Startups in Pakistan are growing with the passage of time . With the increase in broadband users and with launch of 3G and 4G spectrum by Telecommunication Companies such as Telenor ,Zong , Ufone and 4G LTE by Warid , the urge for launching Startups has increased manifold as Entrepreneurship Degrees and Incubation services have been offered by Business institutes such as LUMS , IBA etc . Startups in Pakistan are growing at snail’s pace but their number is increasing day by day .
With venture capital backed Naseeb Networks ,the first Startup Backed by Venture Capital , Pakistani Entrepreneurs have started dreaming about the Reality of their Ideas is no far . With Plan9 by Punjab IT Board , Entrepreneurs from Punjab are availing the incubation services . Even , the startup are sent abroad for Summit .
There are Several Sectors in which you can field your startups but we are going to discuss the only five most booming and trending Startup Businesses to enter which are really booming in Pakistan . Though ,Pakistani Entrepreneurs are currently facing the incubation dearth or venture capital , yet several budding Entrepreneurs are starting up as Solo flight . The Following Startup Business fields are booming in Pakistan and have the highest rate of Return in terms of Investment .
1.Telecommunication & IT : Telecom has been the highest ranked Business to enter as Startup . With booming Telecom Business and over millions of Mobile phone users , Startups such as Telecom & mobile phone related Products such as SIMS , verification systems , 3G based Services , Mobile Content and Contact center related Products or Call Center Business are highly profitable for the Entrepreneurs to start in 2019 . Even banks can avail the services of IT& Telecom basted Startups and State art Call Center Outsourcing .
2. Mobile APP Development :With 3G users crossing 2 Million in Pakistan , the Mobile Operating Systems such as Blackberry , Windows , Android and IOS by Apple have flocked the Mobile phone Market and Pakistan has been the largest Market for Mobile Phone giants Nokia , Samsung ,HTC & Blackberry .The Andoid , IOS and Windows have thousands of APPs for various purposes . If you are Mobile Developer ,you can develop apps either paid or Free with ad Support to earn massive revenue from your apps . Android is Favourite Mobile OS followed by IOS by Apple , Blackberry and Desktop king Windows now powering Mobiles through tiny version of Windows Mobile .
3.Internet Business :You can run a internet Business such as Web Hosting and Domain Registration service if your Tech Expert . Web Hosting and Domain registration services such as BlueHost.vom, Name.com , Godaddy.com , Domain.com, Register.com, Dynadot.com globally where as Nexus.pk , HosterPk.com and UACommunication.com, pakhost.com locally in Pakistan offering Domain registration and web Hosting packages . You can Start offering web Hosting and Domain by becoming a reseller on cheaper rates and upgrading the Site with Private name servers at your domain so that people buying services may not assume that you are reselling the services .
4.Web Design and Development: With growing number of Internet user and 3G ,4G and 5G services ,the demand for Web Design and Development companies is growing rapidly . There are several web Design and Development companies but they are over crowded with orders to the extent that they take 1 to 3 months in development as well as Alpha & Beta Launch . Instead , you can offer quicker Development services and attract more customers . You only need three to Four Designers and Developers to open money streams for you and soon you would counted in established Businesses . You can offer we design and Development services to Web Hosting and Domain registration site , this will further your earning potential .
5.Online Store : Online Shopping is the growing in Pakistan by leaps and bounds with sites like Daraz.pk , Tcsconnect.com, libertybooks.com and shophive.com has already rocked the web with bursting profits and the online shopping trends are growing as 3G and 4G services along with broadband gaining popularity and their subscribers base is growing day by day . You can launch a store of range of Products .For instance, you can Sell books , mobile phones , cars , Electronics , mobile accessories ,Books , Perfumes , toys , garments (ladies and gents) ,Magazine Subscriptions, kitchen ware and Sports Goods .
These products are in strong demand . All you to do is to sign a contact with the suppliers ,Dealers , purchase the products on whole sale rates and resell with profit rates lower than retailers . You will need to have online bank accounts with net banking enabled for receiving payments , processing orders after confirmation and shipping the same to the Customer addresses . You can sign contracts with Courier and Shipping companies for Delivery and Return in cases of Customer complaints for breakage , fault or dislike .
