Startup Guide Issue 12

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Editor Shehab Farrukh Niazi Art Directors Aleeza Javed Mahnoor Haroon Niazi





EDITOR’S NOTE for the upcoming Digital Youth Summit in Peshawar, we speak with the Managing Director of KPIT Board about the digital policy, its components and the milestones achieved so far.

For this issue, we explore the tremendous potential that the youth holds for a thriving economy and the skills and training required for youth to get there. We look at some of the initiatives taken by the KP government in this regard – the KP Youth Imapct Challenge and Minsiter’s Atif Khan’s initiatvies to empower youth with skills to curb unemployment and enable them to stand on their own feet. Just in time

Tourism is an up and coming sector in Pakistan with the government investing heavily to build infrastructure and he promote tourism in Pakistan. We look at 8 startups that are on our radar for their work on promoting tourism and travel. Umer Hussain, the Founder of Sweettooth sheds light on running and promoting a successful restaurant business.Video is the future – Salma Jafri, content strategist offers us an overview of how to make the best of video content for building a brand. Omar Shah, founder of COLABS talks Oma about community building and the future of co- working in Pakistan. We join hands with the World Bank to give Sohni Dharti a tour of their Digital Lab where data about multiple sectors is collated – co-founder of Sohni Dharti, Samar Hasan shares the enlightening experience with sha us.This and much more from the latest happenings in this issue – happy reading!





News and Events

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FEATURING “The amount for the Youth Impact Challenge Program has now been increased to PKR 5.9 billion”

On Enabling Youth to Rev Pakistan’s Economic Engines

Minister Atif Khan

“The first and foremost thing is to focus on the digital skills talent pipeline”

On Benefitting from the Digital Economy

Dr. Shahbaz Khan

On the Philosophy of Community Building

Omar Shah

“Everything, from food to art, vision, we don’t do things the way people do – we’re unique in our own way!”

On Promoting a Food Business

Umer Hussain

Epiphany Lab: Pakistan’s International Impact Accelerator is Back!

A report developed by Madera Outsourcing states that Pakistani startups will have access to roughly $100 million of funding by the end of 2019. As exciting as this sounds, availability of these funds does not automatically mean that all or most startups would benefit from it. But, you can increase your chances of tapping into these funds by becoming part of Epiphany Lab, Pakistan’s fund first international accelerator focused on helping growth stage impact entrepreneurs. This is where Epiphany Lab comes in, which is a six-day rigorous accelerator designed to help growthstage entrepreneurs raise investment. Epiphany Lab is designed in collaboration with Uncharted, a US organization based in Colorado that has helped social entrepreneurs raise $252 million and impact 37 million lives in 96 countries. It seeks to combine rising national entrepreneurial ent spirit with the desire to solve Pakistan’s biggest challenges. Typically, participating startups will be targeting one of the following sustainable development goals:

Designed for growth-stage entrepreneurs, Epiphany Lab enhances entrepreneurs’ capacity to transform emerging businesses to sustainable and expanding interventions. The Lab will help entrepreneurs to: Understand the steps of the investment process and what is needed to be prepared at each step Diagnose where a venture is in preparedness for those steps, build a full plan for how to get ready, and actively work to get more prepared Determine the amount and type of capital needed for their venture Understand how to build and maintain strong relationships with funders Meet with actual funders to get feedback and practice building investor interest Pitch in front of investors for grant money and potential investment If you are a Pakistan-based startup committed to working towards one of the above-mentioned sustainable development goals, have a steady stream of revenue and are looking to raise investment, then Epiphany Lab is the accelerator you have been waiting for. Whether you are a non-profit organization or a for-profit business, we will help you put your best foot forward with the investors. Epipha Lab has 50+ mentors, advisors and investors Epiphany who will work with you in order to help you prepare your financials, investment documents, pitch decks and guide you in delivering an excellent pitch. Our lab will also help you access global business hubs through our international advisors. Post-lab support will also be provided to help develop promotional videos, feature articles on our media partner’s pa website and provide online and in-person mentorship and support. And the best thing is—you don’t have to share any equity with us! In fact, top performing startups will receive grant money. Epiphany Investment Preparedness Lab will take place from October 21-26, 2019 at the National Incubation Center, Islamabad. Details about Epiphany Lab are available at

Impact Dynamics Promotes Visual Storytelling through their Film Lab! Taking a plunge in hot waters, Impact Dynamics launched Pakistan’s first ever bootcamp on Visual Storytelling, aimed at imparting skills for developing and marketing quality content from scratch. Film Lab was a five-day bootcamp with each day dedicated to a special focus area of the art of visual storytelling. The bootcamp has been specially curated for businesses th (e-commerce in specific, filmmakers, vloggers and photo journalists). The bootcamp started with none other than Sarmad Khoosat an actor, director and filmmaker, famous for his award-winning dramas like Humsafar and Shehr-e-Zaat and movies like Manto. Sarmad’s session was regarding concept development and elements of storytelling where participants framed the concepts they wanted to work on through storyboarding.

knowledge about influencers’ dynamics in Pakistani market and gave insights of local consumer behavior on social media.

