GEN Country in the Pipeline for Pakistan, GEW Puts the Spotlight on Youth and Women

Buke Cuhadar | December 06, 2016
Photo Credit: GEW Pakistan


During Global Entrepreneurship Week Pakistan, which wrapped up at the end of November, the spotlight was on youth and women entrepreneurship, two of the global themes of GEW this year.  Local GEW host Kashif Khan of Alternate Solutions, ran a successful campaign along with more than 20 event partners in five cities of Pakistan. Approximately 10,000 people attended the activities.

Iqra University North and Gulshan Campuses in Karachi, celebrated GEW with a weeklong schedule of events between Nov. 14 – 20, in order to cultivate and promote entrepreneurship among the youth and to inspire them to become entrepreneurs. There were various training and guest speaker sessions to provide hands-on experience for students to become familiar with how entrepreneurs think, how to identify opportunities and make the best choices, how to develop a business plan, and how to find and attract capital to start their own business.

Other sessions also covered social entrepreneurship and how to execute it. There were also business plan competitions so that aspiring entrepreneurs could see how their ideas and plans fared against others. More than 1,100 students participated in the activities.

Another GEW Pakistan event partner, the Millennium University College (TMUC) Gujranwala organised a two-day event called “Creating Opportunities For Young Talent” on Nov. 15 – 16. These two days were dedicated to events designed specifically to appeal to young people: National Wall Graffiti Competition, a Fashion Parade and an evening filled with musical performances.

The National Wall Graffiti Competition received an overwhelmingly positive response from Pakistani young people. There were 75 four-member teams from all over Pakistan registered for the competition. The participants were given the theme of "Truck Art and Calligraphy.” A famous landscape painter and an internationally renowned calligrapher were invited to judge the event, and a young entrepreneur was invited as a guest speaker to inspire the young participants with his success story. 

For the Fashion Parade and the Music Night that followed it on the second day, auditions were held on Oct. 26, with more than 70 participants attending. A professional model and a professional singer were selected to judge the participants. The winning participants, which included five singers and four models, received training sessions. In the Fashion Parade, three designers showcased their creations. Giti Ara’s performance on the Music Night proved to be very engaging for the audience. Afterward, the winning participants took to the stage to sing to an audience of 600 young people.

The Millennium University College (TMUC) Islamabad also joined GEW Pakistan celebrations with a two-day event on Nov. 17-18. They also organized a fashion show: "The Millennium Fashion Parade" which showcased creations of iconic entrepreneurs from the fashion industry as well as the creations of TMUC students who aspire to launch their own labels. TMUC students from Islamabad and Rawalpindi campuses joined Pakistan’s top models on the catwalk followed by an evening of music featuring Nescafe’ Basement and Bakshi Brothers. The next day consisted of panel discussions led by successful entrepreneurs, focusing on how to overcome challenges and how “small” ideas can lead to huge successful businesses.

VISIONi, a local consulting business based in Karachi partnered with GEN Pakistan to conduct a one-day workshop, “Start Your Business” on 16 November as part of GEW Pakistan activities. The workshop was held for aspiring businessmen, early-stage entrepreneurs and innovators. The aim of the workshop was to equip the participants with the tools and experience to formulate their own viable business model. The workshop received positive feedback from the participants who were inspired by the wealth of ideas, brainstorming, networking and learning opportunities presented in the workshop.

Another local GEW event partner, CIRCLE Pakistan, a leading platform for women’s entrepreneurship and economic empowerment in Pakistan, hosted a story-telling based public speaking workshop on Thursday, Nov. 17, for women leaders. This was the launch event for CIRCLE’s Young Professionals’ Network – an initiative for facilitating and supporting women leaders. CIRCLE initiative is convinced that investing in women is the smartest economic venture of our time and that when women are able to develop their full potential, communities prosper and economies grow. 

Aurelie Salvaire, a social entrepreneur and coach from Barcelona, who brought her experience of curating multiple TEDx conferences and coaching TEDx speakers to the audience, led the storytelling workshop. Female professionals from leading as well as from start-ups attended the interactive workshop that was held at Bank Alfalah Learning Centre. The workshop engaged participants to practise pitching their ideas, mapping their journey, and owning their narrative. CIRCLE celebrated women entrepreneurship during GEW Pakistan by featuring a woman entrepreneur every day of the week. CIRCLE’s will soon also release their research on the state of women entrepreneurship in Pakistan.

CIRCLE also carried the discussion on women entrepreneurship online by hosting a Twitter conversation ‘The Entrepreneur’s Journey: Opportunities and Challenges’ on Saturday 19th November for one hour. Individuals, incubators and startups joined in using the hashtags  #GEW2016 and #CIRCLEWomen to crowdsource ideas and start a discussion on the entrepreneurial landscape for women in Pakistan. 

GEN Global is pleased to announce that talks continue at full speed to create GEN Pakistan in collaboration with invest2innovate and Khan as the GEW host in Pakistan. Invest2innovate is an organization that acts as an incubator and investor to young entrepreneurs in Pakistan, as well as providing cutting-edge data, insights and analysis for growth markets. GEN Pakistan will bring together the key stakeholders in Pakistan’s ecosystem. Watch this space for more details soon.

Buke Cuhadar
Buke Cuhadar serves as Vice President of the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN), a year-round platform of programs and initiatives created by the... About the Author