Quarterly Newsletter

April - June 2018

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Upcoming Events

One-day Workshop for Program Managers of Student Advancement Fund Endowment – September 26th, 2018

Higher Education Commission and PEP Foundation are pleased to hold an exclusive workshop on University Fundraising on Wednesday, September 26, 2018 at HEC in Islamabad. This workshop is open to Selected Vice Chancellors and Directors of the University Student Advancement Fund Endowments (SAFEs) only. The workshop will be followed by a weeklong fundraising campaign at all participating Universities and will culminate in an award ceremony.  Awards will include

  • Best/most innovative fundraising strategy

  • Highest overall amount raised

  • Highest number of donors in the fundraising drive

  • Highest amount raised by an alumni association

One-day Workshop for Student Start up Business Centers – September 27th, 2018

HEC and PEP Foundation are pleased to hold an exclusive workshop on operating a Start-Up Business Centre on Thursday, September 27, 2018 at HEC in Islamabad This workshop is on open to Selected Vice Chancellors and Directors of the University Student Start-Up Business Centers (SSBCs) only. The workshop will be followed by a competition of start-ups of all participating universities and the best three start-ups will be invited to pitch at the Investors Conference of the PEP Foundation’s Impact Network in Islamabad in December. 


Launch of Impact Network

A unique collaboration between Incubation Centers, Social Entrepreneurship Support Organizations, Universities, Public Sector, Donors and Investors, called the Impact Network was launched in Islamabad. The Impact Network will focus on stimulating, supporting and scaling critical social innovations. Over 150 senior officials from both the public and private sectors attended the launch event. The event was designed to allow the exchange of ideas and insights among thought leaders and policy makers. Founder and Chairman PEP Foundation Dr. Khalid Iqbal inaugurated the launch event.

Ms. Shahida Saleem, Team Lead for the Impact Network elaborated upon the vision behind setting up the Impact Network. She stressed upon the need for collaboration between key stakeholders to address Pakistan’s most pressing developmental challenges. The participants discussed how social innovations can be supported so that they can actually affect millions of people across Pakistan. The discussions were structured around 5 targeted sectors; education, health, agriculture, water and energy. In addition, there were two high level closed discussion groups around Blended finance and Implication of Future technologies on SDG’s.

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Individual Program Update

Student Advancement Fund Endowment (SAFE) : Through this initiative ; PEP Foundation aims to provide best educational opportunities to the less privileged and brilliant youth of Pakistan and support bright and financially deserving students who want to pursue higher education. PEP Foundation provides the initial seed money to establish SAFEs, with technical assistance for further university fundraising. PEP Foundation has established SAFE in 41 universities till date and under this initiative 42 scholarships have been awarded overall. Some of the universities have remarkably increased the funds. Lahore College of Women University has increased the fund by 70% per year and Quaid e Azam University; Islamabad has increased its fund by 80% per year. PEP Foundation believes that more universities will escalate the capital and benefit the large number of underprivileged and bright students.

Student Start–up Business Centers (SSBC): Student Start up Business centers (SSBC) s are established in 9 universities across Pakistan, to create enabling environment and improved enterprise culture for young entrepreneurs with sustainable start-up and growth. These Start-up Business Centers were founded with the support of Higher Education Commission and each university. Till date 40 start-ups are enrolled throughout the 9 SSBCs. One of the startups named OVue Tech enrolled at Mehran University of Engineering and Technology; Jamshoro was shortlisted for jazzxlr8 rapid pitch competition at NIC in May 2018.

Participants attending workshop at SALU, Khairpiur

Participants attending workshop at SALU, Khairpiur

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Partner Update

SSBC–SALU organized several workshops, national and international online lecture program to promote the enthusiasm about entrepreneurship. One of the startup- The Institute of English Language and IT, incubated at Shah Abdul Latif University, Khairpur has launched in the market. The main purpose and target of this startup is to fill the gap of Teaching English Language according to the need of the time. Students learn at different pace. Individual technology gives each student the opportunity to work at his/her own pace in a relaxed setting without competing with others in the class. Find out more about this startup here.

The Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center, Mehran University of Engineering and Technology, Jamshoro (IEC-MUET) participated at Pakistan's biggest Startup Event, 'Momentum Pakistan' at Karachi Expo Center. It is the first time that there were startups from interior Sindh. 2 SSBC ‘s Startups from IEC, Mehran University of Engineering & Technology, Jamshoro were represented.


An interview with
Dr. Zulfiqar ali Umrani from Mehran University of Engineering and Technology, Jamshoro

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Can you please introduce yourself? 
I am Dr. Zulfiqar Ali Umrani; heading the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre at Mehran University of Engineering and Technology, Jamshoro since 3 years.
Can you share some milestones that you have achieved so far?
To establish the SSBC is itself quite a meticulous task. We started from scratch and we really wanted to execute this new idea with a bang. We developed the policy, guidelines and procedures. Last year, we approached Sindh government and received grant of 40 million PKR for one of a social enterprise enrolled in our SSBC. 
Research Incubators in Public Sector Universities (RINU) is also initiated in November 2017 with the collaboration of Information Science and Technology department, Government of Sindh to attain UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is also perpetual in nature under which we will incubate 15 university based startups each year, provide them fully equipped office and funding up to 600,000 PKR. We are seeking partnerships and signing MoUs to create linkages. Also we are reaching out to national and international incubation centers to learn the best practices.

You just mentioned some International Incubation Centers, what is it about? 
Recently we went to Turkey and visit Istanbul Technical University (ITU) that is one of the oldest universities in the world. We visited the technology park over there and learned a lot from them. We met ITU’s incubation center team. And I would like to share that the head of the ITU’s incubation Centre will be coming to Pakistan this year.
Also, we visited Qatar and went to Science and Technology Park in Doha. We discussed different avenues on collaborative areas with its team. They also promised to help to start Science and Technology Park here in Pakistan.
In you point of view what are the main challenges young startups face today? 
There are many but to me there are actually three major challenges that they are facing. One is the mindset. A young student is always in a constant pressure to get a reputable job either in public or private sector. They do not take entrepreneurship as a career rather they take it as a choice. Second, we need to design the support system to young start ups. There is yet to develop the eco system comparable to Europe,US and other emerging markets. Third, the applied or action research should be encouraged and promoted in universities to benefit the social enterprise. Action research can foster greater collaboration between higher education and the social entrepreneurship movement to advance a more just and sustainable world.

In a very short span of time you have achieved a lot. What do you think you have done differently?
Well, Thank you for the appreciation. I think the credit goes to the Vice Chancellor as he has given us the freedom and a chance to apply what ever we have learned from our experiences. Secondly, all of us are young so the enthusiasm played a key role in making this center a success. Let me tell you that a lot of research is involved what are we doing it today.
What were the biggest challenges when you started this SSBC? How did you overcome?
Well, it was a learning process for all of us. One of the biggest challenges was to get the students enrolled in the center. Since our university is an engineering university; so students, parents and teachers took a lot of time to understand what wonders an engineer can do in social enterprise. We had to really work hard on this.
What do you think one big change that needs to take place to create a more vibrant and viable entrepreneurial ecosystem in Pakistan?  
Open mindedness and behavior change from students, teachers and parents. At this stage we should give an opportunity to the students to fail. Students should be encouraged to share their ideas; Parents need to support them and teachers should mentor the students and help them to refine the idea.

What advice would you give to entrepreneurs trying to get their business off the ground? 
Do not afraid of being failed. It is the right time to take a chance.