ISLAMABAD: The Young Entrepreneurship Forum (YEF) of Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry organized a ceremony to celebrate the Global Entrepreneurship Week 2017 on the theme “Innovation vis-à-vis Entrepreneurship”. The representatives of Ignite (formerly National ICT R&D Fund), HEC and UNIDO as well as large number of university students and young entrepreneurs attended the event.
Speaking at the occasion, Sheikh Amir Waheed, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) said that Pakistan was experiencing youth bulge and government should make conducive policies, laws and regulations to promote entrepreneurship as entrepreneurs were recognized important drivers of economic growth and social progress. He said entrepreneurs have the potential to create innovative solutions that could bring efficiency in local industry and urged that government should make policies to promote entrepreneurship as well as consider granting 10-year tax exemption to entrepreneurs on starting new start-ups. He assured that ICCI would keep taking initiatives for entrepreneurship promotion to engage youth in productive activities.
Raffat Farid, Chairman, Young Entrepreneurs Forum highlighted the role of YEF in promoting entrepreneurship in the region. He said industry was facing many challenges and entrepreneurs should come up with innovative solutions to address such challenges. He said many industrialists were ready to fund innovations that could resolve their problems. Sharing success stories, he said YEF would continue to encourage youth towards entrepreneurship in the region.
Idrees Awan, Manager Ignite said that his organization was working to promote a knowledge-based economy and commercialization of innovative ideas. He also gave a detailed presentation on the procedure of providing funding support to innovative projects. He said Ignite has so far provided funding support of Rs.2.3 billion to 141 projects and trained over 1500 people. He said Ignite provided funds as grant without any payback condition and stressed that young entrepreneurs should come up with tangible innovative solutions to avail its funding.
Dr. Shahina Waheed, National Project Coordinator, Global Cleantech Innovation Program – GCIP briefed the participants about GCIP that was running in 10 countries including Pakistan and aimed at sustainable entrepreneurship ecosystem in clean technology. She said GCIP in Pakistan focused on fostering emerging and commercially viable clean technology innovations to fuel green industrial growth and provided SMEs with training, mentoring and access to potential investors.
Tariq Aziz, Manager Matchmaking, HEC explained how Technology Development Fund (TDF) of HEC was financing applied research-based projects for prototype development and industrial value addition. He said HEC wanted to help the entrepreneurs to impact economy through new and emerging technologies. He said against the 1st call, HEC received 116 proposals, out of which 35 projects have been approved for funding in 14 applied sectors after a detailed evaluation process. At the end, questions and answer session was held in which students asked many questions and got detailed answers.