PASHA organized an event, Launchpad 2013 this year in Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi. Now, they’re also planning to hold one in Peshawar. I attended as an observer in their Karachi event and thoroughly enjoyed how people came to pitch their start-up and social innovation ideas to the forum. The format of the event is a mix of initial screening format used by VCs or angel investors with a pinch of flavor of the famous ABC channel program, Shark Tank. People/teams (22 in all) came over for a 5-minute open-format for presentation their pitches. The good points of the event were:
- It provided an opportunity for the budding entrepreneurs to interact with the more experienced businesspeople and get a critical review of their idea, start-up or social innovation approach.
- This created a platform for investors to get investment propositions in worthwhile projects.
- The program facilitated the entrepreneurs need for connections to hone their initial business ideas.
I noticed a couple of things that could improve this event:
- First, these events should be covered through a Google Hangout network – through this a lot more people can see the speakers, meet and advise them later on.
- Second, they should allow the attendees to ask questions. The only people who could ask questions were judges; and expanding this to allow the attendees to ask questions as well could be great. One way of making it possible in the short available time is to have a live link where the attendees can send in their questions letting the moderator decide and play an active role in questions selection, if something worthwhile is asked.
- Third, they should have a place where all the business ideas and the contact details of the presenters is put up, so that if someone wants to contact them later on, they can.
- Fourth, they should contact people outside of the IT industry to come over – people who are savvy investors and can really vouch projects through effective funding and mentoring.
- Fifth, they should link other communities and companies that promote entrepreneurship in the country and connect these to this event. It’s a great initiative by PASHA but it doesn’t have to remain that way. It’s better to connect to others who share the similar purpose of promoting entrepreneurship in Pakistan.
- Finally, PASHA should get in touch with several international incubators, investors, VCs, angel investors and other communities and link them up to make it a bigger event.
I believe these kind of events are making an effort in the right direction and doing something much-needed for the country, so this is commendable. Kudos to the organizers. I would also congratulate the judges who took the time to come over to help with the cause. All I’m trying to say here is that if they’re doing a good thing in the first place, why don’t make an effort to make it count on a bigger level.