Australia to help Pakistani startups run SMEs

Australia to help Pakistani startups run SMEs

ISLAMABAD: (APP) Australia will assist Pakistani start-up entrepreneurs learn business acumen and management practices necessary to run small and medium enterprises.

In this regard the Australia Government was working with Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) business incubation centre Plan-9.

Australian High Commissioner Margaret Adamson helped launch the season eight of Plan-9's business incubation Launchpad which will assess a total of 150 startups from Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad.

Of these, 15 would be chosen for incubation in the Plan- 9 centre for up to six months, a statement from the Australian High Commission said.

Ms Adamson said the Australian Government was pleased to continue to support Plan-9 to promote a culture of entrepreneurship by encouraging youth, specifically women, to contribute to the economic growth of Pakistan.

The Australian Government partnered with Plan-9 in 2015 to deliver an Australia Awards Short Course on business incubation management which saw participants exchange innovative ideas with professionals in Australia and Pakistan.

It helped strengthen industry-academic links and helped build public-private partnerships in business incubation.

Australian High Commissioner said she has met many young entrepreneurs in Pakistan with bright ideas.

"We hope that the acquired skills and knowledge and the exchange of experience with business incubators will contribute to advancement of small and medium enterprises in Pakistan to support the country's economic growth and future development," Ms Adamson said.

PITB Chairman and Founder of Plan9 Dr. Umar Saif said after four years of hard work, Plan9 was entering the 8th cycle of incubation and had expanded from tech startups to include two new categories - Social Entrepreneurship and Ed-Tech.

"With more people supporting and believing in the technology ecosystem, it is rapidly progressing and growing as a lucrative industry," Dr Saif said.

PITB Director Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development, Nabeel A. Qadeer noted that Plan9 had graduated over 100 startups creating an eco-system where graduates were not looking for jobs but were instead becoming job creators; benefitting Pakistan's economy.

The Launchpad activities in all three cities will involve tech industry professionals, bloggers, media and experts running incubators internationally.