Startup Incubators
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Momina Rizwan


With entrepreneurial spirit getting stronger and more and more startups being conceived on daily basis it is not surprising many of them are being led to failure without proper guidance. Sensing the gap between university education and the real world applications of it, there is a need for a middle tier institutions where young aspiring entrepreneurs equipped with the skills need to be trained for the multitude of challenges of practical life that lie ahead of them.

The market is so highly competitive it is difficult to filter out the ideas with the potential to not only survive but also thrive. It is a matter of great interest of investors who are constantly on the lookout for great ideas and individuals. This has resulted in establishment of incubators and accelerators. Essentially incubators are organizations or platforms that are designed specifically for the purpose of accelerating growth and success rate of entrepreneurial ventures through providing mentoring as well as support. The business support could include anything from coaching, financial capital with easy return terms, physical space that is lower than market rates to networking connections in the industry.

Incubators are generally sponsored by private companies having interest in development of certain area , universities that aim to promote entrepreneurship or government sector having desire to promote new businesses. Interested startups usually need to apply to enroll themselves in programs offered by these platforms. Technology being the leading trend has many incubators whose sole focus is supporting tech-based businesses. Companies that start as newly hatched ideas can spend a time from a few months upto 2 years in incubators utilizing their space, resources and guidance. Accelerators on the other hand usually focus on a certain area and are intended to accelerate growth in already existing companies. Some provide business goals as a measure of how well the business is performing. However, incubators differ from each other in terms of the area they focus on.

Even though this idea is still quite new to the Pakistani market there are many organizations which have already made their mark through successful startup launches. Some notable names in the industry are government funded platforms like Plan9 & KPK Incubation Center or university led business incubators like The Foundation( by LUMS) , CED IBA (by IBA) , NUST Technology Incubation Center (by NUST) & The Business Incubation Center at COMSATS Institute of Technology. There are other privately led organizations like Invest to Innovate (i2i) , Cloud 9 Startups and some receiving funds from international universities or government/non-government organizations like The Nest.IO( funded partly by the U.S. State Department ) and MIT Enterprise of Pakistan.

Incubators screen potential candidates after reviewing different aspects of their work and since they have limited resources to be shared being selected in one of their programs can be takes as assign of potential success.

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