ISLAMABAD: Mobilink and LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship (LCE) have signed an agreement whereby, the Telco in collaboration with LCE will scout, mentor and provide sustenance to LCE’s next cohort of 12 to 18 prospective business startups. This extension of support to young entrepreneurs is being carried out by Mobilink under their ‘Make Your Mark’ (MYM) initiative with the objective of ‘Helping young people shape their future’. The partnership will see Mobilink support LCE by providing financial and non-financial assistance to help them in their pursuit of supporting the enhancement of the entrepreneurial eco-system in Pakistan.
The MoU signing ceremony, between LUMS and Mobilink, was attended by Sohaib Arshad, Manager Corporate Responsibility – Mobilink, Dr. Ahsan-UL-Haq, acting VC – LUMS, and Khurram Zafar, Executive Director – LCE, along with the top management of LCE and currently incubated start-ups at the Center.
Speaking about this incubator support initiative, Omar Manzur stated, “Our commitment to nurture and cultivate emerging talent is a fundamental element of our CSR approach and extends out to significantly contribute to nurturing young entrepreneurs who place enormous value on innovation, have cutting-edge ideas and are willing to take risks. We look to lessen their challenges and overcome road-blocks through our years of experience, comprehensive business consultancy and mentorship.” He further added, “The initiatives planned under our ‘Make Your Mark’ program will offer support to a variety of beneficiaries to tackle the socio-economic challenges in Pakistan. The ultimate aim of MYM is enabling a generation of educated and tech-literate young people to help themselves, their communities in a bid to drive growth in the broader economy.”
Since LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship began its program, it has mentored and groomed over 80 entrepreneurs and the startup businesses have created a total of over 120 direct and 350+ indirect jobs. The combined annualized revenues of the startups based on last month’s figures is approaching $250,000. These startups have also raised nearly $600,000 in investment from local and foreign investors. Moreover, the combined valuation of the businesses at which these startups have raised money at, or have had investor term sheets offered, is over $5 Million. With its third batch in the final phase of its graduation, LCE is currently accepting application for its fourth batch.
Khurram Zafar, Executive Director of LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship, while speaking about this partnership with Pakistan’s leading Telco, stated, “We look forward to continue to scout and support passionate Pakistani entrepreneurs in collaboration with Mobilink and its Make Your Mark initiative. The shared vision both organizations have to bolster entrepreneurship in Pakistan will go a long way towards strengthening this partnership over the long haul. We are thankful to Mobilink for the support it has extended.”
The ‘Make Your Mark’ initiative, launched by Mobilink last month, is a key element of VimpelCom’s corporate responsibility strategy. It aims to provide young people with technology tools, support and mentoring, and in some cases access to basic education, to help them tackle these challenges at an individual, community and national level – to shape their future. Under the Make Your Mark umbrella, Mobilink has also partnered Pakistan Centre for Philanthropy, Institute of Social and Policy Sciences, and GuarantCo and is working on expanding its mLiteracy program to reach out to an additional 3750 rural females in addition to establishing state-of-the-art ICT labs.