Facebook, IBM, Amazon, Microsoft to help Pakistani startups

Digital world’s all-time giants like Facebook, Amazon, IBM and Microsoft are going to mentor and support with tools and funds the Pakistani entrepreneurs and startups in the 2018 edition of Momentum Pakistan, a mega event being held in Karachi on February 19 and 20 next year.

“This is a really big news I’ve ever heard as this event could be gamechanger for the Pakistani entrepreneurs,” said Shaheera Jafri Batool, a Lahore-based struggling entrepreneur.  

Amir Jafri, the soul behind the Momentum Pakistan, says the theme of the 2018 edition is ‘How to boost your startup.

“How to start a business without money has long been a big problem for entrepreneurs in this part of the world, whereas in other countries companies help the innovative startups with resources and tools,” he said.  

He said international companies were arriving in Pakistan to tap the talent as most of the talent of Pakistan remained undetected thanks to the lack of opportunities, mentorship, exposure and connectivity with the right people. The online world is one such untapped area, where the youth could have several opportunities to learn new skills and earn foreign exchequers.

The two-day event will several workshops, one-on-one sessions of successful ventures’ officials with startups, a great lineup of national and international speakers from industries.   

The representatives of Facebook, Amazon, IBM, and Microsoft are coming with plans for the Pakistani ventures.

The Facebook team will share the insights about their FB Start Programme that helps startup to bootstrap by using tools of different partners. These tools help startups grow hacking and scaling the market to the relevant industry.

Amazon will provide startups with data centre facilities. As the world over companies are going to clouds, Amazon will offer free clouds worth $5,000 to $50,000 to selected entrepreneurs besides conducting a series of hackathon with developers and workshops with startups.

IBM is coming to the Momentum Pakistan with exciting hackathons and workshops on its IBM Watson Programme. The programme provides artificial intelligence based solutions for the industries to automate their production process. IBM Watson is a question answering computer system capable of answering questions posed in natural language.

Last but not least, Microsoft will offer clouding solution to the startups. The good thing about the Microsoft’s clouds service is that its tools are integrated with the clouds and now people with no technical know-how can use the software without any effort. The developers’ community will have the hackathons to on how to boost their products.

“Startups need no investment but products and tools. The collaboration of big companies like Facebook, Amazon, IMB and Microsoft can build people’s trust on new products,” Mr Jafri says.

The event will also provide opportunities to startups with the one-on-one opportunity with investors in its segments ‘Office Hours’. The segment will provide ample time and space to entrepreneurs to pitch and explain their ideas to investors.

The main highlights of the events are: incubators, accelerators, investors, startups, featured startups, global cloud companies, top tech companies, top fintech (payment enabler) companies,   Higher Education Commission funded project showcase, speakers, pitches, and signing of memorandum of understanding between investors and startups.

The two-day event will have warm-up sessions for the participants so that they can get the maximum from the representatives.  

“Before coming to the event, participants will be mentored on how to pitch their idea, how to build a team, why international companies are important for their business and why and how they should take care of startups,” says Mr Jafri.  

Muhammad Siddique, the founder of Global Social Entrepreneurship Foundation, says the Momentum Pakistan-2018 will unveil ‘Adopt a Startup’ where overseas Pakistan will mentor startups.  

“Under the programme, a successful expatriate will adopt one startup under which they will mentor the startup 30 minutes online once a week or a month,” he said.

This is the best way to return something valuable to the country of their birthplace, he smiles.    

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