SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) has said that Pakistan should focus on encouraging its youth towards entrepreneurship for improving livelihoods, expanding economy and promoting jobs.
Inaugurating a two-day boot camp for startups organized by the SAARC Chamber in association with the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom and Plan9 in Islamabad, SCCI Senior Vice President Iftikhar Ali Malik urged on encouraging youth towards entrepreneurship because unemployed youth is a recipe for disaster.
He said that Pakistan has a growing labour force with 1.7 million young people reaching working age each year. However, four million young people between the ages of 15-24 years are unemployed and this number is set to rise to 8.6 million by 2020. He said there is dire need of starting a wave of entrepreneurial development.
Iftikhar Malik said that entrepreneurial development is not limited to providing encouragement to potential entrepreneurs through technical assistance, mentoring and capacity building, but the same would ultimately lead to positive contribution to the overall economy by creating job opportunities and revenue businesses.
“We need a national and sub-national policy framework and develop institutions to assist these young entrepreneurs to grow.” He said that youth accounts for over 60 percent of Pakistan’s population and it is essential to encourage them in entrepreneurship so that they could become more productive and contribute positively to the growth of the national economy.
Iftikhar Malik called upon the government, private sector, academia and civil society to put efforts together to mentor, guide and support youth to unleash immense economic and social potential.
Friedrich Naumann Foundation Pakistan office head Birgit Lamm apprised upon importance of cooperation and coordination amongst the varied stakeholders for strengthening startup ecosystem in the region. “Every risk equally has challenges and opportunities, it’s up to a diligent mind to convert that risk into an opportunity,” she said.
Speaking on the occasion, Punjab government’s initiative Plan9 Director Entrepreneurship Salman Amin said that the government is playing a crucial role to strengthen the startup ecosystem. He said that the new institutions and infrastructure are being developed and enabling policies are being drafted.
He also said that the government is developing more than 36 co-working spaces all across Pakistan to boost up the entrepreneurial culture in the country. Former SAARC Chamber general secretary Rehmatullah Javed said that the capacity building of young entrepreneurs is the need of hour and fostering the culture of entrepreneurship has become indispensable to cope with the challenges of globalization and fourth industrial revolution.