Dig­i­tal En­trepreneur­ship in Pak­istan

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In Pak­istan the dig­i­tal medium is grow­ing at a good pace. The out­look for lo­cal en­trepreneurs and ven­ture cap­i­tal­ists looks sturdy in the long-run. With a pop­u­la­tion of more than 180 mil­lion, Pak­istan has an ever-ex­pand­ing in­ter­net user base which cur­rently stands at 30 mil­lion, with more than 9 mil­lion on Face­book.

With such a wide ar­ray of un­de­vel­oped dig­i­tal mar­kets and only 17% in­ter­net pen­e­tra­tion, there are op­por­tu­ni­ties for tech­no­log­i­cal en­trepreneurs.

De­mo­graph­i­cally, Pak­istan is a young coun­try as 70% of its pop­u­la­tion is un­der 30 and busi­ness and tech­nol­ogy in­sti­tutes around the coun­try are throw­ing out thou­sands of po­ten­tial en­trepreneurs ev­ery year. Pak­istan’s young grad­u­ates have started pur­su­ing en­trepreneur­ship very re­cently and there is an up­ward trend in in­ter­net-based busi­nesses. When one con­sid­ers the high cost of es­tab­lish­ing a tra­di­tional busi­ness, one re­al­izes the ad­van­tages on­line en­trepreneurs have.

The dy­nam­ics of the in­ter­net in­dus­try have also changed quite dramatically in re­cent times with 2012 be­ing a pos­si­ble turn­ing point for rapid growth. Heavy in­vest­ment in mo­bile money trans­fer fa­cil­i­ties, cash on de­liv­ery lo­gis­tic so­lu­tions, ven­ture cap­i­tal and plat­form and in­cu­ba­tors for startup busi­ness, all have made young en­trepreneurs more con­fi­dent in ven­tur­ing into the wilder­ness of in­no­va­tion and startup by gen­er­at­ing on­line busi­nesses.

Re­cently, Pak­istan has de­vel­oped firm foun­da­tions to at­tract young peo­ple to take risks.

The mo­bile money trans­fer so­lu­tion, the most fa­mous of which is Easy­Paisa, has made on­line trans­ac­tions con­ve­nient for both the buyer and seller. Th­ese on­line plat­forms for money trans­ac­tions have re­duced the hus­tle of en­sur­ing smooth and se­cure mon­e­tary deal­ings. What­ever ser­vices th­ese young en­trepreneurs pro­vide to their con­sumers, mo­bile money trans­fer makes sure they re­ceive their pay­ments in time.

Cash on De­liv­ery Lo­gis­tics ser­vices have tack­led the lion’s share of prob­lems for es­tores. Be­fore this ser­vice, it was al­most im­pos­si­ble for on­line startup busi­nesses to make coun­try­wide or even city­wide de­liv­er­ies. The star­tups were fi­nan­cially un­sta­ble and sim­ply could not af­ford to or­ga­nize their own de­liv­ery sys­tems.

The lo­gis­ti­cal is­sue kept many at bay. With launch of COD ser­vice by com­pa­nies like TCS and BlueEx, de­liv­er­ies be­came more con­ve­nient and al­lowed on­line star­tups to cap­ture and ser­vice the con­sumer base on a coun­try­wide ba­sis.

An­other per­ti­nent and most prom­i­nent is­sue that was faced by Pak­istani en­trepreneurs pre­vi­ously was lack of funds and busi­ness sup­port in the very early days of startup. They were at the mercy of the harsh re­al­i­ties of the Pak­istani and global mar­kets and faced com­pe­ti­tion from global e-busi­nesses.

Over time, Pak­istan de­vel­oped its own ar­ray of fi­nan­cial in­sti­tutes to sup­port e-busi­nesses and startup in­cu­ba­tors. Now both lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional ven­ture cap­i­tal­ists are more con­fi­dent in in­vest­ing in Pak­istani star­tups.

Th­ese ini­tia­tives take a startup or young busi­ness in their fold and guide young en­trepreneurs to make their busi­nesses more sta­ble. More­over, seminars and en­tre­pre­neur plat­forms like Startup Week­end and Startup Grind are pro­vid­ing the nec­es­sary ex­po­sure and guid­ance to young en­tre­pre­neur to run their busi­ness suc­cess­fully.

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