ISLAMABAD: While acknowledging the role startups are playing in the country’s economic growth and financial inclusion, Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Wednesday that his government will facilitate talented entrepreneurs in transforming their innovative ideas into sustainable businesses.
Addressing a ceremony at the National Incubation Centre (NIC) for startups under its Ignite programme, the premier gave his own example when urging youth not to be afraid of criticism.
He told youth not to take failures to heart saying: “When you critically analyse your mistakes and then retry, it only makes you stronger.”
Such incubation centres across the country will facilitate and provide support required to succeed including mentorship and networking by leading entrepreneurs, top professionals, investors and meet-ups.
The startups will showcase the technology entrepreneurial talent, highlight the impact and achievement of government-funded incubation centres besides discussing challenges of Pakistani entrepreneurial ecosystem.
The prime minister said his government will back the youth in their entrepreneurial ventures and also encourage growth in the information technology sector.
“We have the second youngest youth population in the world. With the direction the world is taking with artificial intelligence and blockchain technology, all we have to do is encourage our youth,” said the premier. “I am happy about this initiative that Ignite has taken to support startups,” he added.
Khan said the mark of a vibrant society and an upwardly-mobile government was that they encourage and support their young people.
Advising young entrepreneurs, he said: “Every big thing is preceded by a great idea and a person only becomes successful after going through difficulties.”
Ignite, under the umbrella of the Ministry of IT and Telecom, has launched a programme to build incubation centres across the country. The programme’s primary objective is to help aspiring startups become sustainable businesses by providing them with support and mentorship.
Khan said Pakistan has immense resources like gold, copper and coal reserves, however termed youth as the most valuable resource being the second youngest population in the world.
“We only have to fully tap the potential of youth and give them right direction,” he said, adding that the results could be encouraging in terms of national progress and prosperity.
He expressed confidence that Pakistan would lead the entire region provided it ensured a platform for its people, particularly youth to explore their potential.
The prime minister said to encourage entrepreneurs, an arrangement of close coordination among Information Technology Ministry, State Bank of Pakistan, E-commerce and Federal Bureau of Revenue, would be made.
The prime minister was also given a briefing about 10 best startups on the occasion.
The Startup friendly policies will bridge the gap between Pakistani ecosystem and global world best ecosystems including Silicon Valley, Europe, South East Asia and also for sharing of resources, best practices, knowledge.
As follow-up, the incubation centres will be established in second tiers cities, in addition to Vertical Specialty Incubation Centres/Innovation Centres and local VC Funds.
Published in Dawn, February 13th, 2020