How to Register a Foreign Company in Pakistan

Pakistan has a liberal foreign investment regime, which allows foreign investors to make investments and open their offices in Pakistan. The foreign investors can do so through a wholly-owned subsidiary in all sectors of the economy including the IT Sector. Moreover, the investors also have the liberty of repatriating the profits to their home country.

Moreover, to boost the IT sector in Pakistan, the government grants certain tax privileges and exemptions to companies in the IT sector. For instance, income that has been generated through IT exports is exempted from income tax (which is typically applicable on all exports and services).  

Here we have listed the steps a foreign company can take to register in Pakistan.

Step 1: Choose a category

The first step is to choose a category for the company. A foreign investor can choose between two categories: private limited and single member private limited, which can be incorporated with the Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP):

  • Single Member Company (Maximum one shareholder, minimum one director)
    Foreign companies that have only one shareholder should choose this category.
  • Private limited (Minimum two shareholders and maximum 50 shareholders, minimum of two directors)
    This category is ideal for foreign companies that have more than one shareholders or partners.

Once you have decided the category, the next step is to collect all the required documents.

Step 2: List of requisite documents/ information

The following documents/information are required to be submitted with the SECP for incorporation.

The list of requisite documents/information includes:

  • Name of the company     
  • Principal Line of Business (a brief description of intended business)
  • Correspondence address in Pakistan  
  • Name of shareholder(s), Director(s) and Chief Executive along with their copies of passport in case of a foreigner or CNIC/POC/NICOP in case of Pakistani
  • Detail of shares to be subscribed by each shareholder
  • Undertaking by the foreign shareholders and directors on the prescribed format
  • Documents related to a foreign company (in case the proposed shareholder is a company)
    • Profile of the company
    • Detail of its directors, their nationality and country of origin
    • Board Resolution (Approval of investment in a local company)
    • Articles of association  
    • Memorandum of association
    • Certificate of incorporation
  • Evidence of Payment of incorporation fee (depending on authorized capital, the fee can be as low as approximately PKR 3,000)

SECP requires that all documents/information collected regarding the foreign company should be filed with the registrar after they have been:

  • Certified to be true by the public officer in the country where the company is incorporated/ Notary public of the country where the company is incorporated/ an affidavit of a responsible officer of the company in the country where the company is incorporated.
  • Authenticated by a Pakistani diplomatic consular or consulate officer

Upon submission of these documents to the SECP, the SECP shall issue a certificate of incorporation and a National Tax Number (NTN) will be issued to the company at the time of incorporation.

The company can now commence its operations.

As mentioned above, for any foreign company to incorporate in Pakistan, it is necessary to have a physical address. Instead of spending your time and money on renting/leasing a place and then furnishing it, you can get a serviced office at Kickstart. Our serviced office option provides you a fully furnished and fully serviced lockable office with all the office amenities provided by us.

Alongside the complete setup and management of your office, Kickstart also provides you support in legal and HR related matters through its partners. By signing up with Kickstart, you will have a partner in Pakistan that will be actively helping you to sort out your operational challenges in Pakistan even before your first representative lands here.

For more information about our services, please reach out to us at solutions@kickstart.pk.

 

Why You should Book Kickstart’s Meeting rooms

Have you ever had a meeting with a prospective client in a café or coffee place and felt uneasy because the music was too loud or the table next to you had a loud group of friends who won’t let you talk comfortably? If yes, then you’d know how cafes and coffee places might seem a good idea to have business meetings at first but on a closer look, have functional limitations to them.

Arranging a meeting at a cafe/coffee place might result in a number of inconveniences including:

· You cannot control the volume of music blasting from the speakers
· People sitting near your table
· No room of privacy

And last but not the least, it can become even more difficult if you want to have a meeting with a group of 5 to 10 people but either a few seats are preoccupied or your laptop screen is not visible to each of them.

To save yourself from any undesired situations or giving the wrong image to your clients/potential clients – the best option is to reserve a private meeting room at Kickstart. We have rooms available for capacity ranging from 2 to 25 and you can make use of the one that suits you best. Our meeting rooms come with amenities like projectors/LED TVs, Tea/Coffee, whiteboards, and reliable internet.

Here are the perks of booking a meeting room at Kickstart:
· Privacy
· Access to presentation tools
· Free coffee
· High-speed internet

Booking Process:
We have a very convenient process for booking a meeting room. You just need to visit our booking checkout page and add a booking request on your desired time and date. We will confirm your request as soon as possible and get back to you.

For more details about meeting rooms at Kickstart, write to us at solutions@kickstart.pk or Call us now: 0333-0596162

Virtual Office by Kickstart

What is a virtual office?

