The MITCEF BAP program has been a pathway to opening a lot of doors, opportunities and business insights for its participants over the past several months. Announced back in August, companies in Pakistan had been asked to participate in a series of presentations under guidance which describe a plan by that company to accelerate their business to the next level. Winners had the chance to present the growth plan at MIT in the USA in front of VCs and other industry leaders.
From when the program started, I have it on record that the following companies were selected to participate initially:
- Expert Systems: Consultancy, IT Solutions and Project Management company
- Netkom Technologies: Telecom hardware and software solutions
- Trango Interactive: Computer Games, Broadcast, Film and Multimedia Application support (also a Red Herring Asia 100 winner)
- Turnotech Solutions: Solutions to Wireless Communication Service Providers
- Alchemy Technologies: Enterprise Risk Consulting and Solutions
- Business Beam: Process Improvement Consulting (CMMI and more)
- PIBAS Pakistan: Banking Solutions Provider
- Premier Software: Custom Software Solutions, Networking Setup and IT Training
- Server4Sale: Dedicated Server Hosting, DDOS Migration and other hosting services
- SoftTech WW: Web-based Distance Learning Solutions
- Tohfay Pakistan: E-Commerce for gifts and confectionery items
- Autosoft Dynamics: Software Products for Financial Services Industry
- GeniTeam: Virtual Staffing Solutions for FLEX and Web2.0 based projects
- KomKonsult: Telecommunications Services
- Progressive Multimedia Systems: Custom Database and Web-based Applications
- Sofizar: E-Commerce for Event Tickets, Travel and Hotel Packages for the North American market
- Softech Systems: Software Products for the Financial and Capital sectors
The past few months — with whatever little time we had — I have been trying to ask some of these participating companies about their experiences.
Read on for how the program has been for them.
There are a few reasons why I am very impressed with the MIT BAF program in terms of why it is has been a very compelling program for companies
1- Beyond the participating companies, nearly all the mentors came from the Pakistani or Ex-Pat community of businessmen and ex-entrepreneurs. All of the mentors not only understood local market issues very well, but had also proven their ability to deliver despite these odds.
2- The program was designed to involve the mentors in a fairly hands-on fashion — companies were able to vet their business plans thoroughly and get fairly brutal feedback from the mentors.
3- This was a program where clearly, the end-goal is just the cherry on top. In fact the process and experience in itself is the prize. This was not just a one-time presentation contest, but rather a series of workshops, mentoring sessions, business plan revisions, vetting sessions, and multiple rounds of selection based on the strict premise that the plan would improve over time.
I have spoken to the CEO of GeniTeam about their experience with the program – he loved the types of business opprunities that have opened for them, the thinking process they now have instilled in them, and the areas of new strategy and ideas that the process has opened for their firm.
I have also heard feedback from Jawwad briefly, but his detailed response seems to point to the same idea – that while the process wasn’t something that gave them a silver spoon from day one, but rather it challenged their firm to find the best from within themselves.
The big news at the end of this comes for the five companies below who have been selected to be among the final 5 companies in the program.
1. Softech Systems
2. Alchemy Technologies
4. Autosoft Dynamics
5. Tohfay Pakitan
Considering that the program did not just involve building the plan but also testing it with actual customers and partners, this is indeed an achievement.
Congratulations to them.
For other participants (Mansoor?) Please give your own thoughts and experiences below.