Global youth unemployment continues to aggravate along with an economic slowdown, young people across the world are questioning their professional growth and future once they graduate from college to secure a future.
Economically every country differs from another, but there is a way forward; through diversity, leveraging technology to cut costs & build bridges. Perhaps the ‘boost’ that Pakistan’s economy needs will primarily come from new-age job creation and an ingenuous breed of future-centric, technology-based pragmatic thinking that top business schools across the world are now evangelizing.
This was the core functionality and reason for the conference organized by Karachi Institute of Technology & Entrepreneurship in collaboration with The Center for Entrepreneurship at the George Mason University, Virginia, USA. The conference title namely ‘Enterprize – The Best Practices in Entrepreneurship’ focused around the importance of growing economies and businesses as the need for survival. Key note Speaker, Prof. Roger Stough the Associate Dean of Research stressed on how global economies like China and India have been able to sustain themselves with the help of leveraging on their people enhancing their skill sets and enabling their students to strive for something better and a more conducive beginning and end for themselves. Therefore, all major business schools are now focusing on more of practical and vocational training, providing the skill sets to their graduates which would last them a lifetime, and would also change mindsets, of achieving more than what is within their own reach.
A similar need for entrepreneurial education to help Pakistani youth recognize opportunity & to benefit from it was stressed upon by the chief guest Mohammad Zubair Minister of State for Privatization/ Chairman Privatization Commission. He stressed on the dearth of leadership roles to be taken up by the Government in order to promote open business policy and to create a mechanism and a platform for commercial and social entrepreneurship, micro entrepreneurship & intrapreneurship and encourage women to step up and assert themselves as drivers of economic change.
The first session was all about Entrepreneurship startups whereby all known and trusted commercial and social entrepreneurs spoke of the need for a systemic mechanism; what drove them to take a plunge into starting a venture on their own. Mr. Saad Farooqi, the Managing Director of OPTIMUS Limited spoke of the lack of priority given to mentor programs, audited reports and building a clean track record with vendors etc. which later on enrich the business on exceptional customer relationship, and generating revenue. Most of all he stressed on the skill of learning to say ‘NO’. Whereas, Atiff Azzim CEO of Venture Dive focused more on reaching out the customers locally and globally, and look out for opportunity, by broadening our horizon; keep an open eye towards innovation and diversity. Mr. Atif was all about setting the bar in assessing yourself, and changing the mindset.
Later on came the story of a Journey which began with determination and passion by Dr. Naseerudding Mehmood (Trustee of ChildLife Foundation) and Sabeen Mahmud Director of T2F and Co-Founder of PeaceNiche a reluctant non-conformist who never wanted to walk the off-beaten path. Both presenters spoke of their paramount fear of failure which is inevitable nevertheless one has to take that route and keep running towards the dream they have dreamt for themselves.
The second session was more academia focused whereby the representation was from the top business schools of Pakistan enlightening the audience with the various training programs and research opportunities available and how business schools in Pakistan are fast pacing facilitating the shift in paradigm, while not compromising over quality, but providing a more conducive learning, and a more practical environment for students to enhance their skill sets. The session was chaired by Dr. Mehtab S. Karim, and a panel discussion and presentation was given by Mr. Zafar Siddiqui – Director for Center for Entrepreneurship Development at IBA; Mr. Talib Karim – Executive Director Entrepreneurship & Management Excellence Center – IoBM; Dr. Shabib ul Hassan – Associate Professor Department of Public Administration at Karachi University along with Dr. Khalid Iraqi – Dean & Faculty of Business Management Sciences University of Karachi; Abuzar Wahidi – Former Dean of Business Management Sciences, University of Karachi & Dr. Ather Osama – Chief Executive Technomics International Limited.
The concluding session summarized the entire day’s key points taken in from all the speakers moderated by Dr. Mehtab S. Karim along with comments and suggestions given by the audience, how this initiative of spreading the entrepreneurial wings should be taken forward, what has worked for individuals and new startups and what needs to be improved. All in all the conference benefitted students wanting to know more about the local business arena and ways to enter, along with other professionals who have the ideas and the creativity for new ventures and startups, but the fear of failure and lack of funding becomes a discouraging factor for them to not proceed forward. All these questions and queries were answered at the conference, by the panelists, organizers and speakers, for a more promising future.
Entrepreneurs are creative eccentric individuals who live off hope, determination and pure passion. The conference focused on addressing the importance of this, and providing a guideline and direction to those who want to follow their passion.
“One of the huge mistakes people make is that they try to force an interest on themselves. You don’t choose your passions; your passions choose you.”
– Jeff Bezos