ILO Pakistan, HEC collaborate to improve small businesses

Focus on economic development, creating jobs

Our Correspondent April 29, 2016

LAHORE: The International Labour Organisation (ILO), in collaboration with the Higher Education Commission (HEC), conducted a four-day ‘Refresher Training of Trainers’ at the HEC regional campus.

The training concluded on Friday with the distribution of completion certificates among participants.

Pakistani society averse to entrepreneurship

Part of the ‘Start and Improve Your Business’ programme, which is ILO’s global management training initiative, the training focused on starting and improving small businesses as a strategy for creating more and better employment, particularly in emerging economies.

The training was a follow-up of the Training of Trainers (TOT), imparted earlier to heads and supervisors of Business Incubation Centres (BICs) established at leading universities across Pakistan.

“It was also an opportunity to evaluate the impact that the earlier training had and to listen to the experiences of the participants and success stories of the entrepreneurs they had mentored,” said ILO Pakistan’s Gender Equality for Decent Employment (GEDE) Project Officer Incharge Munawar Sultana.

Explaining the background of the initiative, Sultana said the establishment of BICs at universities across Pakistan was a relatively new initiative of HEC. These centres, she said, provided new enterprises with subsidised facilities, mentoring, consultancy and networking opportunities to enable them to mature into viable businesses. Therefore, equipping the staff with requisite skills was vital for success.

Small businesses: Government focused on developing SMEs

In this backdrop, Sultana said, “HEC requested ILO for collaboration to introduce and roll out ILO’s SIYB in Pakistan through these BICs.”

The activities included institutional capacity building by provision of TOT to staff designated at BICs to extend gender mainstreamed business development services and strengthen new small businesses.

During the training, the participants also shared their experiences. COMSATS Islamabad Project Director Mohammad Ahsen Mirza said he could site two start-ups - ‘Smart Sense’ that manufactured high quality LED lights locally and ‘Apni Bijli’ that was about producing portable solar energy boxes - that benefitted from his training experience.

Punjab Vocational Training Centre Manager Staff Training Farrukh Bashir said that the training helped his organisation manage similar six trainings to the passing out students with an aim to help them set up businesses instead of looking for jobs.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 30th, 2016.

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