A virtual office is a service, which enables businesses or companies to use a number of business-related functions without having to actually bear the overhead costs of a leasing/renting a place. In other words, a virtual office is a convenient and hassle-free option when you don’t want a full-time office.

Virtual office lets businesses enjoy many of the benefits that physical offices have.

For instance, if your office is located in any city on the globe and you have limited business engagement in Lahore, and you want a station in Lahore where you can meet your customers and suppliers occasionally then our virtual office plans might be the answer for you.

Similarly, if you are located in Lahore and need an office for a formal business address or to have meetings with clients/prospective clients/suppliers/ or any other stakeholder, getting a virtual office will solve your problem.  

What does our virtual office offer?

Kickstart’s virtual office provides you the following services:

  • Business postal address/Mailing Address

By having a business postal address, you will also be able to receive and send your formal mail from Kickstart.  Moreover, potential customers/clients will also have more trust in your business.

  • Meeting rooms

You can arrange occasionally meetings with your stakeholders in Kickstart’s meeting rooms. PKR 1500-2500 meeting room credits that can be used to book various meeting rooms at Kickstart.

  • Day-pass
    With a day-pass, you can get a desk and work the entire day with unlimited coffee and high-speed internet to keep you motivated. You can make kickstart your work base for 1-2 days/month.

Benefits of Kickstart’s Virtual Office

Let’s discuss the pros of a virtual office:

  • The overhead cost of a virtual office compared to a traditional office setting is significantly lower. If you go for a virtual office, you don’t have to purchase/lease/rent a place, buy office furniture, or renovate the place.
  • The monthly cost of running a virtual office is far less than an orthodox office too. You don’t have to spend money on monthly bills, office staff or for maintenance purposes.
  • Virtual offices offer you great flexibility. You can change or customize the payment plans according to your requirements. For instance, if you want to expand meeting room hours or has to elongate the stay, he/she can simply purchase a new day-pass or purchase additional meeting room hours at a discounted price.  

Best suited for:

Virtual offices are best-suited for individuals and business who need:

  • Need an office for business address
  • Individuals having limited requirements for physical office like occasional meetings
  • People having limited requirements for working space


For more details about plans and pricing, please visit our location page and scroll down to virtual office plans.

Introducing Apollo: A Multipurpose Training Room

One of the most significant challenges faced by young trainers, skilled professionals, and other multiple such groups is the non-availability of a space to organize workshops, training sessions, and other events. Conducting workshops, language or coding classes,  hosting karaoke nights, recitals, stand-up comedies, talks, recitals, and focus groups becomes all the more difficult owing to logistical requirements that are part and parcel of these activities. Locking in a long-term rental contract is not an attractive option for trainers and professionals because of uncertainty about the turn-out: it can result in substantial financial losses if the turn-out is not as per expectation. For people who want to organize a one-time activity, a long-term lease is not an option at all.

While leasing and furnishing a private space for these activities can be an option in the longer run, but it does not seem lucrative keeping in view the upfront cost of leasing and furnishing, and high fixed costs and hassle of maintaining the space. Maintenance of space requires considerable attention and includes management of internet, audio/video, and power backup systems and general physical upkeep of the space. All this requires dedicated human resource which comes with additional fixed costs.

Aiming  to tackle these problems, Kickstart has recently launched Apollo, a workshop/seminar/training space (located in our coworking space at 58A2, Gulberg) which provides a hassle-free and convenient solution for trainers, entrepreneurs and skilled professionals who wish to conduct workshops, classes, training sessions and other events for small groups. Apollo is a fully-furnished room equipped with all the aids you would need; high-speed Wi-Fi connectivity, projectors, audio channels for surround sound, whiteboards, support from working staff, and a comfortable ambiance to ensure an enhanced learning experience.

Apollo can be used for a wide variety of activities from classes to workshops, musical lessons to yoga sessions, poetry recitals to panel talks, focus groups to community meet-ups and much more.

We have exclusive discounts for people wishing to organize community meetups and other events that are aligned with us. Please get in touch with us for information about this.

Booking Process:
We have a very convenient process for booking a meeting room. You just need to visit our booking checkout page and add a booking request on your desired time and date. We will confirm your request as soon as possible and get back to you.

For more information about availability, pricing, and discounts, please write to us at:

Email: solutions@kickstart.pk

Our team responds to all email queries at their earliest. You can also drop your contact information over email if you want our representative to get in touch with you on call.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kickstartpk

Kickstart Co-working Space offering 50% off to all Google Summer of Code participants

Kickstart Co-working Space is offering a 50% off to students selected for the Google Summer of Code Program.

