On November 16, the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) hosted Global Entrepreneurship Week in collaboration with the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), the Kauffman Foundation and Junior Chamber International. The Islamabad event was attended by over 80 chamber members, diplomatic community, young entrepreneurs and students (see coverage in the Express Tribune).
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Yassar Sakhi Butt, President of ICCI, said that our youth possess immense potential and talent that must be exploited in the right way to harness their skills and capabilities. He related that ICCI has established an Entrepreneurship Development Center with the support of CIPE for providing guidance to prospective business starters and expanding existing businesses.
Mr. Shaban Khalid, Former Vice President and Chairman of the ICCI Young Entrepreneurship Forum highlighted the activities of Youth Forum ICCI and said that celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week was another effort of ICCI to promote a culture of entrepreneurship which would ultimately generate a wave of entrepreneurship development across the country.
Mr. Brian McCleary, Commercial Counsellor, US Embassy said that many young people around the world have shared the belief that entrepreneurship could help them in realizing their dreams and improving their families’ lives. He said that today is a better time than ever to start a business, and governments can make doing business easier in hope of tapping the economic growth potential of entrepreneurship.
Mr. Hammad Siddiqui, Deputy Country Director, CIPE highlighted the role of CIPE in promoting entrepreneurship and said that CIPE has been actively engaged with chambers and associations to promote entrepreneurial culture in Pakistan. He said that due to the prevailing economic situation, job opportunities were lacking so there was dire need to encourage youth to enter into the entrepreneurship field.
Mr. Ali Salman, Executive Director, Development Pool; Mr. Qasim Sheikh, Director Innovation and Entrepreneurship, NUST; and Ms. Jehan Ara, President, PASHA, highlighted the importance of entrepreneurship and said that the most important challenge in promoting entrepreneurship in academia was nurturing productive industry-academia relations. They said that there were various policy gaps regarding entrepreneurship in Pakistan which required major economic transformation.
Key impediments to entrepreneurial culture in Pakistan were discussed at the panel discussion. Participants agreed that a tough regulatory regime, corruption and discouragement towards taking entrepreneurial challenges are the major concerns. The role of academia was also highlighted at the discussion; participants suggested that college and university-level mentorship could progress with assistance from chambers and associations.
Also in connection with Global Entrepreneurship Week, Saima Majeed, Business Development Manager of the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry, has been selected as one of Your Big Year’s Top 111 participants from 60,000 contestants from more than 212 countries around the globe.
Huzaifa Shabbir Hussain
Assistant Program Manager, CIPE
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