At present, the startup ecosystem of Pakistan seems to be quite unstable. Many big names such as Airlift, Keeptrucking and etc. have shut down their operations in the country mainly because of sustainability issues. This caused a lot of uncertainty and resulted in massive layoffs and unemployment.
Similarly, the startups incubated in different business incubators are following the same road map and they are super busy preparing their presentations. It seems that everyone is looking for funding and waiting for venture capitalists to help them start and grow. Their training at incubators is solely based on evaluating, creating an investor deck, presentations, and pitching to investors to acquire funding.
We are trying to implement global startup ecosystem in a country where youth can merely manage their pocket money let alone a fortune. On the other hand, the startup ecosystem in the west is laid on a firm grounding mainly because the average youngster is mature enough to manage an investment. Since they start to earn from the age of 15-16 alongside their studies. It is their culture, not ours. So we have to alter our startup policy according to our local needs. Before organizing any investor pitch competition, incubation centers should enable young entrepreneurs to start their businesses without money. Investment should not be the primary factor, that might scale up a startup but should never be the priority nor be the bases to shut down businesses.
There has to be a proper road map for startups to launch their businesses at a very small scale without any seed fund or investment. If they can equip themselves with stylish smart phones, expensive laptops, and cars then they definitely can sponsor their business ideas for soft launches.
Incubation centers should foster and nourish young minds to exclusively focus on their business models and create a sense of urgency to validate their products and services. Startup founders should also fight and work immensely hard to sell their ideas, only then they will have a riveted, strong, and firm foundation of their businesses. In this way, startups will be able to develop their products, make sales which will ultimately bring revenues. Think big. Start small.
Business incubators should not only teach startup founders to sell their equities. Instead, they should also provide them enabling environment where they can raise funds through selling their own products and services and to create self sustainable business models.