The National Science and Technology Park (NSTP) has made significant progress during the first quarter of 2023 in supporting startups and fostering innovation in Pakistan. This Innovation Update highlights some of NSTP’s flagship programs and activities, including Hatch 8, the Rising Stars Startup Competition (RSSC), talks, conferences, and workshops.
Hatch 8: Empowering Startups
Hatch 8, NSTP’s flagship program, continues to provide pre-incubation support to startups. Cohort 3 successfully concluded, and Cohort 4 has been initiated, providing startups with fully enabled working spaces, legal assistance, mentorship, coaching, networking opportunities, industry relations, investment and funding support, grants, and international association programs. The program aims to provide a nurturing environment for startups to thrive and succeed.
RSSC: Empowering Women and Minorities
The Rising Stars Startup Competition (RSSC), launched by NSTP and the US Embassy, completed its first phase, empowering women, and minorities in Pakistan. The competition conducted training, workshops, and mentorship sessions for participants from diverse demographics, including rural and religious minorities. The second phase will involve advanced training sessions with Draper University, providing participants with guidance and support on technologies of the future, fundraising, leadership, and designing a unicorn.
Talks, Conferences, and Workshops: Connecting and Educating
NSTP organized talks, conferences, and workshops for its residents and students, including the Innovation Inside sessions for over 500 students from different universities and schools.
The NSTP Talks featured prominent speakers discussing various topics ranging from getting connected with investors to building diverse and inclusive cultures. In Episode 6 of NSTP Talks, Silicon Valley veterans shared their insights on how to get connected with investors in the valley. The seventh episode featured Maxine Cunningham, CEO & Founder of Pick My Brain, who discussed the limitations and potential drawbacks of mentorship. In the eighth episode, Dr. Rassheedah provided valuable insights and practical strategies on how to lead with purpose, build diverse and inclusive cultures, and create lasting impact.
NSTP also organized a conference featuring Professor Chris Carr, who discussed the role of academic institutions in fostering an entrepreneurial mindset, with a focus on academic policies and leadership. These events provide a platform for entrepreneurs, researchers, and innovators to network, learn, and grow.
NSTP in the Media: Making Headlines
NSTP was featured in mainstream media, with the Pro-Rector RIC, Dr. Rizwan Riaz, delivering a keynote address and participating in a panel discussion at Future Fest 2023. He was also invited to speak on a podcast. The NSTP was also featured on Aaj News for its research and advances in science and entrepreneurship.
NSTP Residents and Startups: Making Strides
NSTP residents and startups have been making significant strides, with Chattha Bio Care and InLights winning prizes at the “Future Builders Contest” organized under the Prime Minister’s Youth Programme. EKKO, the wave-based therapeutic device developed to treat neurological disorders in children, has won the Global Winner title at the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM)’s “Better World Project Competition,” showcasing Pakistani innovation on the global stage, and is currently housed at the NSTP as a testament to NUST’s commitment to fostering innovation and entrepreneurship.
Partnerships and Collaboration
The NSTP has also been making strides in promoting innovation and entrepreneurship in Pakistan through various partnerships and collaborations. In a historic move, the groundbreaking of Pakistan’s first 5G Innovation Lab took place at NUST in partnership with Jazz last month, paving the way for future technological advancements in the country. Additionally, NSTP signed an MOA with OPEN Silicon Valley to support and promote the growth of Pakistani startups at a global level. To further facilitate innovation, NSTP partnered with Digirocx Private Limited to establish a state-of-the-art Tier-3 Data Center at NUST H-12 Campus. Recently, Cisco visited NUST and NSTP to strengthen ties and develop a roadmap for a progressive partnership. In another partnership, PriceOye joined hands with Samsung Pakistan as their official partner for online business. Moreover, Arçelik Global established the Global Research & Development Centre at NUST, Islamabad, as part of efforts to promote innovation-driven economic development in Pakistan. Lastly, NSTP and WBAF will collaborate for financial and digital inclusion in Pakistan, providing benefits to co-founders of startup ventures and SMEs through the WBAF Financial Inclusion Center. These partnerships and collaborations are a testament to NSTP’s commitment to fostering a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in Pakistan.
NSTP Members Shine with Awards and Achievements:
Mr. Yaruq Nadeem, who led Innovation & Partnerships at the National Science and Technology Park, was named the national winner of the 2023 Study in UK Alumni Award. Meanwhile, Dr. Salman Raza Naqvi, Director of NSTP and Tenured Associate Professor at NUST, was recognized as one of Pakistan’s top five researchers in Chemical Engineering with 159 publications and 3239 total citations. These accolades showcase the outstanding talent and contributions of NSTP’s members to their respective fields.
Conclusion: Empowering Innovation
NSTP’s efforts in supporting startups and fostering innovation in Pakistan have been fruitful during the first quarter of 2023. With its flagship programs, activities, and partnerships, NSTP has created a nurturing environment where businesses can thrive and make their mark in the world. Going forward, NSTP is committed to continuing its mission of empowering startups, entrepreneurs, and innovators, catalyzing the growth of the Pakistani startup ecosystem and driving economic development in the country. With passion, dedication, and hard work, we can create a better future for all.