Time and again I have heard people in my network who have a software house or work as a freelancer or are in the process of developing a startup product say the following:

  1. Developing a solution for Pakistan’s market is not profitable.
  2. There is no return on investment.
  3. We prefer dealing with international clients.
  4. The local market does not pay well.
  5. Why are you wasting time developing solutions for the local market?
  6. People do not understand technology here, you will not be able to scale.
  7. Wrong market. Go abroad.
  8. No one will pay you just white label and sell abroad.

So the above are just a few forms of responses and encouragement we get when ever there is a discussion on our startup ecosystem, tech and digital inclusion in the country. I personally respect all of these point of views because they all are speaking from experience, and experience is something we all need to listen to. BUT I do get bothered with these perspectives and the inquisitive me then has a lot of questions, few I am going to post here for you.

Startups are supposed to provide solutions for a market or community, so if we are not the ones then who will be creating and delivering solutions for OUR market? Martians? Please do share their address because there are tons of ideas lying around that we can ask them to work on.

Only we are fully aware of the problems that exist here.

When it comes to tech solutions, yes we have not adopted tech and the digital world as we should have. But then the question arises, have WE failed as solution providers to create solutions as per the local market? Where did the creativity or innovation go?

Lets look at this from another perspective as well. The international market pays for a tech solution in dollars and Pakistani rupee can definitely not fight with that. So as ordinary citizens of this country we are stuck with this situation, so now how to come about it? If we really are entrepreneurs and solution providers we should be brainstorming on solutions that are not directly impacted by the rupee fluctuation.

The most challenging markets make way for good solutions because they are an opportunity. I feel we should pounce and take up the challenge because we have not been able to find any Martians to do the job for us and we will never find them anyway. It is heck lot of work but WHAT IF we all work together as a community and focus less on scarcity and cheap competition amongst ourselves as result of this scarcity mentality, and focus more on opportunity, developing meaningful collaborations and moving forward. What will we create? Plus I feel we need to join hands with foreign partners more to develop solutions for Pakistani market. The more diverse minds work together the more better solutions we can have.

The most challenging markets make way for good solutions because they are an opportunity.

It is easy to get scared of a daunting market like Pakistan when it comes to tech solutions and their adoption but that is how good startups are born which employ people. What message are we sending to the international community by not taking up the challenges ourselves right here right now. Making flashy stuff through simple copy paste is common, be different, take on the challenge, come forward lets make solutions for Pakistani market and push the market towards digitization. We have us, each other and Pakistan, time to take ownership and FIX IT.

We need to join hands with foreign partners more to develop solutions for Pakistani market.

These are my perspectives and I would like to know what you think or what examples you have. If you are a startup working on tech solutions for Pakistan, then I would love to know if you also faced the same situation. Lets connect and learn from each other.

Originally posted on Linkedin