Facebook and Pakistan's Ministry of Information Technology along with the National Technology Fund (IGNITE) launched the first Facebook Innovation Lab at the National Incubation Centre (NIC) in LUMS. The launch event, held on Wednesday, April 3, 2019, was attended by several thought leaders from across the world who came together and debated on issues such as women and technology; the impact VR has on social good and impactful ways to harness technology for positive community initiatives.
The Facebook Innovation Lab Pakistan is the first innovation lab launched by Facebook in Pakistan. It will focus on providing infrastructure access to developers, entrepreneurs and community groups enabling them to network, train and grow their expertise. It will also help developers build products and applications using emerging technology like Virtual Reality (VR).
The Lab will give start-ups the infrastructure and the access they need to refine and scale their business models so they can succeed in Pakistan and scale internationally. The Lab not only provides a showcase of the latest technology, but participants will be matched with mentors, as well as connect with Facebook's global and exclusive experts, industry leaders, and specialists in product innovation, business growth, and data protection. Participants will be able to access FbStart, a global programme designed to help start-ups build and grow their businesses. Finally, participants will be encouraged to connect and support other developers and entrepreneurs through Developer Circles, a community-driven programme for developer collaboration.
Facebook Innovation Lab Pakistan also aims at encouraging South Asia’s spirit of entrepreneurship and start-up growth. In addition, the Lab will also host initiatives such as housing community events and workshops and provide trainings for start-ups. A key feature of the Lab is that it welcomes start-ups and entrepreneurs based in Pakistan who would like to deep dive into the emerging technology space.
“We are proud to launch Facebook Innovation Lab as a part of our long term commitment to support innovation and the developer community in Pakistan. Facebook is committed to building an impactful community in Pakistan and we believe it is important to support businesses, start-ups and the individuals who are driving innovation to grow and succeed. We are confident that through our partnership with the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecom, National Incubation Centre (NIC) Lahore, Ignite and LUMS, the Facebook Innovation Lab will not only be a unique training and innovation centre, but will support a vibrant and transformative technology community in the country,” said Jason Lin, Programme Manager, Partnerships at Facebook.
Appreciating the initiative, Dr. Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecom said, “We are proud to partner with Facebook Innovation Lab Pakistan. This partnership supports our commitment to creating lasting and sustainable technological growth for Pakistan's start-up community. The power of this community, to effect change and ultimately generate positive economic and social impact for all of Pakistan today and for the future is what excites us the most. We are excited to support our vibrant community in Lahore to help them build an impactful ecosystem.”
Yusuf Hussain, CEO Ignite said, “Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Artificial Intelligence are rapidly expanding and will be major sectors of the future. Ignite's partnership with Facebook, one of the world's leading AR/VR development platforms, will help launch this crucial 4IR technology in Pakistan in a big way.”
Expressing his pride at the establishment of the Lab at NIC, LUMS Vice Chancellor, Dr. Arshad Ahmad said, “Innovation is the backbone of cutting edge research and quality teaching at LUMS. The Facebook Innovation Lab Pakistan provides leverage to our core offerings and enables us to achieve another level of training and mentorship – it promises to create social capital amongst young entrepreneurs that will drive their ideas with no boundaries.”
Facebook Innovation Lab looks forward to welcoming start-ups that will represent the diversity of Pakistan's technology innovation. Start-ups and developers can register their interest to join the Lab here.