The Higher Education Commission (HEC), the Promotion of Education in Pakistan (PEP) Foundation and nine public sector universities in Pakistan have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in order to open “Student Start-up Business Centers” in the participating universities. The ceremony for MoU signing was held at the HEC Secretariat on Tuesday.
The Student Start-up Business Centers aim to promote entrepreneurship among students who are a part of the higher education system in the country. The program will provide the necessary support so that these students can launch their own businesses.
The centers will also discover and attract sources of financial assistance from investors, business community and donors. A student entrepreneurship fund will also be set up, which will be managed by the centers as well. The funds will be utilized to assist the most talented upcoming entrepreneurs in setting up their own businesses.
In light of the MoU, all the stakeholder parties will contribute Rs. 2 million each for every business center and the universities will fund at least five start-ups each year. Upcoming entrepreneurs will be required to prepare proposals with detailed future plans, feasibility and budget studies. The start-up centres will assist the applicant entrepreneurs in preparing and working in proposals.
The HEC will work on organizing mentoring workshops occasionally. The finals selection of proposals will be handled by a selection committee consisting of HEC officials, university committee members, PEP Foundation representatives and market experts.
The list of public sector universities which signed the memorandum are:
- National University of Sciences and Technology, Islamabad
- Virtual University, Lahore
- Pakistan Institute of Fashion and Design, Lahore
- University of Agriculture, Faisalabad
- Mehran University of Engineering and Technology, Jamshoro
- University of Science and Technology, Bannu
- Shah Abdul Latif University, Khairpur
- Government College University, Faisalabad
- COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Islamabad.
While speaking at the MoU signing ceremony, HEC Chairman, Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed said that the HEC has invested Rs.50 million in “Student advancement endowment fund” in 50 universities from the public sector.
PEP Foundation President, Dr. Khalid Iqbal, said the higher education sector has improved drastically during the past decade and investing in the upcoming business potential from the education sector is essential for improving the economy of the country.
This new step will certainly go a long way in helping the financial state of the country and its people if managed properly. Such a large scale entrepreneur investment program has great potential if the government organizations and universities manage to work on upcoming talent to produce well-versed professionals, business persons and leaders who can compete with the rest of the world.