Entrepreneurship isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. And when we talk of Pakistan, becoming an entrepreneur is akin to taking part in a huge gamble. We’re not being pessimistic, instead we’re speaking as a matter of fact since state support for startups is barely visible. Only two provincial governments (KP and Punjab) have taken noteworthy initiatives to incubate startups and win the hearts and minds of budding entrepreneurs.
A list of the notable startup incubators in Pakistan is as follows:-
• The Nest I/O
• Invest2Innovate (i2i)
• LUMS Centre for Entrepreneurship
• Microsoft Innovation Centre
• Technology Incubation Centre
• Founder Institute
• Tech Incubator
• WeCreate Pakistan
• The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) Pakistan Chapters
Keeping the prevailing circumstances of Pakistan in perspective, we’ve put together a list of 5 key leadership qualities which every Pakistani entrepreneur should especially possess.
1. Strategic Vision
Little drops of water do have the tendency to form oceans. Entrepreneurs in Pakistan should have a long-term set of goals in mind before taking steps towards their realization. Without a well-defined objective in view, all short-term efforts will prove futile. There have been cases in which local startups died down within a few months or even weeks of graduation because they failed to build a concrete business model which could evolve with time to realize future goals. Hence, a Pakistani entrepreneur should be well aware that the time and resources he has are extremely precious and he should utilize them well, in the right direction.
2. Persistent Motivation
Amidst massive problems such as an uncertain law and order situation, power loadshedding and near zero state support, it is up to the Team Lead/Project Head of an incubating startup to keep themselves motivated and also their colleagues. The mark of a true leader is to light a candle in the darkness and help those following him to focus on the illuminated paths. Whichever calamity befalls the Pakistani entrepreneur’s personal or professional life (God forbid), they must keep the torch burning. This is where mentorship can come in handy. It is always good to invite successful Pakistani entrepreneurs to deliver motivational talks and boost the morale of those who aspire to be future trendsetters themselves.
3. Pioneering Spirit
Hundreds of local startups became full-fledged, self-sustaining businesses over the course of time. When we analyze their journey to success, the pattern we notice is that of “innovation”. Startup founders should think of original ideas so they can become “pioneers” of their trade. In Pakistan, this can become a golden opportunity since there aren’t many original, or we should say, unconventional ideas popping around. Many of the existing business models and concepts are fashioned around modified setups already operating successfully in the West.
4. Timely Decision-making
Every Tom, Dick and Harry can take decisions but it’s the timing that counts. When confronted with a list of opportunities available at their disposal, leaders running startup projects think carefully about the risks involved and their consequences, but decide their course of action within a specified time frame. They are, and always should, be aware of the immense responsibilities they have when utilizing funds during incubation. Furthermore, major decisions such as those involving takeovers or partnerships shape client confidence on their brand.
Emerging entrepreneurs in Pakistan who successfully graduate from incubators should focus on expanding their network within the country instead of eyeing overseas markets. There is a dearth of untapped potential in Pakistan waiting to be exploited. Leaders who struggled hard to reach the top should try to ease the process for less-experienced colleagues and give them opportunities to pursue promising careers in local companies. This will not only expand the industry but also boost foreign confidence in Pakistani talent.
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