The Young Entrepreneurs Forum (YEF) of the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) in partnership with US Embassy, USAID, CIPE and Junior Chamber International organized a Young Entrepreneurship Conference, titled “Inspiring a New Wave of Entrepreneurs” at Jinnah Convention Centre Islamabad.
The key objective of the conference was to start a wave of entrepreneurial development, which 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, revenue businesses as well as for the government.
The conference started with the welcome note of YEF Chairman, Mr.Shaban Khalid. He said that Young Entrepreneurs Forum of Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry stressed the need for developing an entrepreneurial ecosystem. He said 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 national economy.
In a recorded video statement, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton praised the energy, creativity and determination of Pakistani youth. “The next great innovator could be sitting right next to you or may be yourself because after all today’s well-known entrepreneurs like Bill Gates and Tara Dawood all started out as a person with a dream,” she said.
In his keynote address, Mr. Yassar Sakhi Butt, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry said “In our rapidly globalizing world, entrepreneurship has attracted the attention of policymakers and think tanks as an important source of job creation. However, despite its crucial role for the economy, there has been no systematic attempt to look at it from the youth angle. We believe that youth entrepreneurship promotes innovation and creativity, encourages young people to generate new ideas and find innovative solutions as well as play an active role in the economic development.”
Addressing a big crowd of young entrepreneurs and business students on the occasion, U.S. Ambassador Cameron Munter stated, "I am struck by the common bonds shared between the citizens of Pakistan and the United States. This morning, as we focus on the key entrepreneurial characteristics of courage, creativity, and social responsibility, I believe we can establish a firm foundation for future bilateral engagement and stronger people-to-people ties. The United States stands beside Pakistan as its entrepreneurs tackle the challenges of tomorrow, by promoting US funded professional exchange programs, establishing linkages with the Pakistani-American Diaspora community and developing finance solutions aimed at unlocking the capital necessary for Pakistan's entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises.
The ultimate aim of the conference was to stress upon various stakeholders towards the creation of a conducive and sustainable business environment for the young entrepreneurs. Throughout the day, prominent speakers/entrepreneurs including Dr. Nadeem ul Haq Chairman Planning Commission, Mr. Asad Umer President Engro Corporation, Mr. Zafar Khan CEO Sofizar, Mr. Monis Rahman Chairman & CEO Naseeb Networks, Mr. A. Saman Dawood CEO Cyan & Prof. Dr. S. Sohail H. Naqvi, Executive Director HEC held interactive discussions on social entrepreneurship, women entrepreneurship and building bridges through diaspora business linkages. Besides that, the business leaders shared their inspiring success stories of building their business from the scratch and the failures they faced on the way.
In his video message, former chairman higher education commission Atta-ur-Rehman stressed to work on the mindset of students who avoid taking risks besides creating financial infrastructure and establishing information network required to encourage young entrepreneurs.