The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) in association with United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) organized an “Investors Connect Program” (ICP) to bring together investors and innovators to promote innovations and explore mutually beneficial matchmakings. Secretary Ministry of Industries and Production, Maroof Afzal was the chief guest of the occasion.
The innovators of UNIDO’s Global Cleantech Innovation Program (GCIP) took part in the Investors Connect Program and presented their innovative ideas to the potential investors so that investors could support commercialization of innovative business ideas.
Speaking at the occasion Secretary Ministry of Industries and Production, Maroof Afzal said that government should make supportive policies for innovators to bring industrial revolution in Pakistan. He said Pakistan’s 60% youth is under 30 years of age that offered great potential for innovations. He said conducive environment and good incentives were needed for the innovative ideas to flourish.
Maroof Afzal expressed warm appreciation regarding the initiative of ICCI and UNIDO for taking lead to organize Investors Connect Program and urged the investors to support innovators for building innovative culture in Pakistan. He stressed for a mechanism and system to counter barriers and support creative talent and new technologies in Pakistan. He hoped that ICP would lead to formation of some big companies in Pakistan and assured that his ministry would support such initiatives.
President Islamabad Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Sheikh Amir Waheed said that Investors Connect Program was being organized by ICCI for the first time in Pakistan in collaboration with UNIDO to provide innovators a good platform to connect with investors for commercialization of innovative ideas. He said Pakistan has great talent of innovators and they needed right direction and support to excel in innovations.
Mr. Waheed stressed that public-private partnership models should be developed to support innovators. He further assured that ICCI would continue to partner with UNIDO in initiatives aimed at promoting innovators, startups and SMEs. At this occasion, Islamabad Chambers of Commerce and Industry also launched an “Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum” (IEF) to bring all public and private sector organizations working for the promotion of innovations, at a single platform and ensure synergy in their efforts for better promotion of innovators and startups. Higher Education Commission, Ignite and United Nations Industrial Development Organisation have assured of their full support to ICCI in this initiative to foster a strong and healthy culture of innovations in the region.
Country Director UNIDO, Ms. Nadia Aftab said that access to capital was the major hurdle for Pakistani innovators and hoped that Investors Connect Program would help innovators in transforming innovative ideas into rising brands. She said that world renowned companies like Google and Facebook were also launched as startups, which have become the giants of technology business today. She hoped that ICP would contribute to create and promote some big companies in Pakistan.
UN Resident Coordinator Neil Buhne and UNIDO Project Manager Mr. Alois Mhlanga also addressed the occasion. They said Pakistan has great future for innovations and entrepreneurship. They were highly optimistic that such programs would unleash real potential of Pakistani innovators to grow into big brands of the country. A Final Gala was also organized to reward the five best innovators of Global Cleantech Innovation Program(GCIP). The Global Cleantech Innovation Program was established by UNIDO to promote an innovation and entrepreneur ecosystem by identifying and nurturing cleantech innovators and entrepreneurs. GCIP aims to achieve its objective by building capacity within national institutions and partner organizations for the sustainable implementation of the cleantech ecosystem and accelerator approach.
GCIP is a global competition aimed at promotion of innovations in the area of Clean Technologies. This competition is simultaneously carried out in six countries i.e. Armenia, India, Malaysia, Pakistan, Turkey and South Africa.
Through GCIP, UNIDO supports and works with national policy makers to strengthen the supportive policy framework for SMEs and entrepreneurs in the participating countries. By implementing this cleantech ecosystem and accelerator approach, the GCIP catalyzes investment to support and accelerate startup entrepreneurs towards the development and commercialization of their innovative ideas. Last year, ICCI and UNIDO also launched “Women in Cleantech Campaign” which aimed at encouraging women entrepreneurs to embrace clean technology products that offered immense potential for business growth.