Lahore, PB: Ali Murtaza, head of design at Ideate Innovation, led a training session for the leaders of business incubation centers (BICs) hosted by Invest2Innovate (i2i). Hosted at Daftarkhwan Vogue, the topic of the training session was research essentials and was led by Ali attended by higher management of BICs across Punjab, Sindh, and Balochistan including Director BICs, Prof. Dr. Mubashir Mehdi. The organizers i2i projected a widespread positive impact on research practices among start-ups in Pakistan via the BICs operating at major public universities within Pakistan.
The Business Incubation Centers program is an initiative of the Higher Education Commission Pakistan through which they facilitate researchers and young entrepreneurs. The BICs are formed at major public universities across Pakistan including Government College University (Lahore), NED University (Karachi), BUITEMS (Quetta),University of Agriculture (Faisalabad), University of Agriculture (Multan), Sukkur Institute of Business Administration and others. Professors, scholars, and directors of BICs from these institutions were in attendance and are expected to propagate the learnings of this training among the researchers and entrepreneurs associated with the BICs.
Mr. Murtaza emphasized the need for initiating research, an activity which young entrepreneurs find daunting. In his talk, Mr. Murtaza pointed out that entrepreneurs must talk to their target consumer as they need to think from the perspective fo the intended user/customer. He suggested the first step was as simple as talking to parents, security guards, and the general public and gathering their responses to form an initial understanding. The first step of research would make its value more apparent to entrepreneurs. Mr. Murtaza told BIC directors that another way to simplify research was to clarify concepts rather than pinpointing exact definitions.
“Some research is always better than no research. The first person you’ll ever talk to about your product (or service), if they are the right audience, is likely to give you the most information. Because that is you going from zero percent to whatever is an infinite percent more information you gain about that product or service.
Getting started with research is the most important, as it can seem intimidating due to the way it is mentioned. However, research is all about understanding how someone other than you thinks on what you are researching. Therefore, whenever you share your idea, product, or service with another person, that counts as research.” - Ali Murtaza, Head of Design, Ideate Innovation
The key concepts Ali Murtaza brought up during the training included the differences between conducting academic research and business start-up research. These differences were significant because the goals of both types of research are distinct. He brought up the importance of talking to diverse crowds which would lead to gathering more valuable information. “Research is about understanding how other people think,” said Mr. Murtaza.
The Programs and Partnerships Lead at i2i, Sidra Amin, had this to say about the organized training:
“At Invest2Innovate (i2i), we identify ourselves as ecosystem builders. Our vision guides us to work collaboratively with all the stakeholders across the startup ecosystem to ensure the best founders come from emerging markets, and our products over the past few years have spoken to that vision as we expanded our exciting work across 9 countries in MENAP region with partners who share the same vision.
To strengthen the same vision, we have partnered with HEC under HEDP program to build the capacity of ecosystem builders at grassroot by conducting a 3 day intensive training program for the senior management of Business Incubation managers of Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan on incorporating the best strategies and curriculum for their startups. The training had industry experts deliver topics ranging from program design, commercialisation, research essentials for startups, growth and scaling strategies, and investment-readiness.”
Ali Murtaza spoke on the role of BIC in the research process, proposing that the directors and staff could facilitate young entrepreneurs by introducing them to BIC’s networks when they headed out for research. Enabling access would allow entrepreneurs and researchers to gather information more quickly and encourage them throughout the research process.
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