By: Amal Hashim – Social Development and Policy Major 2020
But is it even possible?
According to the panelists, Ms. Jehan Ara of the Nest I/O, Suleyman Shahid faculty advisor from LUMS University for Technology for People Initiative, and Muneeb Maayr, CEO of Bykea and Co-Founder of Daraz.pk, and Imran Moinuddin, CEO of Nexdegree, Dr. Suleman Shahid, at Habib University’s SSE Public Lecture Series talk “Replicating Silicon Valley in the Indus Valley, it is not.
However, creating another technological and business hub within Pakistan keeping in mind all its unique factors is possible sometime in the future. In fact its foundations are being laid currently, according to Ms. Jehan Ara, and an awareness of having a sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystem is gradually rising.
And yet there remain some key obstacles in the creation of another Silicon Valley, particularly in the Pakistani context, some of which are essential for its very foundation one of which is the lack of investor capital and willingness to take risks with their investments. The problem with this mainly arises due to a certain attitude and perspective due to which any failures in the initial trial period is seen not as a stepping stone or data that will help in the process of gaining something valuable but rather as the end of that particular start up.
Another aspect of the problem arising due to a certain negative attitude is the fact that Pakistanis – students, budding entrepreneurs, experiences business(wo)men – are generally reluctant to share their ideas for new products or services, according to Imran Moinuddin. Ms. Jehan Ara specifically mentioned that this attitude is detrimental to everyone around since if the idea isn’t being shared or talked about it isn’t getting the hype it needs from the consumer end which also leads to lower investment in the project.
This is very different from the Silicon Valley where talent is constantly being scouted and successful entrepreneurs and business(wo)men are willing to share their own personal experiences and looking for others to mentor. The wide variety of talent of fresh graduates from the universities neighboring the Silicon Valley allows companies to not only employ these people but also mentor to them to start their own businesses and companies.
However, in Pakistan there is the constant problem of a severe lack of human capital and talented human capital. Pakistanis much prefer going to countries which appreciate their talents and hard-work and where they can get ahead. It also helps if the students and fresh graduates have a diverse educational background since they can think outside the box more easily. Currently Habib University is the only Liberal Arts University in Pakistan which makes sure students of every major get a well-rounded education and know a little bit of politics as well as science, which is imperative for the successful building up of an entrepreneurial ecosystem in the country.