By Yasir Masood
In recent years, Pakistan has witnessed a rise in startups. From Airlift to Sehat Kahani, various entrepreneurs have managed to attract venture capitalists as well as consumers.
It is a fact that with a population of approximately 217 million and a consumer spending of 257 billion USD, Pakistan is a lucrative market for startups.
However, it is equally important to wonder whether the same is true for overseas Pakistanis wishing to start their ventures in a foreign land. After all, as of 2017, UNDESA reports that there are over 6 million Pakistanis living abroad.
Is it easy for overseas Pakistanis to establish successful startups? Well, the journey does feature its fair share of challenges.
Understanding the market
The world might have become a global village. However, it is still divided by culture, customs, and behavior. What might work in the Pakistani market might not be ideal in a foreign land.
For example, in countries with a streamlined public transport system, ventures like Airlift might not seem as disruptive as they do in Pakistan.
One of the first challenges overseas Pakistanis may face when setting up their business in foreign countries is understanding the marketplace, the consumers, and their needs and desires.
Navigating foreign laws and regulations
Regardless of where you set your business, there are certain rules and regulations you must abide by. In a foreign country, grasping these laws and applying for different licenses may seem quite hectic.
This is when it is often advised that professional help is sought. Lawyers from the district the business is to be set in can help in navigating the murky waters.
One of the most important challenges faced by all startups around the world is funding. With the depreciating value of the Pakistani currency, even the most financially sound Pakistanis might find themselves strapped for cash when setting up a business.
Here, seeking help from venture capitalists is a great way to combat cash flow issues.
Auto Coin Cars – A Shining Case
While setting up a business in a foreign land is surely difficult, it is not impossible. One success story that has caught the eyes of many is that of an overseas Pakistani named Mustansar Iqbal. His venture Auto Coin Cars, is based in the UK. It helps in facilitating the purchasing of vehicles via cryptocurrency.
As cryptocurrency gains momentum throughout the world, Iqbal’s venture has become a viable platform for purchasing automobiles.
It also illustrates that startups of overseas Pakistanis can excel.
If you are an ex-pat wishing to launch your business in another country, make sure to:
• Have a great business idea
• Approach venture capitalists
• Be patient and don’t expect an instantaneous result
• Collaborate with local partners.
It might not be easy for overseas Pakistanis or anyone to have a startup in a foreign land, it is certainly doable. With the right strategy, assets, and mindset, there is no land you cannot base your business in.