Internet Start Ups Of Pakistan Commerce Essay

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In the course of transition of traditional economies towards knowledge based economy (electronic economy or e-economy), firms and markets are significantly affected by the rapid development in information and communication technologies (ICT). Furthermore, internet is the tool that is presently having the most significant effect in the business world (Serarols-Tarrés, Padilla-Meléndez, and del Aguila-Obra, 2006). According to Schwartz (1997), the internet, as a trade infrastructure, is a framework where people can interchange information at a speed never seen before. Currently, the internet is being used as a trade infrastructure by two types of firms; (i) firms with physical presence (traditional companies) use the internet as a logical extension of their traditional business operations (for lead generation, alternatively) or as a new distribution channel (Serarols-Tarrés et al., 2006) and, (ii) the pure dot.coms (cyber-traders or internet start-ups) (European Commission, 1997), firms which have been particularly conceived to operate in this new environment (or firms that operate exclusively on internet). These pure dot.coms are playing an important role in the internet in terms of e-business and e-commerce. However, the majority of these internet start-ups (even in the developed economies) have yet to achieve much success, and their contribution to both retail sales and wholesale is still not significant in terms of quantities (Serarols-Tarrés et al., 2006).

The existing literature on entrepreneurship examines some particular factors influencing the success of new ventures, mainly focusing on traditional firms (Ballantine, Cleveland, and Koeller, 1992; Lewis, Stanworth, and Gibb, 1984). According to this literature, there are two approaches to measure the success of start-ups (Chandler and Hanks, 1993); (i) objective measures, and (ii) subjective measures. Moreover, the entrepreneur characteristics is one of the variables regarded critical for the success of new ventures, others being the market and product strategy, and the financial aspects (Serarols-Tarrés et al., 2006). Though entrepreneur characteristics have been very extensively studied (Morel d'Arleux, 1999; Sandberg and Hofer, 1987); yet there are no studies focusing on the characteristics of the e-entrepreneurs (digital related entrepreneurs, or cyber entrepreneurs) (Serarols-Tarrés et al., 2006). Christian, (2009) defined cyber-entrepreneur as "an individual who creates a firm that is essentially found upon e-commerce, and whose main activities are based on the exploiting networks, using Internet, intranets and extranets." There are few studies comparing entrepreneurs from the IT sector with those starting up dot.coms (Colombo and Delmastro, 2001), but there is very little research referring particularly to the success factors of pure dot.coms (internet start-ups) (Serarols-Tarrés et al., 2006).

3. Problem Statement

This study is an attempt to provide some insights about how the e-entrepreneur characteristics influence the success of new internet start-ups of Pakistan measured as a combination of subjective and objective indicators.

4. Objectives of the research

To describe the main socio-demographic characteristics of e-entrepreneurs

To describe the main motivations of e-entrepreneurs to create own start-ups (e-ventures or pure dot.coms)

To explore how the characteristics of e-entrepreneurs may affect the success of internet start-ups (e-ventures or pure dot.coms)

To build a model to determine the extent the e-entrepreneur's characteristics may influence the success of pure dot.coms

To compare profiles of e-entrepreneurs with that of common (traditional) entrepreneurs

To compare the results with the existing researches on the related field

5. Significance

The findings of this research study will be beneficial for:

5.1. Research Community

This research study is expected to provide some initial insights about the characteristics of e-entrepreneurs of Pakistan as well as the relationship of these characteristics with the success of these pure dot.coms. This will highlight areas that need to be further researched in future.

5.2. Academia

The findings of this research are expected to highlight important skills, capacities, capabilities etc that are crucial for success and survival of pure dot.coms of Pakistan that are competing at global level. These highlights will be converted into curriculum specific recommendations for the academia (business schools and incubators etc) for effective capacity building for the potential e-entrepreneurs.

