Who is the customer? What will he pay for the product? What problem does it solve?

How will you market the product or service? How will you grow the business?

How is this different from what already exists in the market? How is it innovative?

Some of the kids made the mistake of using a significant portion of their time “educating” the judges regarding the internet or technology in general or about education. This cut into their presentation time and they were unable to talk about the innovation, the impact and the business viability of the product or service. However, some of the presentations were very good and it was generally a good start to the kind of activity that is needed to generate more and more ideas, and increasingly the setting up of new and successful businesses in the IT space.

July 14, 2010 at 4:35 pm 11 comments

Amazing number of nominations for P@SHA LaunchPad!

All I can say is WOW! When we went into the exercise of putting out a Call for Nominations for this event, we thought it would be difficult to get 15 good entries per city – not because there is not enough innovation happening in the ICT sector in Pakistan but because people are very busy and the only vehicle we used to spread the word was the Internet – emails, blog posts, Facebook, Twitter.

Well, we received over a 100 nominations – and so many that are absolutely brilliant! A panel is going through them now and will notify by the end of the day those who have to present on Saturday and Sunday in Lahore and Karachi. Entries will be judged on the concept, the innovation, the impact, the delivery of the pitch and the commercial viability of the product or service. Judges have been lined up in both cities.

Whether you are shortlisted to present or not, you still win because we will be contacting you over the next few weeks and will help connect you with an online panel of mentors who can assist you in the areas that you have identified. Do come to the events in Karachi and Lahore and be part of the energy and the excitement.

Registration are still open – links are given below:

P@SHA LaunchPad, Lahore: Dome Room, Royal Palm, 2 p.m. – 6:00 pm, Saturday June 26, 2010 http://bit.ly/9KqXp4

P@SHA LaunchPad, Karachi: Ambassador 1 & 3, Karachi Marriott Hotel, 2 p.m. – 6:00 pm, Sunday June 27, 2010 http://bit.ly/bkeZJ

June 24, 2010 at 10:49 am 6 comments

P@SHA LaunchPad gathers steam as CIO Pakistan comes on board

Trust Rabia Garib and CIO Pakistan to come up with a good promo for the P@SHA LaunchPad event.

Lots of entries received so far – many exciting ones. The shortlisting will be done as soon as the deadline for  call for entries expires tomorrow. Nominees will then be advised so PLEASE don’t panic! All of you will hear from us whether your entry is shortlisted or not. Meantime you should register to attend the event anyway because we are restricting the number of attendees to 150.

Registration links are given below:

P@SHA LaunchPad, Lahore: Dome Room, Royal Palm, 2 p.m. – 6:00 pm, Saturday June 26, 2010 http://bit.ly/9KqXp4

P@SHA LaunchPad, Karachi: Ambassador 1 & 3, Karachi Marriott Hotel, 2 p.m. – 6:00 pm, Sunday June 27, 2010 http://bit.ly/bkeZJt

June 22, 2010 at 2:24 pm 1 comment

Nominate yourself for the P@SHA LaunchPad event!

Are you

  • A new startup?
  • Do you have a new product that you want to launch?
  • Do you have an idea for a product or service that you want to pitch?

Then here is an opportunity for you.
The P@SHA LaunchPad event will be held in Lahore on Saturday 26th June 2010 and in Karachi on Sunday 27th June 2010.

The vision behind P@SHA LaunchPad is simple – find the best technology ideas and start-ups and bring them in front of the most experienced and influential professionals, entrepreneurs, marketing and financial experts.

The purpose is to create a platform where young people with great ideas, and  early-stage companies with innovative products, 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.

Our sponsors for the P@SHA LaunchPad event are the Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB), Microsoft Pakistan and Sofizar Constellation. CIO Pakistan is our Online Technology Partner. Without sponsors and partners nothing is possible. So three cheers for these guys:

Experts will be brought in to provide input on Product Development, Business Models, on identifying markets and on SEO/SEM and usability. Nominees will be put in the hot seat where some of the most successful entrepreneurs and business executives will fire questions at them.

