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January 14, 2018

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First tech incubation centre launched in Peshawar

PESHAWAR: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Saturday opened first incubation centre in Peshawar to provide technology start-ups with technical resources and guidance to develop and design new technologies.

The ministry of information technology and telecommunication and Ignite Fund (formerly known as National ICT R&D Fund) funded the national incubation centre (NIC).

“I am extremely pleased with the growing synergy between the public and private sectors to promote youth-led entrepreneurship in the country and realise the dream of a digital Pakistan,” Prime Minister Abbasi said at the centre’s launch ceremony. “NIC Peshawar is proof of the government’s commitment of extending all kinds of support to relevant stakeholders in developing Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s technology landscape and start-up ecosystem.” The centre is housed within a spacious 12,000 square feet facility at the PTCL training centre, which will incubate more than 25 handpicked start-ups a year. It has already started a process to choose tech start-ups for the first batch session, which is scheduled from March. The centre plans to work with local bodies and universities to identify and induct top talent from the province.

NIC Peshawar will be equipped with the latest information and communication technology infrastructure to offer high-speed connectivity, seamless audio and video conferencing facilities and fully-managed IT and telecom services.

The start-ups will have an access to comprehensive mentoring services to seek guidance and support on design thinking, business planning, financial and operational aspects related to their start-ups, such as marketing and communication and legal services. NIC Peshawar will provide an access to investors to support technology-driven disruptive start-ups.

Minister of State for IT&T Anusha Rahman said the centre will usher a vibrant new era of entrepreneurship and innovation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to enable many aspiring tech entrepreneurs and start-ups to create game-changing solutions. “Ministry of IT&T is constantly striving towards transforming Pakistan into a knowledge-based economy through various sustainable ICT initiatives,” Rahman said.

Yousuf Hussain, chief executive officer at Ignite Fund, said the centre provides a singular opportunity for start-ups that seek to solve meaningful problems with the help of academia and for corporates that seek to transform and thrive in this age of global competition and pervasive change by partnering with and investing in start-ups. Daniel Ritz, president and chief executive officer of PTCL said the NIC Peshawar is an important milestone in the province’s innovation climate. “This centre is a testimony to PTCL’s promise to empower the people of Pakistan through its ICT and digital services,” Ritz added.

Atif Khan, chief executive officer of a tech company LMKT said Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has enormous untapped talent and potential that can become a major driver in boosting Pakistan’s economy. “I am really excited about the prospect of working with inventive local entrepreneurs and start-ups in our pursuit for creating success stories bigger than ours,” Khan added.

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