Karachi-based digital bookkeeping startup, CreditBook raises $1.5 million in seed funding
The Karachi-based digital bookkeeping startup CreditBook, which is trying to ensure that tracking of transactions goes digital, has announced that it has raised US$1.5 million in seed funding from international and local investors.
Key investors included Pakistan’s BitRate Venture Capital, VentureSouq from the United Arab Emirates, US-based Better Tomorrow Ventures, Ratio Ventures, Quiet Capital, Toy Ventures, and i2i Ventures.
Established in June 2020 by Hasib Malik, Iman Jamall, and Hisham Adamjee, CreditBook strives to help microentrepreneurs digitalize and track their transactions.
CreditBook aims to utilize the funding to scale its user base and diversify its product offerings. As indicated by the startup, its registered client base grew 5x in the last six months to reach 500,000.
“Before the launch in June 2020, we had planned to use a mix of digital marketing and offline acquisition. But with lockdown restrictions, we pivoted to a purely digital strategy. We were surprised when we saw thousands of users come onto the platform in the first month with less than $1,000 in total spend,” Malik told Tech in Asia. Via TechinAsia
Pakistan Moves Closer to Train One Million Youth with Digital Skills
Karachi, Pakistan, February 05, 2021 ………Pakistan has a large labour force that stands among the top 10 largest labour forces in the world, and it’s growing day by day. To create adequate employment opportunities for them is a huge challenge. On the other hand, employers frequently keep saying that they are unable to find workers with the appropriate skills necessary for their businesses. This obviously shows that there is a mismatch between the demand and supply of skills.
The International Labor Organization (ILO) has shown that skills development can play a major role in the alleviation of poverty, when carefully planned and implemented in the context of the available and emerging employment and income-generation opportunities. This multiplies many folds when the skills are acquired in the digital spheres. It not only widens the work opportunities but also opens up avenues for entrepreneurial ventures as well.
Extreme Commerce, Pakistan’s largest and renowned E-Commerce capacity building platform has excelled in its mission of making Pakistan a hub of entrepreneurial opportunities. Under the guidance of Sunny Ali, thousands of aspiring individuals from Pakistan have successfully initiated global e-commerce businesses.
Extreme Commerce, Pakistan’s largest e-commerce skill development and the entrepreneurial platform has achieved yet another milestone with the expansion of 100+ skills training courses through the “Video Boot Camp (VBC).” The Video Boot Camp includes virtual sessions and videos encompassing around 100 essential e-commerce and digital skills required to excel in the spheres of online businesses. The Video Boot Camp training program is specifically tailored to facilitate the budding entrepreneurs and businessmen and freelancers.
According to Ali, “E-commerce has skyrocketed after the pandemic and is estimated to grow to a whopping $4.3 trillion within this year.” He further adds, “There is a huge potential for growth in eCommerce both domestic and international, and that is why Extreme Commerce has pledged to enable people to bring at least an additional $1 billion each year into the Pakistani economy through E-Commerce skills by 2025.”
The Video Boot Camp includes over a 100 plus income generating E-Commerce skills (income streams) which an entrepreneur needs to skyrocket their businesses. Some skills offered through the VBC include: Selling through Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) model, Virtual Assistant and FBA Freelancing, online store management of international and local E-Commerce marketplaces, bookkeeping account management services, digital and social media marketing, content writing and graphic designing, 3D designing & modelling, data science and analytics and more.
This initiative of Extreme Commerce will be immensely fruitful in helping their trainees become leading entrepreneurs of the country. Ali, contented with his vision states, “At Extreme Commerce, we offer a multitude of digital skills that are categorized into 100+ courses/income streams under the umbrella of Video Boot Camp (VBC 2021). These skills are pivotal to reducing unemployment and enhancing the capital of our country.” Sharing his focus and goals, he adds, “Skills that actually help you succeed as an online freelancer and even in the real-life environment plus increase your income thereby, are our prime focus right now.”
Earlier, Extreme Commerce and Mishal Pakistan, the Country Partner Institute of the World Economic Forum had signed a partnership to mainstream e-commerce in Pakistan, this includes capacity building initiatives for the media and industry players, including trainings, seminars and workshops.
The government of Pakistan has estimated digital skills global industry, often referred to as online outsourcing, is expected to generate gross service revenue between $15 billion and $25 billion in 2021.
