Pakistan launches National Aerospace Science and Technology Park to encourage high-tech startups

Pakistan launched the National Aerospace Science and Technology Park (NASTP) to enhance enhancing aerospace capabilities, generate high-tech jobs, promote technological self-sufficiency, and nurture an entrepreneurial ecosystem in the country of 241 million people.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif inaugurated the tech park established at the Pakistan Air Force Nur Khan Base in Rawalpindi on August 4.

Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Zaheer Ahmed Baber Sidhu received the prime minister on his arrival at the Base for the inauguration ceremony of NASTP. Foreign delegates, high-level dignitaries, including COAS General Asim Munir, Federal Ministers, and senior government officials also attended the ceremony.

The premier also inaugurated National Incubation Center for Aerospace Technologies (NICAT), Pakistan’s premier aerospace and deep tech incubation center.

Multi-dimensional benefits

During his address, the prime minister emphasized that the National Aerospace Science and Technology Park holds immense national and strategic importance, promising to yield numerous multi-dimensional benefits for the country.

“The NASTP project would induce technological advancement and would make the country more self-reliant by providing a platform for the youth and our future generations,” PM Sharif said. “The project is equipped with state-of-the-art design, innovation, research, and development centers which would provide ample opportunities for foreign investment in the country.”

National Aerospace Science and Technology Park (NASTP)
(from left to right) Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Air Chief Marshal Zaheer Ahmed Baber Sidhu, Army Chief General Syed Asim Munir, Defense Minister Khawaja Asif, Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal, NICAT executive Air Marshal Ghulam Abbas Ghumman and Turkish defense firm Baykar’s chairman Selcuk Bayraktar, at the NASTP launch ceremony on August 4, 2023, in Rawalpindi. (Image Credit: PID)

Additionally, he highlighted that the NASTP project is a highly promising project that will leverage the collective wisdom and “would contribute to kick-starting Pakistan’s economy to bring it on a fast track toward progression.”

NASTP and NICAT

NASTP boasts state-of-the-art design, innovation, research, and development centers, offering ample opportunities for foreign investment in the country. The project will drive research, development, and innovation in aviation, space, cyber, and computing, yielding social, economic, technological, and scientific dividends for Pakistan and its valuable partners.

“With state-of-the-art facilities, access to industry mentors, networking opportunities, and a vibrant ecosystem, NICAT is the ideal launchpad for startups in Aerospace, Aviation, Deep Tech, High-Tech Manufacturing and ICT sectors”, said Imran Jattala, the project director of NICAT.

The project marks a significant milestone in boosting the independent economy and fostering unprecedented technological advancements in the country.

Funded by the Government of Pakistan, NICAT is a collaborative effort of Ignite National Technology Fund, Ministry of IT, NASTP, and a public-private consortium including NetSol Technologies, Air University, Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC), and Innovators Garage (IG).

NICAT Achievements in 2023

NICAT inducts startups every six months through a rigorous process with judges from industry and academia.

In its March 2023 intake, NICAT inducted 27 startups working in aerospace, deep tech, health tech, and travel tech domains and offered them mentorships, business training, specific domain training, and industry exposure. “This effort resulted in PKR 186 million+ revenue, 239+ jobs, and committed investments totaling PKR 65 million,” according to Jattala.

  • Startups inducted in March 2023: 27 (16 Aerospace and 11 Deep Tech/Health Tech/Travel Tech)
  • Total Revenue generated: PKR 186M+
  • Total Jobs Created: 239+
  • Total Investment Committed: PKR 65M+
  • Women-Led Startups: 5 Startups

Serving as a hub for aspiring entrepreneurs and innovators, NICAT will provide essential resources, mentorship, and infrastructure to nurture ground-breaking ideas. The next cohort will begin in September 2023.

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