On Wednesday 19th November 2014 I attended a fire side chat with Badar Khusnood Pakistan Country Consultant Google, organized by Startup Grind Lahore which is powered by Google for Entrepreneurs. The host for the evening was Zohaib Khan Director of Startup Grind.
Many things were discussed, where questions were answered from various topics such as incubators, accelerators, how a non-techie can play his role in a startup.
Following is the round up of the things discussed:
What Badar’s role is at Google Pakistan, and how he started his careers. He explained he graduated in Economics form Lahore School of Economics, and joined Nishat Textile. Then he moved to work for Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority. He then further told us what he does at Google. He is involved in conducting market research and also helping Google understand the Pakistani market. He was also instrumental in the role of Google’s Chairman Eric Schmidt visiting Pakistan in 2012, and also the visit of Nelson Mattos, VP Emerging Markets Google. Badar is also part of a Google Scouts program in which was started in 2005 by Google to scout for emerging markets in the world.
The issue of youtube being banned in Pakistan and what it would take it to be un-banned. The main reason that he gave was that in countries such the offensive video which caused a hue cry has been banned in many countries, but the problem in Pakistan is that in order to do so youtube would have to be established in Pakistan with a domain of youtube.com.pk or youtube.pk and in order to do that legislations and laws are required to be in place for such a thing, but unfortunately in Pakistan we lack this. Google can not implement the ban just for Pakistan on youtube.com website as it comes under US laws, ad jurisdiction, while the .com.pk or the .pk version will come under Pakistan’s laws and jurisdictions.
Differences between incubators, and accelerators were also discussed where the audience also posed their questions which were answered by Badar. Basically incubators are supposed to build a proof of concept of an idea, and the idea is validated at this stage. Accelerators come at the stage when the startups are to further grow and build their products and ideas.
The models to generate funds for the company which companies follow, and he listed the following as the ones which a startup can adopt:
- bootstrap your startup, that is spend your savings on your startup
- ask your family and friends to give you the money
- find an angel investor to invest in your startup
- offer your time for money become a services based company doing freelance work for clients and then use the money earned to support your products
- find venture capitals to invest in your company
Google’s interests in Pakistan and also how Google has helped Pakistan in times of need were also discussed. We were told that USD $1 million were distributed to non-profit companies who were working to help ease the effects of the 2010 floods in Pakistan.
Furthermore, it was emphasized that an entrepreneur should be a jack of all trades, and that he should acquire skills in the fields which require building, running and growing a business. Such fields include, technical (IT), marketing, accounting, sales, and administration. It is good to hire some one for that particular post, but if you are starting out, you should learn as much as you can.
Networking is also very important, as entrepreneurship can not be done alone. Meet new people and find a common connection with that person whom you want to meet. The only way to do that is to get out of the building and to talk to people, attend events.
After the talk I met with entrepreneurs from different companies, and shared ideas and discussed strategies with them.
Overall the talk and the networking activity that followed was quite engaging and inspirational and i recommend that entrepreneurs who are starting out attend such events so that they too can learn and network with other entrepreneurs.
The pictures below have been shared with permission from Startup Grind Lahore.
The pictures were taken by ShutterWorks Photography.
Updates: The date of the event was corrected. The actual date was Wednesday 20th November 2014.
The source for the pictures was added.