Pakistan's Flourishing Startup Culture
When the government fails the people, the private sector appears at the forefront of progress. This is what is currently happening in Pakistan. The economy maybe in dire straits but that doesn’t stop Pakistani entrepreneurs from giving every venture their best shot. Local brands are gradually replacing international brands in every business category. From soft drinks to cosmetics, Pakistani brands have not only amassed a loyal following at home but overseas too. This might surprise you given the poor statistics of startups globally. Failory estimated that 90% of startups fail at some point. Experts have expressed that approximately 50% startups shutdown within their first year. However, the way a person views failure determines their future as history has proven time and time again.
“Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever.” - Lance Armstrong
As long as you refuse to give up there’s always hope that light lies at the end of the tunnel. Let’s look at how entrepreneurs are shaping the country’s future.
Pakistan has always been famous for producing the world’s finest doctors and engineers. Software engineers have contributed considerably the last decade since more opportunities popped up. Mobile and web developers are working hard to create easy solutions for people for a higher quality of life. This doesn’t just extend to cities. Since communication facilities have extended to villages and far off areas, millions may benefit from them. Digital marketing is another popular field these days. It requires training and experiences but required resources are not hard to find. Startups such as MicroPower Labs have received foreign funding to develop innovative gadgets. Technology is expensive no doubt so the government should provide incentive for technological startups to grow.
Transport & delivery
Careem is a leader in urban transportation in Pakistan. Indirectly, it has contributed to women empowerment by providing safe transport. This has a ripple effect that encourages female entrepreneurs. There is still a market gap for new startups like Careem to take advantage of. Wherever there’s a business, delivery system is a major priority. Countless people, women in particular, have home-based businesses. Currently, there is competition between delivery services to gather loyal clients. Local delivery services are doing well but there is a lack of quality control among the smaller ones. Nevertheless, this is a necessary field that will only get better with time.
Beauty & fashion
There is a general misconception that the fashion industry is dominated by women and that most makeup artists are female. Both genders have considerable presence in these closely linked business categories. Anything to do with art sometimes doesn’t require expensive training or education. This is why the illiterate workforce fits so well in beauty and fashion. The lax laws in the Pakistani beauty industry have resulted in countless salons and makeup artists setting up profitable businesses. There is a dire need for education institutes for both beauty and fashion. Hopefully, this need will be met in the coming years by ambitious entrepreneurs.
Food & hospitality
Unless you’re doing something very wrong, a business related to food should not fail in this country. Pakistanis love food! Café culture is gradually gaining momentum here as exotic delicacies are brought to this region. As travel becomes more convenient with time, people go back and forth for business or personal reasons. This has increased the demand for hotels which are slowly emerging in cities in greater numbers than before. Capital remains a big hurdle for entrepreneurs and must be addressed seriously by the government. Steps should be taken to improve the sustainability of startups if the pace of this progress is to be maintained.