Z2C Limited, a venture accelerator that invests in and launches MarTech start-ups, has taken yet another step towards increasing the quality and quantity of advertising industry talent in Pakistan.
Through its Publicis Groupe Delivery (PGD) affiliated export-first digital agency Activ8, the accelerator has partnered with digital agency East River and the media science department of Ziauddin University to launch fast-track courses.
Drawing from the industry-leading management trainee program at Brainchild, the 12-week innovative program aims to create a pool of talented digital resources at the management or project trainee level.
The first batch of the ZEAL Future Enablement Program at Ziauddin University will occur four times in 2023 and will enroll up to 50 participants in each cohort to develop critical skills in digital media planning, social media, Google Ads, business communication, branding, and search engine optimization.
Pakistan’s services industry generates under $2 billion annually in aggregate export revenue, while the academic side of the equation produces roughly 10,000 graduates annually. Across the border, India’s consultative, professional services, and IT industry generates over $100 billion annually in aggregate exports.
The academic space produces over 500,000 graduates per year. LinkedIn data clearly reflects that the quality of Indian engineers and marketers is so high that Fortune 500 technology companies set up back offices in the second-most populous country in the world.
According to keynotes delivered by former MD of Careem Junaid Iqbal and by Systems Limited CEO Asif Peer, the low-quality of Pakistani graduates stems from a disconnect between what the market wants and how academics choose to teach students. This is particularly reflective in a grading system around memorization instead of on the demonstration of applicable skills and critical thinking.
The ZEAL program will be delivered by expert trainers from East River, Z2C Limited, and Activ8, with additional support from Ziauddin University. Classes will be conducted every Saturday till 19th May 2023 at both Ziauddin University Clifton and North sites.
“As technology pushes deeper into the business, the business pushes deeper into technology,” said Raihan Merchant, CEO of Z2C Limited, at the launch ceremony of the ZEAL Future Enablement Program. “All businesses and executives need to be upskilled in digital marketing and creative strategy in order to improve the effectiveness of customer lifetime value initiatives. To take Pakistan to the next level, we need to increase the quality and quantity of talent that will shift the country to a services industry model.”
As the advertising expenditure within Pakistan declines steadily year-on-year, advertising agencies have begun to pivot towards an expert model for their services. This has included training existing talent to work on global brands in the MENA and APAC region, through large consultancies and advertising agencies.
In Pakistan, Activ8 is one such example, serving advertisers in the MENA region through it’s relationship with the Publicis Groupe. The exposure to regional megabrands and their campaigns represents tremendous learning opportunities and growth for work placement abroad.
“Executives worldwide need training on platforms and tools that make their roles easier,” said Saadi Gouse, the director of digital transformation at Publicis Groupe in Pakistan. “The data-literate executive will replace the executive that refuses to upskill & adapt. The most significant disruption data and AI create is eliminating the walls between technology and business. They are becoming indistinguishable. Companies must adapt by making technical and non-technical roles indistinguishable.”
In mid-2022, Z2C Limited and creator economy ecosystem Walee partnered with NUST in Islamabad to launch the Walee-NUST Center of Excellence (WNCE). The long-term mutually-beneficial collaboration was by way of research and development activities, continuous upgrading of academic course content and knowledge transfer between faculty, students, and Walee’s engineering teams.
Much like the ZEAL Future Enablement Program, WNCE was also meant to enhance the professional visibility of NUST students and help them adopt web 3.0 to shape the media-advertising space in the next five years with innovative solutions and tech stacks. The physical, co-branded, and fully functional tech facility on NUST’s premises will boost participants’ team dynamics when working on deliverables.