Google Summer of Code is a global program focused on introducing students to open source software development. Students work on a 3-month programming project with an open source organization during their break from university, writing code while also earning a $2,400 stipend from Google.

During the program, participants are paired with a mentor from participating organizations thereby gaining exposure to real-world software development and techniques.

The program is open to university students above the age of 18, and is an excellent opportunity for students to engage with mentor organizations, learn about open source development and become a part of the open source community.

Deadline to submit proposals for the program is March 27th, 2017. Students who are selected will be offered 50% discounts at Kickstart Co-working Space. Working from Kickstart would also allow them an added opportunity to work alongside experienced professionals.

Innovation Pavilion joins Kickstart

Innovation Pavilion (IP) is an innovation and real estate services provider headquartered in Colorado, USA. The company partners with cities and real estate developers to build innovation campuses across the United States that help entrepreneurs and corporations thrive.

Layered on top is a three-pronged innovation services offering: city innovation, corporate innovation and incubation, and workforce development. Entrepreneurs can also benefit from the company’s huge network of investors, Fortune 500 corporations, supply chain partners, and service providers offering a plethora of services including financial, legal and marketing. IP also excels at convening entrepreneurial communities through events and live programming.

The company was founded by Pakistani-American serial entrepreneur Waqar “Vic” Ahmed, who had also started some of Pakistan’s first software companies. Already well-connected in the Pakistani market, IP has assembled a team in Lahore facilitating the US operations and exploring strategic opportunities in Pakistan. This Lahore team offices out of Kickstart Gulberg.

Serviced Office – A Cost Effective Office Solution

Serviced office at Kickstart is one of the most hassle-free office space solution available for small businesses, startups, and remote workers. If you are not aware of the services and benefits you can get out of a serviced office, you should read this now. Out of the benefits mentioned in the aforementioned article one that outweighs all others is that Serviced Office is also the most cost-effective office around. However, it does not seem so to some of the office seekers who compare a fully furnished and fully serviced office at a coworking space with per square foot rental cost of traditional (unfurnished) office rentals. We have compiled this post to explain how a serviced office is still a more cost-effective office solution despite its seemingly higher price tag.

 

We will consider what small teams comprising of 4-8 individuals will need to run an office and how much it costs. So the first thing is space: the teams under consideration will need a space to sit and work, a conference room for meetings, and a small pantry. Some might also want a guest reception and an area to dine and chill. But even if we stick to the necessary requirements, our team will need around 400-600 sq. ft. of space. Average office rental in Gulberg locality is PKR 80/sq.ft.

 

Other than space, our fictitious teams will need an internet connection, an office boy to run errands, do cleaning and general upkeep. The teams will also need to pay the utility bills for electricity and water and buy supplies (Tea/Coffee, water etc.) for the pantry. Aforementioned requirements are the bare minimum that a team will need to run an office.

Expense4-Person6-Person8-Person
Rental Expense320004000048000
Electricity Expense150002000025000
Internet6000800010000
Office Boy160001600016000
Kitchen500065008000
Miscellaneous5000800012000
Total7700098000117000
KS Serviced Office6800090000110000

If we add up the costs of absolute necessities required to run an office and compare it to the price of a serviced office at Kickstart, we can see which option provides more value. If you also factor in the cost of setting up and managing an office, value of working in a vibrant coworking community which results in better employee retention and productivity, our serviced office does not sound like a bad deal at all 🙂

To schedule a tour to Kickstart Gulberg, please click here. You can also opt for a free one day trial to get the feel of space and community.

 

 

5 Reasons why you should work from a serviced office at kickstart

Shared working spaces can play an important role in the life of entrepreneurs and freelancers who use the opportunity to work with others to learn and explore different opportunities together. However, after a particular stage, businesses prefer to have a private space of their own. But setting up a separate office kills the purpose of joining the coworking space in the first place. Depending on who you are asking, the purpose of joining a coworking space can be to become a part of a larger community, avoiding the hassle of setting up an office, benefiting from the experience and skills of the co-workers or having access to a diverse human resource at your disposal. Setting up a secluded office for the need of privacy can deprive businesses of all the advantages they had in a coworking space. However, a fully serviced private office joined to a coworking space provides a unique opportunity for businesses to have a private space of their own while retaining all the advantages of a coworking space.

Here are the top 5 reasons  to use a private, serviced office in a coworking space:

Hassle-free alternative to setting up your own office

Private office at Kickstart is a fully furnished office with all the amenities like high-speed internet, uninterrupted power, conference rooms, and discussion rooms. By choosing this option, you skip the gigantic, troublesome task of setting up your own office which starts with the hunt of a suitable property and involves working with a lot of vendors from electrician to carpenter to glazier and so on. So why not choose this option especially when it is also cost-effective?