Day two was dedicated to photography and its tricks and tips featuring Shiekh Waqas from Media Clicks. Participants also learned about lines, lighting, tones and their effects in Mahoor Jamal’s session on “Illustrating the Concept in Frame”. Mahoor is a fashion illustrator and photographer and the woman behind the soulful visual campaigns for Generation (previously Nishat). (p Day three was dedicated to the visual aesthetics and designs featuring Shehryar Khan, visual communicator from Khyber Pakhtunkha IT Board where participants learned about color palettes and how to use colors, logo designs and their placement and basic editing. Shehryar’s session was followed by a hands-on session on social media tools and hacks for visual storytelling and online campaigning, especially on Facebook and Instagram, Instagram by Maryam Arshad, a hybrid marketer and expert in digital marketing, also Founder and Director Impact Dynamics. On Day 4 Nur Nasreen, News Producer for Netflix original “Patriot Act with Hassan Minhaj”, coached participants on the basics of research and the production. Nur was online from the US and had an engaging and captivating session where participants discussed aspects of journalism, production and discusse research with their Coach. Nur’s session was followed by a power-pack session by Syed Muzammil Hasan Zaidi, founder of Lolz Studio. During his session on Vlogging Essentials, he shared his valuable

The full-filmy full-fil vibes took over the room on day five when participants learned the nitty-gritty of the elements of direction from Usman Mukhtar, one of the well- celebrated actors and an expert short-video director who has been nominated for multiple awards for his brilliant direction di in several videos. Usman coached the participants on what it takes to create meaningful short videos and 3 point lighting after which the participants worked on their own visual stories. Film lab catered to people from different backgrounds, who joined in as clueless strangers and left as friends, each with their online campaign all ready-to-launch. From e-commerce startups, textile companies, journalists, actors, trainers, aspiring Youtubers and directors to filmmakers, Film lab had participants from across Pakistan hailing from different sectors and industries. The main coach for the Film Lab, Kiran Fatima is a filmmaker whose work has been featured internationally. Kiran was assisting, coaching and guiding the participants throughout in all processes, making sure everything the participants learned was applied to their campaigns. She was also constantly connecting the dots between the art of filmmaking and online visual storytelling for the e-commerce businesses. A success no doubt, Film Lab has bas been the first of its kind: A boot camp that deals with the art of visual storytelling in all its aspects. At Impact Dynamics headquarters, work has already begun to hit the next city!

DR. SHAHBAZ KHAN On Benefitting from the Digital Economy

The KP Digital Transformation Policy is an important milestone for taking the province into the future. Tell us more about how it was developed? It all started with the discussion when we started looking at some of the key indicators of different countries – Pakistan stood at 143rd position on the e-government development index. On the ease of doing business, we currently stand at 36th position out of around 90 countries, while India is at 77th position. A lot of these indicators pushed policymakers and government to take action towards making a very comprehensive digital policy that would set the direction and comp foundation for development of the government. Digital transformation will help us in improving our ranking. That became the motivation to develop a digital policy in KP. Along with this, the government also wanted to promote aspects like digital/financial inclusion, gender inclusion along with increasing the efficiency of all government organizations. This is sort of the background – we took a number of players on board including the development sector, we’ve got 13 different donor agencies that are consultants and donors, we also have partners from academia, telecom sector, agencies from private and public sectors. We had various rounds of fr discussions – we were very fortunate to have the Pakistani diaspora, which contributed very well in bringing key insights that have now been incorporated in the digital policy. During the first 100 days of the PM’s government, we were able to get this approved from the cabinet.

