There is no denying the fact that Pakistan has finally arrived at a very crucial juncture in the development of its entrepreneurial base and support mechanisms. Foreign investors now view the country as a major hub for growing entrepreneurial concerns predicting that Pakistan will be one of the major technological centres of the world in the future. In fact, founders of companies such as Techhub Manchester have also shown specific interest in the area. Shaun Gibson, who along with business partner Doug Ward is thinking of establishing one of a technical co-working facilities in Punjab, was recently on a week-long tour of Lahore and Islamabad where he met with local entrepreneurs and other key members of the business community.
TechHub provides its clients with a sound foundation for establishing, running and promoting their entrepreneurial ventures. Not only does it service entrepreneurs with a co-working office environment where technology startups can build their businesses, it also helps them gain access to Techhub facilities with all its benefits and features. In order to be applicable for these services, all TechHub requires is that entrepreneurs adhere to the following terms:
Have a technology focused company
Have their own product (rather than a services model)
Be a happy team
Be willing to share and contribute to the community
If businesses meet these criteria, for a nominal fee, they will be provided with working spaces with 24 hour accessibility, they will be introduced to like-minded entrepreneurs in order to further strengthen their bonds within the business community and when the need for funding arises TechHub helps find investors. They have three membership plans for startups to choose from.
Shaun’s trip began in Lahore where he met with the Plan 9 incubatees, Monis Rehman of Rozee.pk. On the final leg of his journey he visited NUST and concluded by meeting up with entrepreneurs in Islamabad.
Entrepreneurs such as Raza Saeed of Pakwheels.com stated that the provision of TechHub’s co-working spaces would be a good addition to the startup scene in Pakistan.
TechHub for Pakistan in the works
The main objective of Shaun’s trip was to search for potential partners and sponsors and to determine the feasibility of establishing a TechHub co-working space facility in Pakistan.
I talked with Shaun and asked about his plans for this region:
Adam: How has your trip to Pakistan been so far?
Shaun: Pakistan has been an eye-opener, I never expected to see such a lively start-up community which is already quite developed. Plan9 for example is a fantastic initiative and can really help to pave the way for the startup culture in Pakistan.
So what brings you to Pakistan?
Shaun: My business partner Doug Ward and I are looking to set up our first Asian facility to twin with TechHub Manchester, and Pakistan seems to be the ideal location. Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world, it has a lot of talented engineers and already has some remarkable entrepreneurial success stories. We believe that in the future, Pakistan will become one of the tech centres of the world and we want to get in early and help you achieve that.
Why do you think now is the right moment though?
Shaun: Doug and I believe in getting in early. Being one of the first strong entrants offering shared working environments with all the benefits of establishing meaningful connections with the local business community, we feel we can really help Pakistani entrepreneurs.
So are you guys a non-profit?
Shaun: No, but our main purpose is not to simply go home rich and retire early. We want to bring about positive change in the any community that we are based in. Additionally Manchester has a strong Pakistani diaspora who also want to help lead the Pakistani startup scene. With their help we can act as a bridge between entrepreneurs in the UK and entrepreneurs and engineers in Pakistan.
What do you think the cost will be for an entrepreneur in this country who uses your co-working facilities?
Shaun: Generally our rates are extremely reasonable, given that we use sponsors to help subsidise a lot of the costs. For a residency membership in Lahore we would aim for a price range of PKR 7,000 to 10,000 (US$70 to $100) per month, but that is completely dependent on how much funding we can raise.
That sounds very reasonable. How can local entrepreneurs and sponsors get in touch with you at this early stage?
Shaun: They can always email me for information on how to join us in our attempt to further consolidate Pakistan’s entrepreneurial base. We are currently conducting a survey in which we are asking all Pakistani entrepreneurs to participate. We implore all members of the local business community to be part of this survey as it will help establish the requirements of their dynamic and vibrant working environment.