The National Science & Technology Park (NSTP) has made significant progress in the second quarter of 2023 in supporting startups and fostering innovation in Pakistan. Through flagship programs like Hatch 8 and the Rising Stars Startup Competition (RSSC), NSTP has provided opportunities for entrepreneurs to showcase their ideas, learn from experts, and connect with investors. This update highlights some of the key achievements and initiatives of NSTP in the second quarter, demonstrating its leadership and vision in driving entrepreneurship forward.
Rising Stars Startup Competition Wrapped Up
The Rising Stars Startup Competition, funded by the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, progressed into its second phase. Esteemed judges assessed participants’ pitches and provided valuable insights and feedback. The collaboration with Draper University, a renowned institution for entrepreneurship education, provided training and mentorship to participating startups, empowering them with the skills needed for success. The U.S. Embassy played a pivotal role in supporting the Rising Stars Startup Competition and other programs at NSTP, fostering an inclusive and vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Under the Rising Stars Startup Competition, NSTP provided comprehensive training and mentorship to startup founders. Esteemed experts and industry leaders, including Silicon Valley experts from Draper University, guided participants in refining their business models, financial management skills, and pitching abilities. The regional stages of the competition allowed startup founders to visit prominent incubators, innovation hubs, and national incubation centers, fostering practical insights, inspiration, and networking opportunities.
The highly anticipated Grand Finale, held at NUST in Islamabad, showcased exceptional teams from different regions competing for prestigious awards and a generous prize pool of over PKR 6,000,000. The event highlighted outstanding performers and celebrated innovative projects and solutions. Notable dignitaries, including Andrew Schofer, Deputy Chief of Mission, Pakistan, attended the Grand Finale, emphasizing the U.S. Embassy’s commitment to fostering entrepreneurship in Pakistan. Throughout the competition, NSTP emphasized inclusivity and diversity, empowering women, and ethnic and religious minorities within the entrepreneurial sector.
TechOne NUST Incubator’s Success
TechOne NUST Incubator, formerly known as TIC, achieved recognition as Pakistan’s premier incubation ecosystem by HEC Pakistan, standing tall as the top-ranked incubation center in the country. With exceptional human resources, effective incubation processes, and unwavering support, TechOne NUST Incubator has propelled startups to remarkable heights, raising over PKR 10 billion and attracting investments from renowned investors like Tim Draper. The incubator’s impact is undeniable, with the graduation of over 150+ successful startups and substantial funding from The World Bank, contributing to Pakistan’s startup landscape.
NSTP Startup Achievements and Showcases
During the second quarter, several NSTP startups achieved significant milestones and showcased their innovative ideas, solidifying their presence in the entrepreneurial landscape. The following highlights stand out:
- InLights, a startup from Hatch8’s third cohort, garnered immense recognition for their automated traffic signal system. Their exceptional solution earned them the prestigious PKR 1 million prize at the Prime Minister’s National Innovation Award. This achievement reflects the ingenuity of the InLights team and highlights NSTP’s commitment to nurturing and supporting groundbreaking ideas.
- NSTP startups BILTY and VisionRD seized the opportunity to showcase their pioneering concepts to the Paklaunch.com Investor Network, aiming to secure investment opportunities and propel their growth. BILTY aims to revolutionize the logistics industry by bridging the supply and demand of freight movement in Pakistan. VisionRD offers an AI-based inspection tool that automates quality inspections in the automobile and part manufacturing sector, streamlining processes and ensuring precision.
- Aawaz AI Tech, founded by Dr. Seemab Latif from NUST, emerged victorious in the Asian Development Bank (ADB)’s global challenge, securing a $50,000 seed grant for solution development. Collaborating with ADB AI Labs and WFX-Manila, Aawaz AI Tech aims to support gender-inclusive lending decisions in partnering financial institutions, fostering greater financial inclusion for women-led businesses.
- Xylexa, Inc., a healthtech firm based at NSTP, showcased its innovative XyCAD technology at the London Tech Week 2023. The event provided an exciting platform for Xylexa, Inc. to engage with leading experts in technology and global health. The startup received an excellent response from attendees, sparking inspiring conversations about the responsible and equitable utilization of AI as a powerful tool in healthcare. Xylexa, Inc. also received recognition as one of the top companies reshaping the radiology space, affirming its commitment to innovation in transforming medical imaging technologies.
Partnerships and Collaborations
Under NSTP’s flagship Rising Stars Startup Competition, NSTP actively collaborated with various organizations to foster innovation and provide valuable resources to entrepreneurs. The partnership with Draper University enabled the training and mentorship of startup founders, leveraging the expertise of Silicon Valley experts. Additionally, NSTP’s collaboration with the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan played a vital role in cultivating a vibrant ecosystem of entrepreneurship. Together, these joint efforts aimed to empower young entrepreneurs, foster inclusivity, and create job creators and change-makers in Pakistan.
The second quarter of 2023 witnessed dynamic progress within NSTP and the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Pakistan. The Rising Stars Startup Competition, along with the achievements of NSTP startups, training sessions, partnerships, and other initiatives, reflects NSTP’s commitment to fostering innovation, empowering entrepreneurs, and creating a vibrant and inclusive entrepreneurial landscape in Pakistan.