In your opinion, how far has KP come in achieving the milestones outlined in the policy? In terms of o digital access, the policy states that every new road that is built or resurfaced in KP will have a mandatory fiber conduit. In the next 5 years, fiber conduits will be widely available in KP as per universal specifications. We are also in the process of designing a policy for fiber pr conduits in 4 different cities of KP, which will be undertaken under a public-private partnership, to be funded by the World Bank. On the Digital Economy side, we have established Pakistan’s largest tech incubator network net by the name of ‘Durshal’ – we have them even in the Southern districts like Bannu; in the North in Swat, one in the Hazara division in Abbottabad and more – we have a total of 7 Durshals in KP at the moment, having catered to more than 50 startups st so far. With the help of some of our partners, we’re also undertaking the digital skills program. An example is AWS, for which most of the jobs are outsourced because there are only 200 AWS experts in Pakistan while there is a growing demand and we have started catering to that. By the end of the first cate year, we would have created a critical mass of more than 1,000 AWS experts along with Microsoft Azure and Big Data. This skill development would be in addition to what we have done in terms of skill development for mobile app development, game development, graphic designing and more.

On the Digital Governance side, there has been a significant push. We are now building a single, centralized business portal for KP, which is going to be a one-window platform. When the World Bank looks at the ease of doing business in a country, there are a number of indicators that it looks at – ease in terms of starting a company, getting approval for a building, getting utilities etc. All these indicators would be linked on this single platform. The potential business owner would be able to save time by not having to go to different government departments. We are linking all the depa government departments on this platform. Following all of this, we are now moving towards building the first Citizen Facilitation Center in KP, starting from Peshawar and going to divisional headquarters after that. This will provide 30 different services like issuing driving licenses, taxation, domiciles etc. One of the key areas we’re looking at is data mobility – we have been advocating that in order to have data mobility, all government departments need to have a framework with a Unified Digital ID – in our case it’s the CNIC number. A citizen can make a profile using their ID on the portal and that profile is moveable across po other government platforms and departments. Other than these milestones, there are a few others – we’re building the Peshawar Digital Complex, which is going to be the digital hub for the provincial government. We have also finalized a plan for a digital hub in Abbottabad, which is also an entry point for CPEC. We’re actively tracking the progress p across a hundred different indicators.

The Digital Youth Summit has been an important annual event that has been happening in Peshawar for the last few years. Tell us about this year’s theme? The Digital Youth Summit is planned around 4 main focus areas. We will have sessions on digital governance; key insights from the lessons we have learned from our digital skills programs and Durshals. We also have specific panels discussing digital access, the direction we should be heading in in terms of financial inclusion through digital

In your opinion, what are the essentials required to benefit from the opportunities that the digital economy offers? The first and foremost thing is to focus on the digital skills talent pipeline because we believe that without digital skills, it would be difficult if not impossible to derive the dividends that the digital economy offers. In order to proceed with that, we have formulated a long-term approach, focusing on young school going kids who are sixth and seventh graders – we’ve taught them block programming, which is part of the MIT curriculum. We have also introduced another program focusing on a wide range of digital skills, which is essential for young people coming out of universities. When this comes together with Durshals and a bit of seed funding, affordable and reliable Internet, it becomes easier to reap the benefits of the digital economy – all of these ingredients are important for benefitting from the digital economy. This is why we have the four components of Digital Access, Digital Governance, Digital Skills and Digital Economy as part of the policy. We are also starting ‘Work Around’, which will offer seats for over 300 workers who will also hire other people. Some of the infrastructure projects we’re currently working will also enable the digital economy – the government has also expressed interest in reducing taxes for people working in the tech and digital sector to enable them to thrive.



FindMyAdventure is Pakistan’s first online marketplace for people to search, compare, discover and book trips, tours and travel experiences across Pakistan at any price Pa point. As a trusted travel platform, FindMyAdventure connects Pakistan’s vibrant cultures and fascinating landscapes with the rest of the world. Whether a city tour for a day, a beach getaway for the weekend, a trip to the Northern Areas for a week or a mountaineering mount expedition for a month, FindMyAdventure is the easiest way for people to experience Pakistan.

STARTUPS TO WATCH OUT IN TOURISM The Mad Hatters is a platform for adventure seekers, risk takers and avid explorers who are looking for opportunities to get out of the daily grind and journey into some of the less explored areas of Pakistan. This startup provides a platform to st like-minded individuals who are passionate about exploring new places and learning new skills. The educational element of their trips gives hands-on insight into the local culture and lifestyle of o the places they tour. Madhatters takes education and learning out of classrooms to make it an entertaining and interactive experience that encourages people to think out of the box. Their aim is to combine education and traveling, to ensure that the participants learn something new while traveling with them.




Who would have thought that camping could be glamorous. Glamp Pakistan makes it so by organizing glamorous camping trips on the 2nd tr highest cold desert, Katpana Skardu. Glamp Pakistan has perfected the luxurious experience for expe nature lovers who want the best of both worlds.

