The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) has signed a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Higher Education Commission (HEC) and the five Universities selected for implementation of its National Idea Lab (NIL) Program to promote entrepreneurship among educated youth.
The MOU was signed today by Mr. Hashim Raza, CEO SMEDA, Dr. Shaista Sohail, Executive Director HEC and Vice Chancellors of the five selected universities, which include Dr. Rizwan Riaz from University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Dr. Mohsin Khan from Institute of Management Sciences (IMSD), Peshawar, Dr. Mohammad Tufail, VC, NED University of Engineering and Technology, Karachi, DR. Ahmed Farooq Bazai, Balochistan University of IT, Engineering and Management Sciences (BUITEMS), Quetta and Dr. Tanvir Hussain, Director National Textile University (NTU), Faisalabad. The signing ceremony was also addressed by Dr. Amjad Hussain, Director General and Ms. Noshaba Awais, Director RFI-HEC, besides signatory of the Agreement. CEO SMEDA Mr. Hashim Raza, while addressing the signing ceremony, said that the National Idea Lab (NIL) will promote entrepreneurship development and new enterprise creation to nurture and promote the creative ideas of young entrepreneurs. The NIL aims to provide a physical as well as virtual environment for generating, developing and commercializing innovative ideas with the help through trainings, mentoring and technology assistance, he added. He told that HEC will be providing inputs on networking opportunities, capacity building programs and monitoring and evaluation of the program, while the selected institutions of HEC will provide necessary support through their Business Incubation Centres (BICs). He informed that initially NILs will be established at National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Institute of Management Sciences (IMSciences), Peshawar, NED University of Engineering and Technology, Karachi, Balochistan University of IT, Engineering and Management Sciences (BUITEMS), Quetta and National Textile University (NTU), Faisalabad.
Earlier, Ms. Shaista Sohail, Executive Director HEC, in her address of welcome, thanked SMEDA CEO to repose confidence on HEC for implementation of an innovative program for promotion of entrepreneurship among the educated youth. She was confident that National Idea Lab (NIL) program will bring the tangible results in creating new and non-conventional enterprises. She said that youth of Pakistan is full of exclusive business ideas, which would be transformed into working enterprises with the support of NIL. She assured to extend the fullest support of HEC to make the program an ultimate success by achieving the goals of entrepreneurship development in the country. She said, the HEC feels proud of being in charge for NIL initiative.
It is notable that under NIL Program, the interested students or researchers having an innovative idea will be eligible to share the space, experience, information and resources at the Nnational Idea Lab, which will eventually take their idea through a step-by-step process to the incubation as a startup or SME at the respective Bbusiness Incubation Center. (BIC). The process will include: Organizing boot-camps, Providing trainings, mentoring and necessary technology on entrepreneurial skills and open innovation; Transforming ideas into business plans through dedicated mentoring; Successful business plans registering for the incubation program at BIC; Providing matching, seed-funding opportunities, attaching with existing SMEs, etc.
During implementation of the first phase of the NIL, SMEDA will provide support in the areas of organizing specific training sessions / webinars at the NIL regarding all services of business development including advisory, feasibility, idea validation, registration, legality, regulatory compliance and counselling service. SMEDA will help new budding student entrepreneurs to refine their ideas into business plans and will also be responsible of creating liaison with SMEs, industries and integrating them with available investment, funding, and grant opportunities.#