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NIC Lahore brings Stanford’s Spark programme to Pakistan


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KARACHI: Continuing its mission to empower, enable and facilitate the next generation of problem solvers in Pakistan, the National Incubation Center (NIC) Lahore at LUMS is collaborating with Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business to launch its Spark programme for Pakistani entrepreneurs, a statement said.

An offering of Stanford SEED, this four-month programme is for early stage entrepreneurs in traction or growth stage and seeks to empower them with practical tools to refine and develop their businesses through an action-based curriculum, networking opportunities with peers, one-on-one mentorship, and live expert-sessions.

The applicants to the Spark programme must meet stringent criteria for entry: they must be working full-time on an incorporated venture; have a minimum viable product or a service with revenues and/or financial transactions related to the business; have a team, website, and professional social media presence; and be proficient in using digital tools and comfortable with e-learning, it said.

Saleem Ahmad, chairman of NIC Lahore and Quetta, said: “For Pakistan to realise its youth dividend, we must upskill to the highest global standards. Our youth has abundant potential and just need our help in empowering them with skills, access, and inspiration. This is exactly what we aim for at NIC LUMS and our collaboration with Stanford is yet another way in which we’re realising our mission and enabling world-class resources for our aspiring entrepreneurs.”

The collaboration with Stanford University augments NICL’s goal to incubate a greater percentage of businesses that address a large commercial opportunity and attract significant investment capital.

This is achieved through a careful and competitive selection of startups by members of NICL’s Foundation Council and Advisory Board, comprising successful entrepreneurs who have themselves raised significant capital for growth, and investors who are currently active in the venture capital space in Pakistan.

The cohort is immersed in a rigorous, free-of-charge programme delivered by the esteemed LUMS faculty and international technical experts; bespoke trainings and experiential workshops; a speaker series dedicated to giving startups direct access to highly successful entrepreneurs; and mentorship by local and international industry leaders who collectively provide more than 100 hours of one-on-one guidance.

The programme culminates at an Investor Summit, where top investors and industry experts interact with the promising startups.

The center is geared to host its upcoming Investor Summit on August 28 and 29, and is initiating its next cohort of entrepreneurs in September.


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