Five Giants was born out of our connection to the mountains and the beautiful earth. The name comes from the meeting point of the Himalaya, Karakoram, Hindukush ranges and the Indus and Gilgit rivers. The concept behind Five Giants is having a home in the northern areas and a place to share the love of this planet with travellers from all over the world, creating a truly global community that embraces emb all cultures. It offers a place with a communal area for sharing stories and experiences; a shared kitchen space attached to a traditional house and a garden under grapevines, surrounded by fruit trees. This sur is a place where travellers can feel right at home during their travels.


GoGhoom is a travel booking website, which features hotels in over 175+ cities in Pakistan. The platform is transforming the way people travel and book their accommodations with the advice of experts in the respective cities.

This unique startup takes the sharing economy to another level in travel and lets you experience places in a new way – by living with a host family during your trip to the North. Letshome customizes the itinerary for your trip and finds itine you a trusted family to live with, as per your travel dates and accommodation requirements.

TRAVEROUS N anoIT Solutions creates immersive human experiences for various sectors. It is the first-of-its kind company in Pakistan to develop indigenous electromechanical elect motion platforms integrated with Virtual Reality accessories in a way that creates real-life digital immersive experiences. N anoIT Solutions has developed an architecture that digitizes real tourism spots and then takes it a step further by transforming that data into virtual vi tour rides – enabling travel enthusiasts to experience a place in the most immersive way.


Recording your memories during your travels is now presented with a spin! Traverous brings you the ultimate automated travel journal. Telling your travel stories was never easier. With Traverous, you get the Tr opportunity to create your very own travelogue – just keep snapping pictures in the app and it will automatically record everything on a map and make a route out of it. You not only get to make m and record your memories, but you can also share these memories with a large community present on the app.




By Samar Hasan, Co-Founder Sohni Dharti Climateers

Last year at the COP24 (2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference) in Katowice, Poland, Pakistan was elected as the Vice President and the Rapporteur of the Conference of Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.[1] One of the outcomes of this Chang conference has been the 10 Billion Tree Tsunami project,[2] under which individuals and organizations from all over the country are planting trees. As one of the Co-Founders of Sohni Dharti Climateers, a digital awareness, advocacy and action initiative initiati to counter climate change under my social enterprise, Epiphany, this got me thinking. How amazing would it be if we could determine where tree plantations were most needed and, based on this, launch advocacy campaigns in those locations? Imagine my happy surprise when Startup Guide introduced me to the World Bank’s Digital Lab.

The lab houses two data platforms, AppsolutelyDigital and Data4Pakistan, which present public available data sources with a spatial lense and a quick overview of Pakistan at the district level. Out of the various interactive maps of Pakistan across sectors, one caught my eye – a visualization of Landsat Vegetation ey Analysis. Using this particular map, we first saw at the country level where vegetation is minimal. Then, we zoomed in to district level, city level, street level even and could plan our tree plantation drives accordingly. While at an individual level, this is indeed useful, useful it opens up a world of possibilities at a macro level too, when designing a major tree plantation initiative, we can earmark which locations to target first simply by interacting with this map. And I expect we could easily monitor our progress too using the same map a few years later. Technical teams can also advise on native trees as well as connect to relevant forest departments within the government.

Another aspect that I really appreciated about the Digital Lab is that it has collated various data sets in one place, organized under different categories. For most of the people working in the development sector, trying to de solve multiple environmental, social and economic problems, often the biggest issue is a lack of data. Usually, finding the right research material takes a long time and even after hours of examining different data sources, you may never find what you were looking for. With the Digital Lab, the research process has been simplified. So, for instance, if you were planning a long-term intervention to alleviate inter poverty in Sindh through education, you could compare the maps showing Poverty Intensity, Number of Poor, % of Poor, crosschecking it with the Multidimensional Poverty Index, and Human Development Index – to identify which districts to target. Ultimately, I think this platform has great applicability for entrepreneurs as well, since they too look for data when planning their businesses. As I await the next batch of impact entrepreneurs to join Epiphany’s accelerator Epiph program, Epiphany Lab, I am excited that this resource is available for them to find the data to back their planned and existing interventions.

