July 23 - 29, 20

Suddenly entrepreneurship is in vogue. If only our nation's business - large and small- could become more entrepreneurial, the thinking goes, we would improve our productivity and compete more effectively in the world marketplace.

But what does entrepreneurial mean? Managers describes entrepreneurship with such terms as innovative, flexible, dynamic, risk taking, creative and growth oriented. The popular press on the other hand, often defines the term as starting and operating new ventures like Apple, Domino's and Red Bull are few examples.

Neither approach to a definition of entrepreneurship is precise or perspective enough for managers who wish to be more entrepreneurial. Everybody wants to be innovative, flexible and creative. But for every Apple, Domino's and Red Bull, there are thousands of new restaurants, clothing stores, beverages products and consulting firms that presumably have tried to be innovative, to grow and to show other characteristics that are entrepreneurial in the dynamic sense - but have failed.

So the question for the would-be entrepreneur is: How can I make innovation, flexibility and creativity operational? To help this person discover some answer, IBA, Karachi organized a competition plan under the banner of "Unveiling the revolutionary ideas" programme.

A revolutionary business plan competition that spanned over six months from January to July called INVENT 2012 and it attracted 137 Universities from all over Pakistan and more than 2500 students who went through six months of gruelling business plan exercises. These exercises provided an enormous opportunity of learning for students through trainings, workshops and especially through mentoring provided by the industry personnel.

The Invent grand's finale was held in Karachi on July 14, 2012 and the representation from industry and students was commendable. In his In his welcome address, Zafar Ahmed Siddiqui, Director of Centre for Entrepreneurial Development (CED) said žEntrepreneurship is a concept we need to sell everyday; working 9 to 5 is all very well but doing something on your own is a much better phenomenon".

Dean and Director IBA, Dr. Ishrat Husain elaborated on the reasons why emphasis is given to entrepreneurship. The three key reasons, he identified were the existing of small and medium enterprises are functioning below their optimum capacity and hence have room for expansion; the youth have inherent risk taking ability but don't have the tools and techniques and lastly our labor force is expanding by 1.5% per annum and there is a great need for job creators rather than job seekers. In his address Dr. Ishrat said "for these reason IBA has committed to Entrepreneurship through mentoring, educating, training and research".

The key note address was given by Ambassador Shahid Kamal, Advisor Science, Technology & Innovation Organization, and COMSTECH on "Emerging Trends and Practices in the Framework of Entrepreneurship". He very rightly pointed out "it is the world of ideas today; imagination, idea and innovation together are the key resource to achieve success".

In one of the panel discussion the question arises that what is the state of entrepreneurship in Pakistan and what is the role played by universities in promoting entrepreneurship? According to panellist that no doubt HEC did a lot but still there is a strong need for introducing entrepreneurship as a specialized subject according to HEC prescribed curriculum entrepreneurship only include in BBA syllabus, along this very few universities in Pakistan offering entrepreneurship as specialized subject in their MBA courses. Local indigenous resources for case studies insufficient, next to, there are lack of funds for faculty training despite knowing the fact that resource persons also have not full command in the topic. There is also a strong need to introduce a new curriculum based on the present world requirements with successful case studies.

In second panel discussion the panellist emphasised that there should be some connection between universities and industries for promoting entrepreneurship, for developing a successful case studies which spread in Gujranwala to Sialkot for young Entrepreneur. Unfortunately, entrepreneurs are generally not conducting Research and Development (R&D). According to entrepreneurs production cost being high and margins narrow R&D is not affordable. Major reasons for cost being high include: high utility prices and minimum wage fixed by government.

Promoting entrepreneurship is an important priority for Pakistan's economic development. According to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor's 2010 report, Pakistan lags in start-ups, with less than half the rate of early-stage entrepreneurial activity found in other factor-driven economies. Part of the problem is that most young people coming out of universities prefer searching for a job instead of exploring entrepreneurial career opportunities dialogue with students and start-ups.

For this the efforts of IBA - Centre for Entrepreneurial Development (CED) were applauded at every stage for encouraging the youth of Pakistan to explore the entrepreneurial path. Invent - The Entrepreneurial Challenge is indeed one big step to imbibe the youth of our country with the latest in Entrepreneurial and Innovation fields.