It is cost-effective! Yes!

When you compare the price of a serviced office to your average real estate available at XYZ/sq ft, you might conclude that the serviced office is expensive.

But actually, a serviced office in a coworking space is the cheapest option around. It seems so when the cost of amenities like conference rooms, calling booths, Internet, power back-up, tea/coffee, maintenance and cleaning costs and services by the office boy is factored in.

Not to mention the upfront costs and hassle of setting up an office.

We have not yet factored in the benefits of being a part of a coworking community e.g. access to a quality human resource and a community!

Privacy!

All coworking spaces have unique cultures and it is not always guaranteed that the culture of the coworking space will suit your business needs. The private office inside the coworking space allows you to create the culture that suits your unique needs while also benefiting from the coworking community around you!

Your employee retention will improve!

Companies that want to hire the best of talent (and that’s all the companies we have) also need to provide their teams with a dynamic and inspiring working environment that is conducive to learning and personal growth. It becomes impossible for a smaller company to maintain this kind of environment because employees have limited number of people to interact with and learn from. They might gradually start feeling that their growth is hampered thereby increasing the feeling of dissatisfaction from the job eventually leading to resignation. However, in coworking spaces, there is greater room for learning for your employees with a lot of experienced professionals around. In a survey conducted with Kickstart members, we found out that 43% of our members had this benefit of coworking in mind when they were planning to join our coworking space.

Increased Productivity!

The high productivity of employees is an essential ingredient for any business to expand and grow. The highly encouraging environment around the employees at coworking spaces tends to have a huge impact on their productivity level. In regular offices, the employees have a greater risk of getting alienated and depressed by their work routine thereby their quality of work gets deeply affected. However, in coworking space, the chances of alienation in the workforce are very low. In fact, the high morale and confidence brought in with this style of work lead to a rise in employee performance.

To schedule a tour to Kickstart Gulberg, please click here. You can also opt for a free one day trial to get the feel of space and community.

 

3 Innovative methods freelancers at Kickstart are using to get their money transferred to Pakistan

When it comes to money transfer, there is no shortage of financial service companies that deal in transferring money from one country to another. To receive their payments, freelancers in Pakistan have been using companies like Payoneer, Transferwise, and Transpay for some time now. Seasoned freelancers at Kickstart, however, have come up with some innovative methods to reduce the time (to transfer money) and costs associated with the money transfer.

The fastest way I’ve found to transfer money is by buying Bitcoins in the U.S. or any other country and selling them here in Pakistan using UrduBit.com.

Bitcoin Exchange Method

Abdullah Khan has been using the bitcoin exchange method to get his money transferred to Pakistan within 24 hours and without having to pass through any regulation.

This is what Abdullah had to say about the benefits and risks of this method: “Regarding wire transfers. The fastest way I’ve found to transfer money is by buying Bitcoins in the U.S. or any other country and selling them here in Pakistan using UrduBit.com. If done correctly it should take 24 hours for the transfer. The only downside is the volatility of BTC might affect the amount sent. This way you’d go through minimal regulations.”

I thought this method to be the fastest one until I learned about another method that Amin Shah Gillani – another experienced freelancer working from the co-working space – has been using to transfer money from the US to Pakistan.

Find a person who needs money in the US and has money in Pakistan

This is the principle on which Hawala/Hundi operators work: An operator receives money from a sender in one country, and his counterpart (another operator) gives an equal amount of money to the recipient in another country. However, these unlicensed operators have been declared illegal by most of the governments across the world because they can be easily used for illicit transfer of money.

Amin Shah Gillani found a way to savor the benefits of this centuries-old method of money transfer without ever going to a Hawala/Hundi operator. All he had to do was to find a friend who needed money in the US and had money in Pakistan. Amin would simply let him use his money in the US and in return receive cash from him in Pakistan. He found that friend on the table next to him at Kickstart.

This is what he said when I asked Amin about his payment transfer journey:

“I’ve used a bank wire in the past, it was terrible, took five days and $50 just vanished due to intermediary fees. Also, I had to walk to my bank to approve the remittance every single bloody time. It was awful.

Then I found transferwise.com, which made my life a lot easier. I have a US bank account, and I could pay myself out from there without a problem. It cost me $4 flat for whatever amount I’d transfer. But I still had to wait up to 4-5 days sometimes for the transaction to clear.

Eventually, I found a friend that needed money in the US and had money in Pakistan. The transfer was instantaneous, and there were no fees involved.”

