Pakistani firm Codeschool.pk took first place in the Stanford Seed Spark Program’s capstone business pitch competition across South Asia.
The National Incubation Centre (NIC) Lahore at LUMS nominated startup got top honors and a cash incentive for high-achieving entrepreneurs from across South Asia. It was the first cohort from Pakistan, and it was introduced by the NIC LUMS, according to the statement.
At the graduation ceremony for Stanford SEED Spark’s inaugural cohort in Pakistan, NIC LUMS Lahore and Quetta chairman Saleem Ahmad said, “Our partnership with Stanford SEED Spark reflects our confidence in Pakistani entrepreneurs and their ability to compete with the very best talent globally.”
“Our conviction is reinforced by the fact that all of the NIC LUMS mentored startups made the top 20 finalists and have also brought home much pride in winning the top spot across South Asia,” he added.
83 enterprises from 17 collaborating institutions, including IIT Bombay, TiE Chennai, and CII-Young Indians, took part in the program. Only the top 20 grads were chosen as finalists in the competition.
The top three start-ups were chosen after a rigorous grading process to receive a monetary incentive as well as a virtual showcase feature in the global Stanford SEED Spark gallery.
Stanford Seed South Asia regional director PR Ganapathy commented, “Our collaboration with NIC LUMS for Spark’s maiden cohort in the Pakistan startup ecosystem has been a great experience.”
“We were ecstatic to see the NIC LUMS nominated entrepreneurs’ enthusiasm and energy for the program.” “We’re excited to meet more Pakistani problem solvers and innovators who want to apply for and take advantage of a world-class online entrepreneurship program at their own pace and time,” he added.
Sadaf Rehman, co-founder of Codeschool.pk, stated of her experience with the program, “The Stanford SEED Spark Program was instrumental in helping us articulate our vision.” The frameworks, expert workshops, and one-on-one mentoring were the perfect combination to accelerate us beyond what we could have accomplished on our own.”
“I am grateful to NIC LUMS for bringing this program to Pakistan, as well as for the networking opportunities and support they have provided along the way,” she said.
Her company, Codeschool.pk, offers engaging, interactive coding workshops to kids as young as six years old, with the goal of encouraging crucial 21st-century skills such as problem-solving, creativity, and resilience.
The startup has reached over 450 students in ten countries in its first year of operation. Adeel Saya, a LUMS alumni and Google program manager in Zurich, was her mentor.
Malik Waleed Tariq, the creator of XStak and another NIC LUMS sponsored startup, has made the top 20 finalist list. His business is an all-in-one, self-service retail operating system that allows merchants to use a transaction-based pricing model to handle Omni-channel commerce, marketing, payments, and business intelligence activities. Ali Almakky, Strategy and Operations, JPMorgan, London, is another LUMS alumnus who mentored him.
With a business in the top 20 finalists, Haris Anwaar, AWS Finance, Amazon (Seattle), has also joined the NIC mentors list.
The Stanford SEED Spark Programme is a four-month training program for early-stage entrepreneurs in the traction or growth stages of their businesses that aims to equip them with practical tools to refine and develop their businesses through an action-based curriculum, peer networking opportunities, one-on-one mentorship, and live expert sessions. The Stanford SEED Spark program was brought to Pakistan by the NIC LUMS, and it will be expanded statewide, with the second cohort starting in March 2022.
The Program is one of NIC LUMS’ three academically reinforced training alternatives. Its Foundry Program is based on LUMS’ curriculum and taught by the university’s professors, and it recently established the Entrepreneurship 101 program in conjunction with the University of Saarland in Germany.