MINISTER ATIF KHAN ON ENABLING YOUTH TO REV PAKISTAN’S ECONOMIC ENGINES Currently, 64% of Pakistan’s population is under the age of 30 – out of this percentage, 29% is between the ages of 15-29 years.This makes Pakistan one of the youngest countries in the world and the second youngest in the South Asian region after Afghanistan. It is due to this reason that the government along with donor organizations like the UN, World Bank and others, is working on enhancing youth’s capabilities and skills as a part of the Government of Pakistan’s Vision 2025. In order for youth to unleash their potential, it is key to create 2025 meaningful opportunities in education, employment and engagement to empower them in the true sense. According the National Human Development Report by UNDP, Pakistan would need to create 4.5 million new jobs by 2022 and enroll millions of its out-of-school children to properly utilize this 64% youth bulge that provides a unique opportunity for the economy of the country, to grow faster and sustainably. sustainab

KP government’s Youth Impact Challenge program is one of the major initiatives to enhance the capability of youth, as stated by Atif Khan, KP Minister of Tourism who also has the portfolio of sports, archeology, culture, museums and youth affairs. KP Govt Youth Impact Challenge’s first round ended in 2018, where 38 startups were given 50 crore 2018 in the first phase – among the startups that got funding, there was a special quota for tourism, in light of the government’s focus on tourism as one of the areas where major capacity building and development is happening in KP. According to Minster Atif Khan, the amount for the Youth Impact Challenge Program has now been increased to PKR 5.9 billion. The Youth Impact Challenge was launced in 2017 in collaboration with LUMS – as a result of the program, 311 youth based businesses have emerged. For the first cohort, a total of 4465 youth, both male and female, had applied; they youth went through a very transparent process under LUMS qualified observers and technical business experts and among them 311 youth were selected for 188 different businesses. The Youth Impact Challenge adopts a two-pronged approach – overcoming the rising unemployment unempl and equipping youth to earn through respectable means. Out of these 311 youth, 100 were of female entrepreneurs. The Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) has entered into a large-scale partnership with the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) for an entrepreneurial education initiative, ‘KP Impact Challenge’. Under this landmark collaboration, LUMS is working with 9 different universities of KP including dif University of Swat, Hazara University, University of Haripur, KUST, Kohat, Gomal University, University of Malakand, Abdul Wali Khan University, Mardan, University of Science and Technology Bannu and Women's

A large portion of Pakistan’s youth does not have the relevant exposure therefore their experience is also limited. The KP Impact Challenge caters to these individuals, i.e. lower-end of the market. low Through this program, the youth gets the opportunity to have a training platform for transforming their ideas into reality. The journey from dream to reality is a long one. This program fills the skill gap required to turn ideas intro reality and run a successful business. A unique aspect of the ventures under the KP Impact Challenge is that they will be driven by impact creation, leading to economic well-being of the region; promoting quality education and socio-cultural aspects of the province. p The important part is to make these ventures and the program accessible to the rural youth, which has been excluded so far. The KP Youth Impact Challenge is based on a grant model. The grants model will provide an incentive to the youth of KP and encourage greater ownership of their ventures. Moreover, they ventu will be provided with free of cost training by experts.

In addition to the KP Youth Impact challenge, the provincial government is also working on developing the tribal youth and bringing them at par with the rest of the country. There is no dearth of sports talent in the merged districts – the government is giving them the support they need to harness their talent and compete on the national and international level. In this regard, the establishment of sports complexes will enable the tribal youth to get sports training to polish their skills. For this purpose, Rs7.5 million has been released for the upgradation of sports complexes in Mardan, Bannu, Dera Ismail Khan and Haripur and Rs20 million has been approved for indoor gymnasium in Buner while Rs25 million has been released to set up 20 squash courts. According to Minister Atif Khan, under the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan, the tribal youth of KP is to be brought into the mainstream.

Rs1 billion has been earmarked only for arranging 42 sports competitions in seven tribal districts and six sub-districts (former frontier regions). This changing landscape landsc presents numerous opportunities for youth to opt for entrepreneurship and turn their ideas into reality. With the government actively promoting tourism, the sector offers numerous problems that aspiring entrepreneurs can solve through their business ideas – some of the most significant areas a where initiatives are being taken in tourism include ecotourism villages, 4 integrated tourism zones including Mankyal Swat, Thandiani, Abbottabad, Ghanool Mansehra and Madaklasht Chitral. These developments combined with skill development programs undertaken with the help of donors are putting KP on its way w to tremendous growth.

“The amount for the Youth Impact Challenge Program has now been increased to PKR 5.9 billion.”