There is bound to be one idea or one product that stands out – these will be the P@SHA LaunchPad Stars and will be given a small cash award and highlighted on as many platforms as possible.

We plan to have a Demo Pit where young innovators can showcase their idea and talk to experts, potential investors and professionals in much more detail. The idea is to generate excitement and energy around ICT innovation and motivate more young people into starting their own companies and making them successful.

Last year the panel of experts brought a lot of value to the event and sparked lively discussion and debate. We are hoping that with each additional event, the group will energize further.

Nomination your startup, your product or your service idea at NOW:
https://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?formkey=dFNXRVk1ZVhjenJUMnM1ZTI3dXRCd1E6MQ

The last date for nominations in June 23, 2010.

Download the P@SHA LaunchPad Flyer for all the details.

June 16, 2010 at 2:43 pm 27 comments

Is Knowledge-Sharing & Collaboration catching on?

For years I have wondered why companies in the ICT sector in Pakistan do not collaborate as much as they should, why most of them stay away from forming consortia and bidding for projects together. The most common excuse I have heard over the years is that everyone is too busy focusing on building and scaling their own companies and really cannot be distracted. There are also fears of employee and customer poaching (although, in my opinion, that is more likely to happen if you are not collaborating).

Well it seems that finally things are beginning to to change, and it warms my heart to see it happening. Many more companies are now working on projects together not only domestically but also internationally; project referrals have also become commonplace whereby if a company is not working in a particular domain or have their hands full, they are now referring other firms who they know are capable of delivering on the project.

Knowledge sharing, too, is catching on – companies and individuals who have been successful in a certain market or vertical, are sharing what they have learnt with colleagues and friends in the industry. In the coming days I will be putting up posts regarding two sharing sessions jointly organized by P@SHA and PSEB in Karachi and Lahore.

May 19, 2010 at 7:19 am 3 comments

PSEB wants you!!!

The Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) is looking to fill a number of vacancies. Looks as if  new Managing Director Zia Imran is seriously strengthening the team so that it will be an effective organization – able to support the IT and ITES industry. The jobs can be viewed at http://jobs.pseb.org.pk/.

The key position seems to be that of Director of Operations & Administration and Zia Imran is not looking for just anyone. He wants a high caliber person for this job. Look at the requirements:

At least 10+ years of operations and administration working in a multi-national, hi-technology or performance driven dynamic organization.

The ideal candidate will be a strategic thinker who can put in place long term strategy for building a high performance culture.

The person in this position must be hands on and have designed, benchmarked and optimized processes, rules and procedure.

The person in this position must be fair, neutral and not influenced by organization politics. While sensitive to workplace politics the candidate must be able to build a fair culture based on setting performance goals and organizational needs.

Candidates with advanced knowledge of process and quality/management design patterns like Six Sigma will be strongly preferred

Must have a demonstrable track record of building high performance cultures based on efficiency, hard work, results and meritocracy

Experience in developing and running training programs

Experience in developing effective HR policies, procedures and performance review plans

Click here for more details regarding this position.

The other interesting position is the one for Manager, International Marketing (MARCOM). The pre-requisites for such a position:

PSEB is looking for a dynamic and bright marketer with excellent skills in advertising, branding, running media campaigns, internet promotion and publicity. The candidate must have excellent oral and written communication skills and must be able to develop and write marketing messages, white papers, press releases and presentations. Some event management experience is highly desirable. The ideal candidate must be a flexible individual who can go beyond the call of duty to help in all tasks related to marketing department.

·         At least 4 years of progressively responsible relevant experience in marketing.
·         Excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
·         Work experience working at an advertising company is highly desirable.
·         Must have a demonstrable portfolio of previous work.
·         Sixteen years of Education from a reputed national or international institution recognized by HEC. Candidates from top local schools (IBA, LUMS, NCA) and top tier international institutions will be given preference.
·         Preference will be given to candidates having international exposure and knowledge of multicultural/cosmopolitan environment.
·         Candidates with Internet marketing experience including search engine optimization, social media and web promotions will be given preference. Capability to learn and excel in these areas is highly desirable.
·         Experience in Event Management will be big plus
Click here for more details regarding this position.
Ladies and Gentlemen it will be great to have good people in these positions so if you meet the criteria, apply now!

