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Promoting entrepreneurial growth in Pakistan

Entrepreneurs seek Government support for creating an enabling environment fostering entrepreneurial culture.

Celebrating the Global Entrepreneurship Week, twenty prominent Pakistani entrepreneurs, government officials and academic leaders gathered at a round-table meeting on ‘Creating an Enabling Environment for Entrepreneurship to Grow’ in Islamabad today. Panellists explored ways to promote entrepreneurial growth in Pakistan, emphasizing that entrepreneurs have the potential to create solutions that can transform Pakistan and generate new jobs for millions of young graduates entering the workforce.

The event culminates ‘Global Entrepreneurship Week’ and follows six days of workshops for emerging Pakistani entrepreneurs on how to start and grow a successful business.  The workshops were facilitated by the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad and held at Abasyn University from November 10 to 15.

After avoiding the collapse of the global financial and economic system, governments around the world are now focused on building a foundation for future growth. In addition to safeguarding the economic recovery, the world is facing a number of transformative challenges, such as an increasing scarcity of natural resources, significant demographic shifts, and the environmental and social implications of climate change.

In dealing with these challenges, governments have taken an increasingly strong interest in entrepreneurship. Speaking on the occasion, Amir Jahangir, Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum and CEO Mishal Pakistan, said “Entrepreneurs are recognized as important drivers of economic and social progress, and rapidly growing entrepreneurial enterprises are viewed as important sources of innovation, employment and productivity growth”. Some of the most influential enterprises of our time began relatively recently as small entrepreneurial ventures, he further added.

The participants emphasized the need for the capacity building of the media on creating Entrepreneurship as a new beat in Pakistan. They emphasized the importance of a media fund, which can encourage young entrepreneurs and journalists to create more relevant content on entrepreneurship. The initiative would also be able to create a new breed of mediapreneurs and journalists to understand and report on the opportunities and challenges of being an entrepreneur in Pakistan.

Speaking about ‘Global Entrepreneurship Week,’ Muhammad Farrukh Mahmood, co-founder of Moftak Solutions, said, “We are thankful to the U.S. Embassy for giving us the opportunity to hear from Pakistan’s leading entrepreneurs about the challenges they face in starting and running a business.  The workshops this week helped to bridge the gap between industry and academia, and inspired youth to become entrepreneurs to contribute to the growth of this country.”

Many recent public discussions have addressed the challenges that entrepreneurs face in Pakistan. The roundtable moved the discussion to the next level by developing a concrete set of recommendations to the Government of Pakistan on how to overcome the challenges and improve the business environment in Pakistan.

Panellists focused their discussions on the pivotal role of Pakistan’s private sector in spurring job creation.  Were an entrepreneurship ecosystem to take root, panellists said, Pakistan’s economic growth could accelerate.

Many governments are therefore trying to actively promote entrepreneurship through various forms of support. The World Economic Forum has been actively engaging early-stage and later-stage high-growth companies for many years through its Technology Pioneers programme and its community of Global Growth Companies.

Creating Enabling Environment for Entrepreneurship to Grow in Pakistan – Key Recommendations for action:

Triple helix” entrepreneurial ecosystem components: industry, academia and government);
Changing policies, laws and regulations to make it easy for startups;
Improving access to finance—equity, debt and venture capital—and use of movable assets as collateral;
Removing instruments of rent-seeking , which dwindle resources available for entrepreneurs;
Building growth cities – urban development in line with the new growth strategy;
Developing and managing brand, guarantees, warrantees/returns;
Embedding entrepreneurship in education and business incubations;
Releasing the energy of the domestic sector;
Developing Science and Technology policy and its implementation;
Engendering entrepreneurship;
Role of intellectual property rights (IPR), including protection of trademarks, websites, copyrights and patents;

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