You have been working in different sectors over the period of time - a lot of this work has been towards positively impacting the city of Lahore. To that end, how did COLABS come about and what was the inspiration behind it? I have spent the past 5-7 years working in the world of Investment in various roles within Private Equity and Venture capital in Emerging Markets from Mexico City, Istanbul, Nairobi and most importantly South Asia with a focus on Pakistan. As Pakistan emerges as a leading frontier market in the past few years, it is prone to become a leader in the emerging world, an article in Bloomberg predicted that 135 million millennials will Bloomber drive the world’s fastest retail market and the middle class is expected to surpass the U.K. and Italy over 2016-21, and nearly 2/3rds of Pakistan’s 220m population will be under the age of 30.With the immense growth and also the initiative of the new PTI led Government and previous PML-N government to promote entrepreneurship, technology and to encourage the startup ecosystem, we want the next generation to grow alongside markets such as Vietnam, India, and Nigeria as alongsid we are at a predominant position to move forward and become a leader globally. The government of Pakistan through its Ignite fund has promoted this startup growth through the national incubation centers in the past 2-3 years around the country with great efforts of leading institutions such as LUMS, Teamup, and LMKT promoting the incubation centers. What I felt was missing in the market was a need for a truly private institution to promote this initiative. Our aim at COLABS is to positively impact initiati Lahore and Pakistan over the coming years, by setting up a truly private institution such as our Multi-Purpose Platform is to enable large international businesses, MNCs, SMEs, startups, and freelancers to be able to operate under one roof while interacting and working alongside the local incubators, accelerators and investment funds in the country in our space. Th inspiration behind it was that I come from a family The that has worked to positively impact Pakistan over the past few decades through foundations, trusts and institutions such as, Anjuman Himayat-e-Islam, The Haveli Barood Khana, The Daabistan-e-Iqbal and The Walled

City Authority. The main aim of COLABS is to transform the procedure of facilitating business, interaction, networking, and to promote entrepreneurship through our coworking platform that facilitates everything. The are quite a few spaces in Lahore, There each with its own unique signature element. What do you think sets COLABS apart from the others? Be Before we launched COLABS, we carefully researched and considered what was lacking in the startup ecosystem. It was quite obvious that there was no single space that was providing services to freelancers, startups, SMEs, and corporates on a common platform. With this in mind, COLABS was initiated to provide services to the full spectrum and facilitate those se meaningful connections between innovators from all backgrounds. We can provide services to over 300+ occupants in our current space to large international offices that can seat 60+ individuals as well as hot desks that suit the solopreneurs and freelancers. With plans to open multiple sites around the country in the ope next few years, our objective is to enable and work alongside the local incubators and support these startups and freelancers as they grow. Beyond work spaces, we are also packed with state-of-the-art amenities including meeting rooms, board rooms, recording studio, cafe’, 200+ capacity event space, library and much more! Also with services such as internet, security, power, staff, we’ve gone a step above other workspaces to ensure we offer the best that is available in the country because that’s tha what our members expect! Lastly, we have made a lot of effort building a very powerful network of partners, experts, and mentors that are always available when anyone in our community needs to reach out and our recurring events are curated to foster networking and professional growth.

The co-working space sector is getting more and more competitive. Why do you think coworking inside COLABS is successful? Community and network! Anyone can offer a chair, Com desk, and internet and call themselves a co- working space but our approach is to have a full-scale ecosystem that actively enables businesses to innovate, connect and grow. That is our biggest differentiator but I also think Tha member experience is something we really care about. We have two leading experienced design agencies consulting with us on a weekly basis on how to optimize every single interaction with our members. This helps us devise air-tight SOPs, keeps us on our toes and positions us to provide top-notch service that is not available anywhere else. COLAB is so much more than just a COLABS co-working space. What are your thoughts on the importance of community building in this day and age? Yes, community is at the heart of everything we do. We are passionate about this because I don’t think people realize how powerful a like-minded community can be for the innovation ecosystem. Incubators and

accelerators are only involved with startups for a given time limit, usually, 4 to 6 months and then the startups go on their own path. A place like COLABS can keep the ecosystem of startups, incubators, accelerators, corporates, investors, mentors and media together. This platform enables big ideas, meaningful collaborations, knowledge sharing, and investment access. We believe this can transform Pakistan and we hope everyone else will realize this eventually as well. Whe do you see COLABS 3 years from now? Where We have ambitions to become a national brand with locations in tier 2 cities as well. In 2020, we want to open sites in Islamabad and Karachi and then Multan, Faisalabad, Quetta, Peshawar, etc in 2021. With our mission to become a platform for innovation and growth, we want COLABS to have a significant impact on the future of work, raise the standards of entrepreneurship in the country and build a powerful ent community that creates a positive impact to the economy. We want to change the way people work, interact and network in this country through our physical spaces and have a COLABS in every city you go into!

