December 2017 News

Institutional Support For Promoting Startup Culture In Kashmir

18 December 2017
Greater Kashmir
Saad Parvez

Srinagar: Startups are beginning to gain momentum in the valley. Thanks to the encouraging culture of innovations and entrepreneurship fostering by some organizations including universities like NIT-Srinagar, University of Kashmir, Islamic University of Science and Technology, J&K EDI and others. Since the awareness among the new generation is growing, as such they have started to adopt entrepreneurship and startups as their potential occupation. Kashmiri youths of today are motivated and enthusiastic to do something on their own. With growing population, commuting constraints and a busy lifestyle, service sector in Kashmir is now being recognised as a potential economic segment to generate employment and start your own ventures. Few important success factors for undertaking such activities are the right timing, an innovative idea, a good business plan with well-defined objectives, proper resources and of course passion for doing it. The overwhelming net dependence of the current era provides a large domain of utility in every aspect of our life. You just have to figure out where and how to implement that. One such organisation, which has just emerged after obtaining right counselling form the incubation centre of NIT Srinagar has already started achieving its objectives by providing a number of services to the customers of the Srinagar city. Instead of wailing about unemployment in the state, two youngsters, after getting through their B.Tech Degrees from NIT Srinagar, and Islamic University of Science and Technology (IUST), Awantipora, Ubaid Manzoor (24) and Yamin Mukhtar (24) have joined hands to make technology relieve the people of their daily hassles. Both childhood friends, Ubaid and Yamin, after completing their graduate level studies thought of doing something different, and thus came up with the idea of 'Al-Birra Services'. Al Birra Services was started as a concept for easing day-to-day chores of people. It emerged first by researching the basic needs of the people and now is trying to provide a number of services to meet those requirements in a digital environment. As has been rightly suggested by some leading business personality that the data is the new fuel of this age, and use of data creates an opportunity. Al Birra Services is trying to mould the concerns of masses in a digital platform. From meeting basic day-to-day needs, to setting up your own business, Al Birra is there for you. Currently, Al Birra Services is providing around 23 services and trying to expand domain as much as possible whenever the need arises. They are trying to create a database of skilled persons and help them to reach their domains without many difficulties. Skilled people from different backgrounds can join them to earn a comfortable living, thus providing a platform for employment generation. This also offers them with the better acquisition of optimized output. Al Birra Services is working to enhance their level of services by consulting experts in every field of the service sector. For example, Al Birra Services were advised to introduce a unique service of getting car maintenance activity in the city by the IIED center of NIT Srinagar, whereby the employees (drivers) of the Al Birra Services would pick up the customers vehicle from any convenient place (home or office), get the necessary service-repair done from a service station of customers choice and deliver it back, ensuring quality work at minimum cost. The idea is to offer high-quality maintenance of customer's vehicle thus saving his time and effort. The new method was introduced with the help of Rahim Motors who is at the back end of the project. Many other reputed car service stations and dealers will also be included in their list to do the needful effectively and efficiently thus relieving the customers of the burden of obtaining periodic, preventive or breakdown maintenance of their vehicles. Abdul Hameed, CEO of Rahim Motors, also guided the youths in successfully launching different aspects of this service. The application named Al-Birra Services is available on the Google Play Store, where anyone looking for any kind of service ranging from plumbing, electrical repairs, fixing inverters, washing machines, and refrigerators. The service provider can also hire carpenters, masons, tailors and painters for those who are in need. Apart from the daily chores, there are some professional services that are also provided by the newly established startup. If needed, they can hire a photographer to capture beautiful moments and app developers to design any application for the clients. Al-Birra services are currently operational in Srinagar and Budgam only. In addition to the above-mentioned services provided, Al-Birra is also delivering required medicines to people. The client is supposed to upload a slip of prescription after registering on the application. 'This is the first sort of application that has come up in Kashmir,' said Ubaid Manzoor, CEO and Founder, adding that they are eyeing at many more things that will be added to the services. The startup is also aiming at creating a database of skilled manpower, who are as of now unemployed. 'We will be gathering all the skilled persons and will be assigning them jobs as per the request that is generated in our service database,' said Ubaid. 'It is one of our major objectives to provide employment to those who are unemployed but skilled, through our startup,' he said. So far, people are not that much aware of the application that has got the potential to change the outlook of youngsters and can change the process of getting domestic chores done in the society like that of Kashmir. With growing awareness among masses, enhanced internet connectivity and tech-savvy, more people would be ready to obtain such services thus relieving them of the hectic day-to-day activities. Al-Birra Services, in future, will also take on providing a platform to purchase books on varied subjects, including, advertisement services, printing and design services. The application is available for download on Google App Store and has got a presence online at