5.3. Relevant Public Institutions

Public institutions of Pakistan working for the mandate of economic development (through entrepreneurship and SME development) and ICT promotion e.g. Ministry of Information Technology (MOIT), Small and Medium Enterprise Development Authority (SMEDA), Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB), Pakistan Software Houses Association (PASHA), Pakistan Computer Bureau (PCB), National ICT R&D Fund etc. will be the beneficiaries of the results of this research study as it focuses on an overlap of entrepreneurship, SME development, and ICT in Pakistan.

6. Variables of Interest

6.1. E-Entrepreneurs' Characteristics

Age (AG)

Gender (GE)

Education (ED)

Incubator organization (IO)

Experience in the sector of operation (EXS)

Experience in founding ventures/firms (EXF)

Motivations or Triggering events to create the venture (MOT)

Planning capacity (PC)

6.2. Success of ventures: Measurement Model

Three dimension model as proposed by Morel d' Arleux (1998)

Professional success (PRS)

Business results

Growth of firm

Personal success (PS)

Personal life

Achievement of individual happiness

Family success (FS)

Implications of firm on entrepreneurs' family life

Total success (TS)

Global concept at individual level

7. Propositions

P1: The gender of the founder is positively related to the internet start-up's success

P2: The entrepreneur's age is positively associated with the success of the pure dot.com start-up

P3: The entrepreneur's educational level is positively associated with the success of the internet start-up

P4: Experience in the sector of operation is positively associated with the success of the pure dot.coms

P5: The incubator organization where the entrepreneur studied or worked previously positively influences the success of cyber-traders

P6: Previous start-up experience is positively associated with the success of a new pure dot.com

P7: Triggering events are positively associated with the success of pure dot.com firms

P8: The entrepreneur's planning capacity positively influences the success of cyber-traders

8. Theoretical Framework

TS = Initial Total Success = PRS + PS + FS

TS = f (GE, AG, ED, IO, EXS, EXF, MOT, PC)

9. Methodology

8.1. Type of Study

Exploratory research

9.2. Data collection method

Primary and secondary data collection

9.3. Data collection instrument

Questionnaire based on likert scale (restricted response)

In depth interview (subjective or open response)

9.4. Population

Total population is not known

9.5. Sampling technique

Convenience sampling as it is the only viable when quick and timely information is needed or for exploratory research purposes (Sekaran, 2002).

9.6. Sample size

50 e-entrepreneurs will be interviewed and provided questionnaire with so as to collect information

9.7. Limitations

Pure dot.coms are being operated all over the Pakistan and due to scarce financial and time resources, the researcher cannot access them all

There is no population related statistics or record of pure dot.coms being operated in Pakistan, so the sample is drawn on the basis of available information e.g. through Spider (a reputed IT related magazine of Pakistan) and other search engine related results and listings

9.8. Delimitation

The pure dot.coms (internet start-ups) whose e-entrepreneurs are accessible in Lahore will be included in the sample of the study

10. Budget

Particulars

Amount (Rs.)

Print outs of articles and reading material for literature survey (Approx. 50 articles * approx 20 pages each * Rs. 10 each)

10,000

Questionnaires related prints (50 prints * Rs. 10 each)

500

Travelling cost for interviews (Rs. 50 per interview * 50 interviews)

2,500

Drafts of thesis: Binding (6 drafts * Rs. 300 each)

1,800

Prints Drafts of thesis (6 drafts * 50 pages each approx. * Rs. 10 each)

3,000

Researcher's time cost (3 hours/day * 127 days of research excluding proposal writing = 381 working hours @ Rs. 250 (minimum) each calculated on the basis of teaching revenue (opportunity cost))

95,250

Miscellaneous

1,950

Total Estimated Cost

1,15,000

11. Tentative Time line

S #

Time Line

Task

Days required

1

1st March to 25th March

Literature review

20

2

26th March to 1st April

Conceptual framework development

7

3

2nd April to 15th April

Questionnaire development

14

4

16th April to 15th May

Data collection

30

5

16th May to 31st May

Data analysis

16

6

1st June to 14th June

Results and recommendations

14

7

15th June to 25th June

Initial draft of thesis

11

8

26th June to 10th August

Final draft of thesis

15

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