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Pakistan on the crossroad of unconventional investment trends

Amidst the post-pandemic scenario, the fast-paced, craftily competitive, exceedingly uncertain and globally challenging business scenario has dramatically raised the investment consciousness of stakeholders. Pakistan, being an emerging economy with the land of ample investment opportunities, must adapt to innovative ways of attracting, retaining and multiplying investments for its economic development. Furthermore, they lack the direction and pace necessary to sustain the long-term momentum of business growth.

It is evident that all thriving start-ups and high scale emerging businesses are being funded by foreign investors, hence the profits and financial benefits are reaped by international VC and other funds, either through equity financing or through direct acquisition of businesses.

The crucial part is that all these emerging entities and start-ups possess trendsetting and innovative ideas but do not have the resources to position themselves as scalable and sustainable businesses and thrive in the local markets. What is more, there is a lack of governmental and other support to help them grow strong roots in the local economy. This is the reason why more than 90% start-ups fail miserably and are forced to shut down their operations. Poor strategic intent, lack of incubation facilities and patronage of Financial Institutions in Pakistan is their doom.

Nonetheless, looking at larger ventures, the business acumen is so weak that the enterprises lack the understanding of maintaining proper documentation for their businesses, documentation that would enable them to raise capital or secure other forms of support.

The most recent example is the case of the ‘Kamiyaab Jawaan’ program – a large number of entrepreneurial ventures were declined from participating in the program solely because of the poor quality of submitted documentation, even though their business proposition was phenomenal. The same issue was highlighted in an interview for PTV by National Bank’s President, Mr. Arif Usmani, where he emphasized the importance of proper documentation and application quality when it comes to applying for a loan – knowledge is the key to a successful outcome. To tackle this common issue in our society, his team arranged training sessions in Multan, training individuals on how to process business information and teaching them efficient methods of applying for a loan. We hope that Mr. Usmani and his team will work on introducing a similar initiative under the ‘Kamiyaab Jawaan’ program, teaching startups how to prepare adequate documentation and apply for funding – a move that would accelerate the growth of the startup sector and create enormous benefits for the Pakistani economy.

However, the dilemma still lies in the business scalability of startups, a problem which is causing long-term financial and management issues, forcing smaller businesses to be either acquired by international corporations, exiting the market, or liquidate their assets – leading to business closure.

The dream of making Pakistan a regional and international tech-hub, something which would revolutionize our business sector, create resources and jobs, demands strong three-tier support and intervention from the government, the local business community and educational institutions. It requires the establishment of more and more incubation centers for business facilitation and training – the private and government sector are playing the key role in economic uplift and social empowerment in Pakistan.

The government must establish initiatives encouraging an entrepreneurial culture in the country, furthermore kickstarting a business community support to guide startups through the business process, while the educational institutions focus on knowledge fundamentals, enabling our youth to build the most competitive tech talent hub in the world.

A national collaborative drive is required to promote, attract, encourage, equip and train the incoming pool of technically competitive generation of professionals and help them get integrated within the entrepreneurial culture. All stakeholders in the economic ecosystem need to work together and devise a national strategy to align the technical minds towards the path of national prosperity and uplift them with unconventional means of investments. We, at Grow Online (GO), stand committed to serve the nation by not only providing business facilitation to empower our young as well as classic retail businesses but to provide a mobile-first approach for showcasing their unique products and services globally with the most cost-competitive means. Our mobile first app marketplace, namely GoMobishop, offers a lifetime opportunity to Pakistani entrepreneurs to pitch their product within Pakistan and abroad, contributing to the socio-economic development direly needed by our country during these struggling times.

We must institutionalize and optimize the entire process of business creation in Pakistan and focus on supporting ventures through all stages of their growth – from incubation to high scale sustainable enterprises. By utilizing digital enablement to channelize our efforts and investments towards Pakistan’s economic development, we can meet the world expectations foreseeing Pakistan as the next tech hub in the world and build a strong and thriving economy.

Zeeshan N. Ahmed

Founder – Grow Online Inc.
[email protected]
/zeeshanniaz

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