Invent Business Plan Competition
The year 2010 witnessed the inception of Invent after which it became a yearly tradition. Since then, more than 5,000 students from over 60 universities nationwide have participated in this student business plan competition and have been mentored by professionals from over 26 organizations.
Three consecutive years of Invent have brought about some significant changes on the entrepreneurial horizon of Pakistan. Firstly, Invent today has become the largest student business plan competition of Pakistan. Secondly, it has shattered the widespread misconception that that business plan competitions are for business majors only. Such a change in perception is crucial for a greater paradigm shift in the Pakistan’s entrepreneurial sector. Thirdly, the past three events have promoted a culture of productive interaction between the academia and industrial sectors. Over 450 entrepreneurial ideas by students have been presented to the commercial sector. Such interaction has led to commercialization of tens of ideas that have generated real economic value for the country, and which otherwise would have been left unnoticed.
The Competition Process
The event spans over a period of four months. Here is a short summary of the program.
1. Groups of students from different universities register. Each group consists of students from different areas of specialization including business and engineering and register with a project for the competition. There are two mandatory requirement for submission, one that team has to be multi-disciplinary and second the project/idea has to be vetted and signed off by two domain experts to qualify.
2. Training centers are set up in different cities including Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar, Multan, Bhawalpur , Taxila, Quetta, Sukkur and Gujranwala. At this stage there is no elimination and each and every registered student and team is allow to attend the training program. Here, they are educated on element of business plan and elevator pitch by trainers and mentors. The 2-3 days training in two parts. The first half of each day is classroom training and during the second half the teams are given one-to-one mentoring by entrepreneurs and professional from the industry. The element of competition is inculcated from the word go and at the end of each day teams are selected to give presentation on their project to the participants followed by trainer comments on each of the presentation for clearing concepts and improved learning . The teams are then given 2-3 weeks to work on a business plan (BP) and elevator pitch for submission.
3. The short listed projects/groups are then assigned industry mentors to interact one-on-one by professionals from tens of public and private organizations who train them on how create Business Plans and Draft Presentations. This is usually 4-6 week time frame to allow the team for researching and developing BP’s. Once submitted the Draft BPs are submitted to panel of judges for shortlisting and moving to the next stage.
4. Generally there are 50+ BPs selected for the final round and are brought back for a more intense training on BP and improving their elevator pitch. The teams are given 2-4 weeks for working with their mentors to submit their final business plans for submission and judging for the final round.
5. The final 10 teams are selected and brought to Karachi 3 days prior to the final day presentation and trained on presentation skills and assistance in polishing their business plans.
6. Finalists then present before the judges and three winners are selected. A total of Rs. 2.5 million is awarded to the three finalists as cash prize. An additional Rs. 1.4 million as seed money is also given to the finalists at various stages of their entrepreneurial ventures.