11 young entrepreneurs, leading 11 startups, have graduated from The Founder Institute Islamabad with sponsorship from Telenor Pakistan that comprised mentoring in some specialized areas and a financial component. Graduating founders, chosen out of a total of 128 eligible applicants, have created tech startups that will be innovatively addressing economic and social problems, reducing market distortions, and creating jobs.
Founder Institute started its first ever semester in Pakistan from Karachi last year and in November 2015 the inaugural semester of The Founder Institute Islamabad was launched. The program saw 567 candidates attending its exploratory seminars, and 128 founders taking the proprietary Predictive Assessment Test and applying to join. After assessment, 28 founders were enrolled, and 11 founders have successfully completed the semester and graduated.
The 4 month, highly structured, learning-by-doing course is an extremely rigorous training program that covers all aspects necessary for startups to survive, compete, and scale. Globally, the graduation rate of founders in FI chapters in over a 100 cities around the world ranges from 10% to 30% of the enrolled class. Graduates have a high chance of enduring success, with almost half obtaining funding that has valued them at over $ 15 billion.
Graduating founders will be addressing problems and opportunities in many areas with high upside potential. 19 year old Arzish Aslam, the youngest FI graduate from amongst 1500+ in the world, who intends to revolutionize the shopping experience by finding the best prices and value through ‘Just Price Shopping’. Sihah Waris, the first female FI graduate in Pakistan, wants to provide working mothers with a stress-free online daycare monitoring system ‘Rise Mom’. Kamran Khan aims to deliver interactive online tutoring for high school children through ‘Future Learning’, and Sarfraz Arshad wants to empower patients to find the most suitable doctor and daily health tips through ‘Talk Health.’
Certificates were awarded to all 11 Founder Institute graduates. Sihah Waris, founder of Rise Mom, was declared the Top Founder of the program and was awarded Rs.25,000 winning prize from Telenor Pakistan.
Addressing the graduating class, CEO Telenor Pakistan, Michael Foley said:
Today, we reiterate our commitment to empowering Pakistan through social innovation. It gives me great pleasure to see our efforts coming to fruition with highly talented youth of Pakistan becoming ready to contribute the best of their competencies to make the country a better, happier place. With digital inclusion being one of our key missions, we will continue and boost our support for digital innovation in Pakistan at all levels.
Yusuf Hussain, Director Founder Institute and CEO DM Ventures said:
It has been energizing and fulfilling to see our bright, young and passionate founders grow and evolve during the semester and accomplish challenges that they had not thought possible at the outset. Islamabad offers unique opportunities, with its leading engineering universities and headquarters of telecom and public sector organizations, which tech startups can leverage to create enduring businesses that innovatively solve problems, disrupt and scale.
Sharing his thoughts, Sayyed Ahmad Masud, Director, The Founder Institute, said:
Those who know us know it well that graduating from The Founder Institute is an uphill task in every sense of the word. I congratulate the 11 Founders for successfully completing the program and making us proud with their approach to simplifying life with relevant, state-of-the-art digital solutions. I would also like to thank Telenor Pakistan for their support in helping us train these young minds and for their mentorship in making their dreams come true.
Irfan Wahab Khan, Deputy CEO and CMO, Telenor Pakistan, said:
Telenor Pakistan and The Founder Institute share the goals of digital inclusion, social innovation, and empowerment of the society which can be achieved in one go by channelizing the Pakistani youth. I extend my heartiest congratulations to the graduating founders today, not only for their successful completion of the training program, but also for their brilliant startup ideas that carry very strong potential of transforming lives in Pakistan.