Initial Results From Pakistan StartUp Cup Entrepreneur Tour Sponsored by the U.S. State Department and U.S. Embassy in Islamabad

A small team of StartUp Cup mentors and graphic facilitators traveled to Pakistan August 21-September 1, 2013 to support launching the inaugural Pakistan StartUp Cup business model competition, organized by TiE Islamabad. Along with conducting a series of extreme business model and startup building workshops, we had one goal in mind, to put a meaningful dent in Pakistan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Extreme Build-A-Business Workshops

The first goal of our visit was to support increasing the quality and quantity of local coaches and mentors in the entrepreneurial communities of Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi. We began our task by training a total of 77 local seasoned entrepreneurs and business leaders in the three cities on the entrepreneurial mindset, techniques for coaching entrepreneurs, business model design and accelerated go-to-market strategies. Immediately following the each of the training sessions we launched into a two-day Extreme Build-A-Business Workshop program where the freshly certified mentors applied their new coaching skills with the local entrepreneurs competing in the Pakistan StartUp Cup. The result was an increased focus on team development, business model design, customer development, assumption testing, and revenue generation.

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Startup Mentoring Goals

1) To support each startup team in understanding that they need to learn and take a long view beyond the business idea in order to advance their startup. It was important to introduce each team to the entrepreneurial mindset and visual thinking as a foundation for startup success.

2) To share the key elements of business model design (Using the Business Model Scorecard) including: customer development strategies, revenue model development, team building, bootstrapping techniques, and accelerated go-to-market strategies.

3) To inspire startup teams to take action and start testing their customer and business model assumptions by going out and acquiring customers, securing key licenses and certificates required to start their company, self-funding, and start selling their product(s) or service(s) right away.

4) To train a collection of Pakistan mentors and StartUp Cup judges on business model design, accelerated customer development, and go-to-market strategies that support entrepreneurs to launch their startups quickly and, in the process, acquire customers, generate revenue, and/or secure funding. 

The Results

  • Three Extreme Build-A-Business Workshops:
    • 173 startup teams
    • 1,115 coaching sessions
    • 77 coaches and mentors (32 in Islamabad, 25 in Lahore and 20 in Karachi);
  • 84% of all startup teams invited to attend participated in the three Extreme Build-A-Business Workshops;
  • 95% of startup teams identified a viable business model to improve chances to launch their business;
  • 86% of startup teams went out and engaged customers working to validate their business model;
  • 77% of entrepreneurs are more willing to take risks to start and build their business;
  • 73% of entrepreneurs are more willing to encourage family and friends to start a business;
  • StartUp Cup-trained coaches mentored 1,115 fifteen minute high impact Business Model Scorecard sessions with 173 startup teams using accelerated go-to-market techniques;
  • Announced the Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi Pakistan StartUp Cup Top 25 in each city. 75 startup teams are advancing into the first round of live business model pitching sessions;
  • Graphically facilitated an organizational development strategy session with the senior management team of the Hashoo Foundation;
  • Sean Griffin lead a Think-A-Torium, The Seeker – An Entrepreneurial Journey, at FAST University in Islamabad.

Paki 1Lessons Learned

  • Pakistan entrepreneurs have original ideas that are designed to maximize the unique strengths of the country;
  • Female founders represented 13% of all startups;
  • Strong desire to create a viable business. Natural “team” development approach;
  • Quality of entrepreneurs participating was a priority over quantity within the entrepreneurial ecosystem and specifically for the Pakistan StartUp Cup Organizers;
  • The StartUp Cup process is extremely effective (Entrepreneurial Mindset, Business Model Design, Team Development, Customer Engagement, Revenue Generation, and Tailored One-On-One Mentoring);
  • The Business Model Scorecard accelerates the design and building of a viable business;
  • The StartUp Cup process has the potential to change lives and empower people around the world to create their own career path;
  • Startup teams will utilize the training learned in their personal lives whether they start a company or not;
  • Low tech, graphically facilitated strategic planning sessions support accelerating collaboration among key entrepreneurial ecosystem providers.

Next Steps

Pakistan StartUp Cup Sponsors and Organizers, U.S. State Department, U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, and TiE Islamabad, understand that to be successful, the measurement of short and long-term startup success and ensuring the sustainability of the Pakistan StartUp Cup program to grow jobs and viable businesses, is of paramount importance. To this effort the U.S. State Department, U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, and TiE Islamabad are committed to support the long-term success of Pakistan StartUp Cup. Working with Pakistan StartUp Cup Organizers and the U.S. State Department we will measure the impact of startup teams to create viable businesses and grow jobs. We will also monitor the impact of mentors trained to actively coach business model design and accelerated go-to-market strategies. Meaningful entrepreneurial ecosystem growth takes years, not months. StartUp Cup remains committed to being actively involved in the process of advancing Pakistan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, including ongoing research and future Extreme Build-A-Business events planned for December 2013.

paki 2 Acknowledgments

Thank you to the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Global  Entrepreneurship Program, TiE Islamabad, for sponsoring the StartUp Cup mentoring team’s  visit and for supporting the launch of Pakistan StartUp Cup business model competition in  Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi.

Thank you to the amazing Pakistan StartUp Cup organizing team of Murtaza Zaidi, Zeeshan  Shahid, Sayyed Musad, and Zehra Khan for their efforts to mobilize and orchestrate such an  amazing collection of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial champions. You have set a new bar for StartUp Cups around the world to emulate.

Thank you to the great entrepreneurs of Pakistan. You inspire us! You are the reason we work so hard to support the growth of entrepreneurialism around the globe. We look forward to our next Pakistan Entrepreneur Tour.

Thank you to Brandon Possin, Caron De Mars, Sadie Okoko, and Brenda Rios at the U.S. State Department for your confidence in our ability to put a dent in Pakistan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Thanks to Alexander Tatsis at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad for helping make things happen on the ground in Pakistan. A special thanks to Shelly Porges, former Senior Advisor of Global Entrepreneurship with the U.S. State Department for being the catalyst of the Pakistan Entrepreneur Tour.

And last but certainly not least, thank you to the StartUp Cup Global mentoring team that lead the Pakistan Entrepreneur Tour, Sean Griffin and Amy Robinson. Our impact on Pakistan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem will be felt for years to come.