Young people trying to start businesses in Pakistan face many hurdles, but that might be about to change.
The Commonwealth has partnered with the Superior University Group to find ways to help young entrepreneurs flourish, reducing Pakistan's high unemployment rate.
The Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship Policy Dialogue brought together leading lights from the business community, academia and government to draw up an action plan to nurture start-ups and create jobs.
Young people from Lahore were invited to join in, so they could explore how their paths to success could be made easier through the development of a more proactive business culture, tied into an overall national strategy.
Based on a Policy Guide on Youth Entrepreneurship developed by the Commonwealth in partnership with the UN Convention on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the dialogue focused on policies critical to creating a healthy climate for youth entrepreneurship, such as youth-friendly regulation, access to finance and harnessing the potential of technology and innovation.
“This policy dialogue underlines the importance we at the Commonwealth place on ensuring that our member governments develop the evidence-based policies and systems that will enable the young people to fulfil their goals and almost limitless potential, said the Commonwealth’s Programme Manager, Sushil Ram.
Participants at the policy dialogue identified the key challenges that young entrepreneurs currently face in Pakistan and also produced country-specific action plans that will enable government and young entrepreneurs to capitalise on for regional and global trade.
Nabeel Qadeer, Chief Innovation Officer of the Superior Group said, “The dialogue has given us the tools and ideas we need to ensure young people’s needs and aspirations are put at the centre of our entrepreneurship development framework so we can create a better environment to get our young people more excited about becoming entrepreneurs.
"This establishment of the Centre for Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship Research will help in boosting our capacity to develop, implement and monitor our policies and plans in a structured and cohesive way,” he added.
A key outcome of the policy dialogue was a commitment to develop an effective national strategy on youth entrepreneurship. Participants agreed to set up a Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship Research Centre at the Superior University to drive research, advocacy and policy dialogue to promote an "enabling ecosystem" for youth employment and entrepreneurship in Pakistan.
“Based on our experience, we are confident that this policy dialogue will spur policy makers to integrate youth entrepreneurship in their national development plans," concluded Mr Ram.