Waqar Abbas, a resident of Skardu Town in Gilgit-Baltistan, is among two Pakistanis who will participate in the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Kenya this weekend.The summit has been organised on an annual basis since 2009 and encourages businessmen, educationists, policymakers and investors to support the growth of new enterprises in developing regions. This year’s ceremony will be addressed by US President Barack Obama.
Speaking to The Express Tribune over the phone on Thursday, the 30-year-old said he is excited about this opportunity. “The summit will give me a chance to interact with people from different backgrounds and broaden my vision,” he added.
After he graduated from the Institute of Business Administration, Karachi in 2010, Abbas co-founded RangYul Development Foundation, a social venture to assist small businesses grow by linking them with high-end markets. He is now the organisation’s chief strategy officer.
“I started this venture with a group of volunteers in May 2014,” he said. “Within a year, we were able to raise Rs3 million from various donors and managed to help over 350 entrepreneurs based in the mountainous regions of G-B expand their businesses.”
Feather in the cap
GES is yet another feather in his cap. Over the years, Abbas has attended a variety of programmes in the US on entrepreneurship development and fundraising. The 30-year-old has represented Pakistan on multiple platforms in US, Iran and Europe.
He has initiated youth development and empowerment initiatives in G-B, including the Meezan Young Leaders Development Program and Civil Society Young Leaders Development Program Skardu. “My vision is to empower and promote local businesses and entrepreneurs,” said Abbas.“Once this is achieved, we will be able to provide high-quality products at affordable prices and open doors for young people in the region.”
According to Abbas, G-B has a great deal of potential which ought to be fleshed out. “The local market can only be tapped if we groom and support young entrepreneurs,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 24th, 2015.