The Road to APICTA
The Asia-Pacific ICT awards are a prestigious event within the IT industry. It is no mean feat then that the P@SHA (Pakistan Software Houses Association) delegation came away with seven merit awards in six different categories at the APICTA ceremony held on October 18, 2010, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The Pakistani delegates won merit awards in the categories of security application, e-inclusion, e-community, financial industry applications, communications and e-government. CARE (Centre for Advanced Research in Engineering) won in three categories while Cure MD Pvt Ltd, Aerocar, Solo Tech and Avanza Solutions took a silver each. Earlier, they had either won, or were runners-up in the local industry awards held in Lahore last month which, in fact, contributed towards their selection for APICTA 2010.
The president of P@SHA, Jehan Ara, says that this year the biggest national delegation yet was taken to APICTA: a team of 25 people – three of whom were judges. They were representatives from 17 companies and two universities. This wasn’t easy, as enough money had to be raised through sponsors to cover costs.
Each participant had to sell their product to a panel of judges by making a presentation. And presentations remained a strong point of the P@SHA delegation, credit for which also goes to the senior members of the Pakistani delegation who acted as mentors, conducted sessions and worked closely with the participants to make their presentations – and thus products – award-winning.
According to Jehan Ara, this process also gave the participants direction and taught them discipline. “They learnt to be competition-specific,” she says. They could not make sales presentations; they had to meet a certain criteria and thus address only those points. One nominee who thought he had done a great job by speaking for five extra minutes, learnt the hard way the discipline such competitions demand. “The judges gave him negative marks, whereas if he had stuck to his given time frame, he could have won,” says Jehan Ara.
The objectives for participation, she says, are many. APICTA is a good opportunity to show the Asia-Pacific region the kind of cutting-edge technology work that is happening in Pakistan. Local products benchmarked against products created across the Asia-Pacific region is really telling of how good the local products are. And the participants are able to network with other companies from around the region, form affiliations and launch joint ventures – widening their and the local industry’s business prospects.
“APICTA is not only an opportunity to create revenue for the company, but to also generate value for the country. People need to know that there are educated people in Pakistan, and that we are in the technology space as well,” Jehan Ara says.
What was missing at the event, though, was government participation. While all the other countries’ relevant members from government attended, there was nobody to represent the Pakistani government, even though they were offered an expense-free trip. “We will continue to do this with or without government support, but I wish we did have a little support from it,” says Jehan Ara.
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