Promoting Technology Innovation Through Rethinking Policies and Regulations.
To promote an enabling environment for the advancement and growth of startups and early-stage businesses in the information technology sector, Accelerate Prosperity (AP) Pakistan conducted and led a consultative policy workshop in partnership with Metrix Tech Summit on October 30, 2022 at Hazara University, Mansehra.
Key stakeholders from the technology sector including entrepreneurs, freelancers and business process outsourcing experts, business leaders, heads of startup incubation centers, technology sector academics and IT sector representatives from the government were gathered in one room to participate in the workshop. The objectives of the workshop included discussing the on-ground operational challenges faced by new and emerging entrepreneurs and finding actionable solutions to regulatory and policy issues faced by the technology focused entrepreneurial community.
The workshop aimed to better understand the needs of the burgeoning technology ecosystem and how existing government policies and regulations can potentially be remodelled or broadened to accommodate innovative entrepreneurs and come up with actionable policy recommendations for the government to implement.
Hamza Ali and Sikander Ali – both entrepreneurs representing Binance Pakistan, the world’s leading cryptocurrency exchange platform echoed that government initiatives and policies targeting the technology sector should be based on market trends and thorough research. They shared that often new entrepreneurs find it hard to navigate the company registration process with the government and face little to no support from public offices when it comes to understanding the laws and regulations governing the IT industry.
Ammad Ali, the CEO of RankingGrow, and content director, Saman Malik highlighted some common problems faced by startups and what makes them want to give up easily. They also talked about their contribution towards making youth aware of everything related to the digital world through free trainings. They specifically mentioned the problems faced by all the strartups or entrepreneurs. They mentioned that there is a lot of potential in our youth only if we give them the right direction and resources. They also believe that freelancing is something every person should be well-aware of.
Dr. Mukhtaj Khan, Chairman of IT Department at the University of Haripur highlighted his institution’s efforts in promoting entrepreneurship in Pakistan. The University of Haripur has established a center of excellence where government faculty members are given the opportunity to work on their business ideas and get technical support for their entrepreneurial ventures. He discussed the need to include academics as stakeholders in the entrepreneurial ecosystem as they
are research-oriented and at the forefront of working with young minds so can add much value to the growth of innovative startups in Pakistan.
Zahid Nawaz, Project Manager at Durshal – a flagship project of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa IT Board talked about the importance of exposing students to universities abroad. He stressed that while local universities are taking initiatives like establishing startup incubation centers to boost outside the box thinking in Pakistan, students will benefit most when they’re given the opportunity to go on exchange programmes. He emphasized that there is much experiential learning when students engage and collaborate with peers in other universities and the exchange of knowledge is what spurs creativity and births entrepreneurs.
Muhammad Akram Mughal – Deputy Director of Network Security at Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) stressed that sector-specific laws and regulations should be made keeping all stakeholders involved and understanding on-ground realities of the technology-focused entrepreneurial community. At the same time, he spoke about the need for entrepreneurs to make greater efforts in studying existing laws and regulations targeting their industry because most of this information already publicly available but perhaps isn’t marketed in the right manner by government bodies.
Ahmed Manzoor, CEO of Pakistan Blockchain Institute, shared his perspective on the overall landscape of the technology innovation in Pakistan including untapped opportunities and challenges. He said that successful entrepreneurs will emerge from Pakistan when we have a societal mind shift from project management to product development and management.
All the workshop participants in conclusion called for the shared goal of working towards building the technology ecosystem in Pakistan and forming more partnerships and collaborations with one another to spur technology innovation.
AP has collected some of the policy recommendations discussed during the workshop and will document them in a white paper to share with government officials to consider when developing policies in the future as well as better inform entrepreneurs of the existing landscape of government regulations targeting the information technology sector in Pakistan.
Metrix Tech Summit official Accounts