Video:The Future is Here Salma Jafri on Using Video for Marketing “If you can find a way to show people you care about them, they will in turn care about you 10 times as much�

Salma is a Video Strategist, Marketing Speaker and Consultant. She helps entrepreneurs and businesses create a video strategy to build brand awareness, visibility and trust with their customers so they can grow their brand. She speaks about video marketing at worldwide marketing conferences such as INBOUND, Content Marketing Academy Live and Video Marketing World.

Why did you choose this particular field? I wanted to be the kind of marketer who didn’t rely on interruption-based marketing (advertising) to sell products and services. I want to be the kind of marketer who establishes trust and loyalty with an audience. Content marketing is a field that fascinated me because it was attraction-based marketing – it was focused around creating helpful content that naturally attracts an audience over time. Then I niched down into video content marketing because video is the fastest, most effective way to build a brand right now. What kind of potential do you see in Pakistan when it comes to video marketing? Pretty huge – take a look at YouTube for instance. What are most big brands doing on YouTube? They are running ad spots. They are literally taking the same ads they are running on TV and putting them up on YouTube. That’s a waste of the platform and a waste of their money and resources in my opinion. Think about why people go to YouTube. It’s because they are looking for something.YouTube is the world’s 2nd largest search engine in the world, owned by the first largest, Google. So a YouTube strategy requires brands to produce content that viewers are specifically looking for, which is not ads.

There are 3 types of content that perform really well on YouTube: content that educates, inspires or entertains. What would be more effective and a much better use of their resources would be to create content in one or more of these niches specifically for YouTube. YouTube content only appreciates over time (as opposed to Facebook content which depreciates over time because the news feed is chronological), the long term effects of this content creation strategy are evergreen.YouTube videos can ev continue to bring you long term audiences, making this is a smart allocation of your marketing budget.

“YouTube content only appreciates overtime – the long-term effects of this content creation strategy are evergreen”

What advice would you give to someone who wants to adopt video as a primary method of marketing on digital media? I would say reverse engineer your success. Start with what success looks like to you. For some brands, success could mean more visibility, for others it means sales and revenue. What is your ultimate goal with video? Start there and work backwards. Create video content using my template ( waitlist) to research topics that would meet your goals and contribute to your success metrics. Never start with gear and equipment, as that is always secondary to the video- making process. Start with a content strategy and then decide what gear would be required to execute that plan. It can be as simple as shooting a video with your smartphone in front of a window for natural light or as complicated as a DSLR with diva ring lights and green screen background. The content will determine the production p value. Always test out your content ideas on video before investing in equipment or hire someone who can guide you on what equipment will be required to execute the strategy. What would you say are the 5 rules for producing video content that goes viral? Forget going viral; focus on being watchable.Viral is a by-product of what people want to watch. Find out what people want to watch by doing market research, keyword research, doing competitive analysis and by creating content. Go niche and produce lots of content with a singular focus. Going deeper rather than wider is going to help you develop authority in your topic. Spend as much time on promotion as you did on creation. Do not set it and forget it as your content, no matter how good it is, will not promote itself.You need to have a solid promotional strategy that does not involve spam. Build community around your core topics. What do you care about? When you create videos on what’s important to you as a company, audiences will flock to you because of matching interests. Remember, audiences that care, share.

How did you build your personal brand over the years? I started a blog back in 2009, branched into freelance writing, then consulting, then speaking. When I Googled my name in 2009, Google asked me “did you mean Salman Jafri”? I had zero presence on the search engine at that time. Today, when you Google me, my first page results all point to either my website or my main social media outposts. What are the key takeaways from your journey while building a personal brand? It takes a hell of a lot of time to build a personal brand. My personal outlook is that if I’m going to put in so much time and effort into building my personal brand, then I want to be spending that time creating stuff that will last and cr leave an impact. That’s why I prefer to create one piece of quality video content per week, rather than try to do too much and leave myself overwhelmed. The other key takeaway is that sometimes the fastest path to building an audience is caring about a large number of people. If you can find a way to show people you care about them, they will in turn care about you 10 times as ca much.


Tell us about your ventures ‘Shahi Baithak’ and ‘Sweet Tooth’. Shahi Baithak is located in the Old restored Shahi Hamam, awarded Pakistan’s best-restored heritage site. Sweettooth has been more about spreading smiles, through ice-cream – located in Lahore at MM Alam, DHA, DHA Phase 6 and Heera Mandi, on the way to the North, at Mandi Mushkpuri, near Nathiagali, Murree Expressway; two outlets in Hunza at Karimabad and Lake Attabad to name a few.

