LAHORE – The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) has signed a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding with the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and the five universities selected to implement its National Idea Lab program (NIL) aimed at promoting entrepreneurship among educated young people.
The MoU was signed by SMEDA CEO Hashim Raza, HEC Executive Director Dr. Shaista Sohail and the Vice Chancellors of the five selected universities, including Dr. Rizwan Riaz from the University of Science and technologies (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 delivered by Dr. Amjad Hussain, Director General and Ms. Noshaba Awais, RFI-HEC Director, in addition to signing the agreement. SMEDA CEO Hashim Raza during the signing ceremony said the National Idea Lab (NIL) will encourage the development of entrepreneurship and the creation of new businesses to nurture and promote the creative ideas of young entrepreneurs. NIL aims to provide a physical and virtual environment to generate, develop and commercialize innovative ideas through training, mentoring and technology assistance, he added. He said HEC would provide information on networking opportunities, capacity building programs and program monitoring and evaluation, while selected HEC institutions would provide the necessary support through their business incubation (BIC). He explained that initially, NILs would be established at National University of Science and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Institute of Management Sciences (IMSciences), Peshawar, University of NED Engineering and Technology, Karachi, Balochistan University of Computer Science, Engineering and Management (BUITEMS), Quetta and National Textile University (NTU), Faisalabad.
Earlier, the Executive Director of HEC, Shaista Sohail, in her welcoming address, thanked the CEO of SMEDA for trusting HEC to implement an innovative program to promote entrepreneurship among young people. educated. She was convinced that the National Idea Lab (NIL) program would bring tangible results in the creation of new and unconventional businesses. She said Pakistani youth are teeming with exclusive business ideas, which would be turned into active businesses with the support of NIL. She assured to provide the fullest support of HEC to make the program an ultimate success in achieving the goals of developing entrepreneurship in the country. She said HEC is proud to be in charge of the NIL initiative. It should be noted that under the NIL program, interested students or researchers with an innovative idea would be eligible to share the space, experience, information, and resources of the National Idea Lab, which would eventually get their idea across. through a step-by-step process for incubation as a startup or SME in the respective Business Incubation Center. (BIC).
The process will include: organizing boot-camps; providing training, mentoring and the necessary technology on entrepreneurial skills and open innovation; turn ideas into business plans through dedicated mentorship; successful business plans as part of BIC’s incubation program; offer matching and start-up funding opportunities, partner with existing SMEs, etc.
During the implementation of the first phase of NIL, SMEDA would provide support in the areas of running NIL-specific training sessions/webinars on all business development services including consultancy, feasibility, idea validation, registration, legality, regulatory compliance and advisory service. .
SMEDA would help budding new student entrepreneurs refine their ideas into business plans and would also be responsible for liaising with SMEs, industries and onboarding them to available investment, financing and grant opportunities.