May 4, 2010 at 11:56 pm Leave a comment

Don’t miss the Mobile Apps & Gaming session on May 9, 2010

The Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) and the Pakistan Software Houses Association for IT & ITES (P@SHA) are jointly organizing an interactive discussion on “The World of Mobile Apps & Gaming” on May 9, 2010 from 2 pm to 5 pm at the Expo Center in Karachi as part of the Connect IT activities. CIO Pakistan is the Online Technology Partner for the event.

Less than two years ago, Apple developed a lucrative revenue stream when it set up its App Store for iPhone and iPod Touch (and now iPad) applications. More than 3 billion apps have been downloaded during thus far. It is not surprising therefore that Google, Blackberry and Nokia soon set up their own app stores. With the launch of the Windows KIN it is entirely possible that Microsoft may also follow suit (thanks to Munir Usman for pointing out that Microsoft has already unveiled Windows Phone 7 and its Marketplace few months ago. Development tools for Windows Phone 7 has already been released at http://developer.windowsphone.com/windows-phone-7-series/).

According to research firm Gartner, spending on mobile apps, whether it is tools, games, utilities or maps, will amount to more than $6.2 billion in 2010.

Developers from all around the world have capitalized on this opportunity to market their products to an international audience – and Pakistani developers have not lagged behind. Young companies have launched games, applications and utilities on all these app stores thus generating revenues for themselves and for the country.

The purpose of this interactive session Mobile Applications session on May 9 is to:

  • Discuss the the new opportunities that are emerging due to the mobile phenomena and its convergence with the internet
  • To see if Pakistan is taking advantage of this mobile revolution
  • To find out if there money to be made.
  • To Showcase local companies that are developing mobile applications for the world market
  • To discuss where the industry is headed. How can entrepreneurs and developers take advantage?
  • Tips and tricks on how to develop a Mobile Application or a Mobile game

The following prominent speakers from Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad will be sharing their stories at the session:

Imran Zia, Managing Director, PSEB

Adnan Lawai, CEO, Folio 3

Murad Akhter, CEO, Tintash

Fakhir Jamil, CEO, Converge

Shehryar Hydri, CEO, Trango Interactive

Umair Javed, CEO, TkXel

Khurram Samad, CEO, GeniTeam

Babar Ahmed, CEO, Mindstorm Studios

I will of course play the important role of moderator :-). Although there is no registration fee, if you wish to attend the session, kindly register by sending an email to Secretariat@pasha.org.pk with a copy to kfarooqui@pseb.org.pk

May 2, 2010 at 1:51 am 11 comments

P@SHA & CIO head out to campuses with IT employers

Today marks the launch of a new initiative branded as  “Campus Conversations” –   a collaboration between CIO Pakistan and P@SHA, and supported by PSEB.

The thought behind it is that the industry-academia linkage is weak resulting in a disconnect between the two. Instead of each complaining about the other, a discourse that will enable the two segments to work in unison in improving this relationship for the benefit of all, is what is needed.

So CIO and P@SHA will  travel with a panel of CEOs (this panel will change depending on the university and the city) to university campuses across the country to start a “conversation” with students/faculty. The initiative will be result-oriented with real commitments being the key. I have explained it a little in this interview with Rabia Garib at the CIO Webstudio.

Today’s panel includes Yusuf Jan of Mixit Technologies, Rahim Lalani of TRG Tech, Ashar Zaidi of Intel Pakistan & Danish Nafay of National Foods. Rabia Garib and I will be there too of course! We are heading out to the FAST Karachi Main Campus. Tune in to this blog and to the CIO Webstudio to see if we survived the encounter :).

March 17, 2010 at 10:19 am 9 comments


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