Pakistan’s small businesses hit hard by COVID-19
Small businesses in Pakistan have been adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. The low demand at home, disruptions in supply chains, constraints in international trading, and expected prolonged lockdowns are now leading to severe cash flow problems, the inability to pay back debts and cancellation of orders from clients.
This rising uncertainty is gradually leading them to lay off employees which will have welfare implications. In some sectors where recovery is difficult to predict, small businesses have started planning for the worst: complete shutdown. This crisis could also imply a much bleaker outcome for the startup ecosystem in Pakistan.
The government has announced a SME relief package. The central bank has also come forward to relieve some of the funding and finance related concerns of private enterprises. Yet, many micro and small businesses do not understand how to apply or if they are eligible, to receive such assistance. There are others who argue that this one off relief may not be enough given that businesses are going to face depressed demand for a longer term. Pakistan’s past record of small businesses trying to access such fiscal packages is also not encouraging, partly because many such firms do not access formal banking channels for their needs or banks impose steep collateral requirements. Also, large segments of micro enterprises have the entire or some components of their businesses in the informal sector.
Federal and provincial governments have two issues to address now: how to ensure that small businesses are able to access and utilize existing government-provided assistance, and secondly, what more can be done to support private enterprise in these times.
A progressive fiscal policy and commitment to redistributive taxation is in line with the spirit of Riasat-e-Madinah to which Prime Minister Imran Khan often refers to. A sincere effort is required to reduce the burden of compliance costs faced by small firms- often filing returns several times during a year and to multiple tax bodies across the country.
Dr. Vaqar Ahmed
On the former, it would be best to start by addressing information and outreach gaps. As the problems for businesses are evolving in real-time, hence there remains a need for structured and more frequent public-private dialogue which should be inclusive enough to also give representation to women, youth-led firms and social enterprises. Such a dialogue will also give a sense to the government about how these businesses will get affected in the forthcoming rounds of Covid-19.
On the latter, I believe the forthcoming budget for the fiscal year 2020-21 should be seen as an opportunity not only to provide support to collapsing businesses but also to put in place economic incentives that encourage enterprises to consider resilient business models. A large part of this has to do with reimagining a better taxation regime.
A progressive fiscal policy and commitment to redistributive taxation is in line with the spirit of Riasat-e-Madinah to which Prime Minister Imran Khan often refers to. A sincere effort is required to reduce the burden of compliance costs faced by small firms – often filing returns several times during a year and to multiple tax bodies across the country. It is an opportunity now to automate, rationalize or eliminate several filing and payment layers in taxation to ultimately help reduce the cost of doing business.
After a lot of persuasion from local think tanks and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), federal and provincial governments agreed to establish a National Tax Council (NTC) to harmonize the general sales tax (GST).
Currently all provinces have a different structure of GST on services. There are also issues regarding definition of certain activities which the federal government may assume to be under its jurisdiction. Perhaps smaller firms have been the hardest hit due to the fragmented tax structure across the federation and it is time now to expedite NTC’s establishment and work in this direction. Even when the system is finally harmonized, the GST should not be collected by multiple windows at federal and provincial levels. A unified tax return and collection should be made possible through online mechanisms.
It will also be timely to think about which sectors should be motivated to scale up production and services in the face of this health-related emergency. Hospitals and private clinics operating at micro, small, and medium scale are primary candidates for cut in GST on services and even rationalization in direct tax rates. Firms producing personal protective equipment should also see a relief in taxes. The trade taxes faced by such producers or even hospitals importing from abroad need to be revisited. The agro-based and food processing enterprises will need similar help as their input supplies face price and supply volatilities.
Covid-19 also increased demand on several other sectors providing essential services. Our policy circles have rarely seen these sectors as important for the social and mental wellbeing of society until the pandemic struck. It will now be timely to recognize the services of firms (including schools) providing online services. The economic policy managers must think out of the box how best to leverage e-commerce in the battle against Covid-19.
– Dr. Vaqar Ahmed is an economist and former civil servant. He is author of ‘Pakistan’s Agenda for Economic Reforms’ published by the Oxford University Press. Twitter: @vaqarahmed
Courtesy : ArabNews
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