Durshal Mardan will soon be followed by Swat, Peshawar, Swabi, Kohat, Dera Ismail Khan and other districts of KP
To promote jobs for youth in the digital economy, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has planned something exciting for entrepreneurial youth.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information and Technology Board have launched ‘Durshal’ a government innovation lab in Mardan, Durshal – Pakistan’s largest network of tech incubators and co-working spaces.
The inauguration ceremony was adorned by the Senior Minister for Health & Information Technology, Mr. Shahram Khan Tarakai who was also the Chief Guest for the occasion along with the Minister for Education, Mr. Atif Khan and other dignitaries.
Durshal provides co-working space for young innovators to come together and propose innovative technology solutions to local governments & agencies for their governance & service delivery needs.
The aim of Durshal project is to stimulate startup and entrepreneurial culture in the province by setting up a network of symbiotic centres called ‘Durshal’, across the region. The plan is to leverage these centres for incubating potential startups while also provide co-working space for digital freelancers.
Durshal Mardan will be serving to nurture the emerging startup culture in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, particularly in the vicinity of Mardan district. KP IT Board’s vision is to set up a network of symbiotic centres of innovation under the ‘Durshal’ initiative.
Initially, Durshals would be established in 7 different districts across the province and eventually across all other remaining districts. The plan is to leverage these centres for incubating potential startups while also providing co-working space for digital freelancers in a highly equipped facility.
Furthermore, the incubators will be taken on board for a period of 6 months and will undergo an intensive program followed by comprehensive mentorship sessions under the supervision of leading mentors in the tech industry. These startups incubated at each Durshal will be offered a training/learning sessions spread over a 6-month period. Each of these training sessions will be delivered at a preselected Durshal location and will be telecast live to the other (Durshal) locations.
The goal of Durshal project is to ensure the success of resident startups by not only providing them with the necessary resources but also equipping them with the crucial business know-how. The idea, therefore, is to provide the incubated startups access to a network of mentors who could potentially guide them towards their true north during their 6-month entrepreneurial journey.
While speaking to the ceremony Minister IT, Mr. Shahram Khan Tarakai expressed his views on the occasion and stated that “KP IT Board’s Durshal initiative is the much-needed step towards ensuring the province’s digital transformation. The provincial government is continuously pursuing its vision by investing in the youth of the province which will trigger the economic growth of the province. I am really excited for this project as it would not only contribute to the Digital Economy but also provide a better solution in terms of Digital Governance”.
Since 2014, KPITB, Code for Pakistan and the World Bank have successfully run various initiatives, including three cycles of the KP Civic Innovation Fellowship Program with more than 100 graduated Fellows. The Fellowship teams partnered with various government departments including the Traffic Police Department, Provincial Disaster Management Authority, Health Department, KP IT Board, Directorate of IT, and Energy & Power Department to develop different open source applications, many of which continue to be utilized.