‘Shahi Baithak’ is in the hub of the rich cultural heritage of Lahore and it operates in a unique way while sustaining the community. How did you come up with the idea? Since it is the best restored heritage monument, anything less than the best wouldn’t do justice to it, I felt the need that people need a little more attraction to come and explore their own heritage. Most of us don’t even know of the great foods of Lahore, Laho so it is an attempt to return Lahore to its glory.

For your restaurants, the location is key. How do you pick these locations? The idea is, whenever someone Googles Pakistan, all the places that show up, is where I want to see my brands.

You’ve opened another outlet in the Old City of Lahore. Tell us about the kind of vibe you’re trying to create and what the unique offering would be. Yes, Sweettooth Heera Mandi, a name we are too shy to take. It has the most picturesque view – Badshahi Mosque, Minar-ePakistan, and Lahore Qila. So, now I cover all the monuments of Lahore. The Idea is we were rich in culture; goras invaded us, destroyed our culture and left us confused. What would have happened, if we invaded the west? What would our impact be on them? For food we have a fusion of our Pakistani food, into the food of the west.

What are the aspects you believe are unique in your restaurants’ branding? Everything, from food to art, vision, we don’t do things the way people do – we’re unique in our own way!

How did you know you wanted to get into the food business? I joined a cookery club in class 3, which my mom switched to Martial arts. I never knew I was destined for it. It was tough getting from industry into food. It was an experiment and it opened a whole world to me.

What are the things you like the most about being in the food business? The happiness good food brings, satisfied customers, the joy of watching them dance when locating Sweetooth at the most surreal places.

5 tips you would like to give to aspiring food entrepreneurs.

What challenges did you have to face and how did you overcome them? Challenges are always there, first challenge is coming from textile industry, it is a whole different ball game, My family really doesn’t like me being busy when the whole world is vacationing. The only solution to all these problems is, you have to love your work and you will just glide through all the hurdles with a smile.

1- Leave your egos aside 2- Customer is not just right, they are the reason you exist, so be courteous 3- Stop copying and be original, you may be better than the rest 4- Don’t get into it if you can’t get your hands dirty 5- It’s about being consistent – be hopeful, learn, and build on from experiences

WE RECOMMEND... FOLLOW This month, we bring you recommendations from top entrepreneurs who share their valuable life experience with young entrepreneurs

Tony Robbins Entrepreneur, Best-selling Author

Richard Branson Founder,Virgin Group “The best businesses come from people’s bad personal experiences. If you just keep your eyes open, you’re going to find something that frustrates you, and then you think, ‘well I could maybe do it better than it’s being done,’ and there you have a business.”

“Th most painful mistake I see in “The first-time entrepreneurs is thinking that just having a business plan or a great concept is enough to guarantee success. It’s not. Business success is 80% psychology and 20% mechanics. And, frankly, most people’s psychology is not meant people for building a business.”

Arianna Huffington Co-Founder Huffington Post,Thrive Global “If you’re going to start a business, you need to really love it, because not everybody is going to love it. When The Huffington Post was first launched in 2005, there were so many detractors. I remember a critic who wrote that The Huffington Post was an unsurvivable failure.”

Navid Moazzez Digital Entrepreneur

Nir Eyal Author “Th easiest way to tell if someone is a first-time “The entrepreneur is when they’re secretive about their ideas. I don’t reply to people who ask me to sign an NDA. Real entrepreneurs know good ideas are cheap and that success comes from hard work, not a stroke of genius.”

“Focus, by definition, means narrowing your field of vision and attention. It means choosing which opportunities , projects, and even customers you’re NOT going to pursue. And it’s really, really hard. When I first started online, I was trying to do it all: podcasting, writing epic guides, blogging and I wasn’t doing any of it well. I realized that each time I jumped from idea to idea, I was eac diluting my efforts.”

Michelle Schroeder Entrepreneur and Blogger, Making Sense of Cents “The most painful mistake I see first-time (or inexperienced) entrepreneurs make is that they see others in their industry or blog niche as competition. This can significantly hold you back, as you may never learn industry secrets and tips, make genuine friends, and more.”

Sol Orwell Founder, “I have to go with: inaction. New entrepreneurs tend to overthink things that don’t really matter (logo, copy, etc.), but instead of validating their idea, they get lost in the weeds.”

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