Facebook, in collaboration with the government and the National Technology Fund (Ignite), launched the first Facebook Innovation Lab in Pakistan on Wednesday.
"The Innovation Lab will focus on providing infrastructure access to developers, entrepreneurs and community groups, enabling them to network, train and grow their expertise," a press release for the event stated.
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The lab will host future initiatives, including housing community events, workshops and training for startups. It also welcomes startups and entrepreneurs based in Pakistan who would like to deep dive into the emerging technology space. The initiative will also help developers build products and applications using emerging technology like Virtual Reality (VR).
The lab is located in the National Incubation Center (NIC) at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). Several policy makers and technocrats attended the launching ceremony.
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“We are proud to launch the Facebook Innovation Lab as a part of our long term commitment to support innovation and the developer community in Pakistan," said Jason Lin, head of Startup Programmes (APAC), Facebook.
She said that Facebook was committed to building an impactful community in the country and the management of the social media platform believes it is important to support businesses, startups 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, Ignite, National Incubation Centre (NIC) Lahore, and LUMS, Facebook Innovation Lab will not only be a unique training and innovation center, but will support a vibrant and transformative technology community in the country."
According to the statement, the Lab will give startups 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.
Ignite CEO Yusuf Hussain said, “Augmented Reality (AR), VR and Artificial Intelligence (AI) 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 platform, will help launch this crucial 4IR technology in Pakistan in a big way.”
LUMS Vice Chancellor, Dr. Arshad Ahmad said,“Innovation is the backbone of cutting edge research and quality teaching at LUMS."
He added that the lab provides leverage to our core offerings and enables us to achieve another level of training and mentorship as it promises to create social capital amongst young entrepreneurs that will drive their ideas with no boundaries.