Pakistan is gaining global prominence for its array of innovative technology startups—fueled in large part by an abundance of government-sponsored initiatives and a tech-savvy consumer base.
The following are 10 reasons why Pakistan is becoming a global tech startup powerhouse in 2016 and beyond.
10. An entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Various programs and enterprise forums endorsed at the national level have spurred an entrepreneurial mindset among Pakistan’s workforce, especially in the technology sector.
9. The emergence of startup incubators and accelerators.
The rise in startups has largely been spurred by accelerators and incubators that provide working support to various groups—from students to small/medium business and corporations.
8. Support from the government.
More government support for startups has resulted in an almost-doubling of the number of new startups emerging year-on-year. A well-known incubator—Plan9—is a government initiative that provides working space and step-by-step guidance for select, high-potential businesses.
7. A rise in female entrepreneurship.
The female workforce—especially in the technology sector—has largely been ignored since the country’s inception. This mindset is gradually changing as a rise in female entrepreneurs and forward-thinking companies has led to more opportunities for women.
6. An emphasis on IT education and training.
Prominent national universities with cutting-edge science and technology programs—along with plethora of local/regional technology institutes—pump out fresh, highly-trained graduates every year.
5. A lack of jobs in other sectors.
Lack of development in other sectors has led to a dearth of jobs; as such, fresh graduates and candidates are increasingly relying on local startups to earn a living. For tech startup entrepreneurs, this means access to a highly-trained yet cost-effective workforce.
4. An abundance of local success stories.
Tech startup success stories have greatly contributed to the interest and rapid development of new ventures every year. For example, last year Pakistani restaurant delivery and reservation startup EatOye was acquired by FoodPanda and Forrun, on-demand delivery startup, was acquired by Arpatech.
3. Vast opportunities for new businesses in a developing country.
Pakistan is a developing country; as such, the country has still many untapped opportunities to be explored. Startups have at their disposal a sizable, underserved consumer market eager for new products and services.
2. A generation of tech-savvy, passionate youth.
The youth make up the largest part of Pakistan’s population and—unsurprisingly—are the most technical and enthusiastic about new technologies. This will result in a future of entrepreneurs with deep technical roots and engineering backgrounds.
1. An increase in investment activity around local tech startups.
The country at large is seeing a dramatic increase in tech startup investments as investors are recognizing the long term potential of such ventures. Additionally, Pakistan has one of the most liberal investment policies in the region.
In short, technology startups are playing an increasingly critical role in the country’s economic and social development. For more about Pakistan’s tech startup scene, check out these 15 leading Pakistani startups to watch for in 2016.