Startup Weekends play a crucial role in the development of new business ideas and the provision of early support that is required for them to survive into businesses. Startup Weekends have been happening all over the world, and all over Pakistan, and the model of a 54-hour process is a tried and tested one that works.
Islamabad Startup Weekend this year has been referred to as “the best Startup event of 2014 we have witnessed so far” by TechJuice. Islamabad Startup Weekend is a platform for bringing together people with innovative ideas and entrepreneurial interest to form teams and work on projects, which they then present to a panel of judges.
It follows the model of global startup weekends that have been happening since 2007, being “a global network of passionate leaders and entrepreneurs on a mission to inspire, educate, and empower individuals, teams and communities,” where events are held to “share ideas, form teams, and launch startups.”
What Happens At Islamabad Startup Weekend…
Is written about everywhere. It’s a great venue for anyone with a great new idea to get noticed. The team behind Islamabad Startup Weekend has organised the event in a way that all the registered participants get their chance to wow the crowd, starting with a sixty second pitch to outline the basic premise of their idea.
After this, people interested in working on these ideas form into teams and spend the weekend working on their product. During this time, they receive mentorship, guidance and speeches from experienced professionals who are there to guide them through the process and facilitate the teams with whatever input and advice they need.
At the 2014 Islamabad Startup Weekend earlier this year, there was a marked focus on the need for young people to create their own opportunities through the startup medium. By focusing on their own creativity and drive, they can find an alternative to the traditional job market with its lack of employment opportunities. As Badar Khushnood was quoted as saying by TechJuice, “Changing the mindset of the youngsters from Job seeking to Job creation in Pakistan is very important.”
The 36 ideas that were pitched at the start of the weekend got whittled down to 17 and then seven were named as being the best. These were: AirAds, Interactive Walkthrough, Verify For You, Toys vs Games, GSM Doorbell, Cloud POS and R-Fusion.
Many prominent leaders of the IT industry were at the event including Syed Ahmad (DPL), Owais Anjum (CricOut), Usama Shahid Khan (MeriTaleem), Jehan Ara, Dr. Shoab A. Khan, Azhar Rizvi, Dr. Zartash Uzmi, Dr. Sohaib Khan, Badar Khushnood, Shahid Yusuf and Farrukh Malik (CEO, Discretelogix).
The Team Behind Islamabad Startup Weekend
There is a team of motivated and entrepreneurial-minded individuals working behind the scenes to organize and establish Islamabad Startup Weekend. These include: Khurram Shahzad, Aamir Sohail, Jamal Mansoor, Arsalan Vardag, Zainab Khaliq, Waleed Zeb Khan, Ahmad Khursheed, Usama Tauqeer, and Shanza Alam.
Aamir Sohail explained his interest and how he got involved in this Startup Weekend: “I came to know about Starup Weekend back in 2010 through Copenhagen Startup Weekend, I liked the concept. I always wanted to do such kind of entrepreneurial activities in Pakistan. I came across Kim through Zeeshan and we had a meeting to organize Startup Weekend in Islamabad. I simply said yes! lets do it. Now I am approaching companies and individuals to make them part of this event.”
This interest resonated through the rest of the team, and eventually led to other people getting involved, including not just the organizers but also mentors and speakers for the event.
One of the speakers, Ather Nawaz (@athernawaz), an experienced professional from this field, said about his own motivation to get involved with Islamabad Startup Weekend: “I was initially part of brainstorming discussions… to do something of entrepreneurial nature in Pakistan. Due to my grooming and undergraduate studies in Pakistan, I know for a fact that there are lot of inquisitive minds with great potential. They just need a right platform to make things happen. It’s all about time and successful event is on its way.”
In case you missed the last Islamabad Startup Weekend, there is no need to fret since there will be others. In order to get information about future Islamabad Startup Weekend events, and how to register and enter, get in touch with organizers using contact details below.