How innovation and Entrepreneurship could be promoted in Islamabad
By: Engr. Asghar Hayat
Every now and then, we hear that the market is saturated with engineers and the intake in engineering universities need to be aligned with the market demand. Some of the friends, better call them as frustrated un-employed engineers, keep saying that the problem of un-employment is due to the permission granted by Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC) to have so many engineering programs in universities, in the recent years.
Some of the senior engineers call it a lack of strategy at government level to accommodate passing engineers and technical manpower in the professional fields. Standard of education and lack of practical understanding is another commonly discussed issue. Whatever, is the cause, we have a big number, lot of un-employed engineers waiting for their first job since three to four years. Which indeed is a very sad situation.
Should we keep on blaming different institutions?
Every time I pass by the Arts and Crafts Village, a demo village developed by CDA Islamabad, to promote handicrafts, I see a couple of commercial restaurants which are hiding the face of actual village. I tried to find out the purpose of this so called village. Promotion of handcrafts is great. I have only seen two activities in this big structure comprising many acres of land and mud like huts i.e. an exhibition of the crafts held once a year and a spring festival. Never seen anything else around the year, beside the wild animals. Definitely, CDA is spending a lot to maintain this village through permanent staff and annual budgets but many of the craftsmen in Pakistan may not have even heard of it.
Would it be better if this village could be converted into an entrepreneurs’ village with micro offices for young entrepreneurs, training and guidance center and a club to host successful businessman. This could generate a lot of new, practical ideas which in turn could be converted into marketable products. This money losing enterprise could be transformed into something far more useful. Many of Pakistan or indeed world’s new products could come out of this hatchery. If this is too much of a sacred cow, we could create an independent vibrant Entrepreneurship Village based on all kinds of Engineering Technologies.
As the CPEC is already in implementation, this village could be linked with CPEC to prepare a force of young entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, the whole document of long term plan 2017-2030 given by Planning Commission is devoid of any word like entrepreneur or a young entrepreneur. No plan to develop a nursery of future businessmen for the so called potential opportunities coming with CPEC is seen in the documents. This reflects that we have only visions but do not have strategies to achieve them. We want private investors to join hands in CPEC but are unable to tell the budding entrepreneurs about their role. We have considered building mega energy, transport and infrastructure projects in public sector development program, we are expecting industrial zones only to further complement the seasoned businessmen and to converge the wealth more in top 50 families of Pakistan.
Let’s consider creating an Engineering Entrepreneurs’ Village, let’s go for out of the box solution for un-employed technically skilled labour and professional engineers. Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) can take the lead in this matter. If we can have the Sunday markets all over Islamabad, why can’t we have space and funding for such project?
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