Using the money in Payoneer account to make online payments

As you might be thinking by now, this is obviously not a payment transfer method. But since we are primarily talking about saving time and costs linked to money transfer, this can be counted as one.

Freelancers who get their money in Pakistan using Payoneer know that Payoneer charges for each transaction in case of ATM withdrawal and a conversion fee in the event of wire transfer. You can save these costs by using your Payoneer balance only to make online payments (Payoneer supports payments in USD, EUR, and GBP). OR you can make online payments for your friends and get the money in PKR here in Pakistan. Both you and your friend will save the conversion fees this way.

Kickstart member – Mujahid Ishtiaq – has been using the service for past few years and we asked him for his comments on the service. He said, “Payoneer is especially suitable for those freelancers who want to make online payments using their Payoneer account because for online payments in USD, users will avoid the 3.5% currency exchange fee plus the hefty transaction fees they have to pay owing to the limits on withdrawals by Pakistani banks.” Another member freelancer – Kamal Subhani – also voiced a similar opinion. He said: “I use my Payoneer account to make payments for my servers and other online services I avail.”

These methods ask for an involvement of others to complete the money transfer which might seem like a task at first but it in co-working spaces it is just a matter of a post in the network or a small conversation over tea or cigarette.

If you are aware of or have used a payment transfer method that is fast and cheap, please let us know about that in comments or email at cowork@kickstart.pk. We would love to share that with our community.

4 Benefits Coworking Space are Providing to Freelancers in Lahore

Technology freelancers have been growing rapidly in Pakistan for some years now, but there were not a lot of places where they could get together and be seen. The rise in the number of co-working spaces in Lahore in the recent months have seen these freelancers come out of the closet and, as a result, some amazing things are happening. Just last week, I was part of a conversation where a node.js developer- Imran- was talking to one of his senior co-workers and telling him about the work he is doing for his clients in the US. His peer, somewhat amazed by the kind of work that is being done by programmers in Pakistan, immediately offered him some more work on some fascinating projects he was undertaking. He was somewhat distressed by the fact that there are a lot of brilliant coders like Imran who are lying in the abyss – undiscovered – with their talent not completely realized.

But in the recent month, the rise of co-working spaces have given an opportunity for freelancers to come out and know what their peers are up to. Co-working spaces offer a variety of benefits to freelancers and open a sea of possibilities for them. Here are some of the benefits I have observed based on my experience of a year working from a co-working space in Lahore.

Freelancers trying to launch products of their own can find partners and form a team:

After I have regularly pulled off 12-hours work days for years now working on the projects of my clients and seeing some of my clients make millions by building successful businesses on applications developed by us, I am moving on to building products of my own. I think this time comes in the life of every established freelancer and this is where co-working spaces provide us the greatest benefit.

Global Co-working Survey

Building a successful business on a product requires people from different backgrounds and diverse skill sets. Finding a person who can complement us in business is not easy, and there is a myriad of factors involved. Co-working spaces come really handy here because one gets to see the work and work ethic of people from various backgrounds – who could potentially be your business partners.

Another finding from the global co-working survey 2017:

Reinforcement and encouragement:

Parents of more than 90% of technology freelancers do not know about the kind of work their son does. Some of the very established and experienced freelancers told me that their parents tried to take them out of freelancing into a job where they could actually see their son go to an office in the morning and come back in the evening. Early days are the most difficult ones when work is rare and there is very little money coming in. In an environment like this with negative energy, one can easily get demotivated. Co-working spaces play a vital role here where all of my coworkers can empathize with me because they had been through the process. Just being around them can be a tremendous support on a tough day.

High Productivity

This is one of the ancillary benefits of co-working I have personally experienced after working for a year from Kickstart Zblock. Working from an environment where everybody else is also working pushes me to work harder. But I acknowledge that the same rule cannot be applied to everybody. I have met people who are more productive in front of a TV than from working out of a silent, peaceful room.

A Cure for Blurring of Work-Life boundaries and provide an opportunity to socialize:

Working out of your bedroom seems convenient because you can save a lot of time that would be otherwise wasted on the commute. However, I have realized through experience that it is only good in the short-run. When you continuously live and work from the same space for months, work-life boundaries become blurry. You don’t know when you are at work and when you are not. Having another place for work helps to keep things smooth and clear and avoiding burnout. This is a benefit of co-working spaces that is more enjoyed by the experienced freelancers.

Co-working industry in Lahore is still in its early stages, and there is much more to come in the future. Co-working spaces in the mature markets are providing so many benefits that it stops making sense for freelancers to stay at home or work from a secluded office. I am hoping for it to happen in Lahore and Pakistan soon.