Governor Sindh Imran Ismail on Wednesday distributed cash prizes and certificates among the winner of the provincial level competition of the National Idea Bank at the Karachi University Business School Auditorium of the University of Karachi.

He was the chief guest at the closing ceremony of the NIB provincial level completion. Governor Sindh Imran Ismail informed the audience that NIB is a collaboration among academia, government, and industry, and aims at addressing indigenous issues through the application of technology and innovations in business and governance models.

He shared that NIB is the vision of President Pakistan Dr Arif Alvi, who inaugurated this project in February 2021. “It’s an element of satisfaction to see that his vision is well in progress. The NIB program works on identifying the talented youth of our country. I am certain that the stakeholders of this program are prepared to give the entrepreneurs adequate recognition and support promotion of their businesses.”

He mentioned that the purpose of this “idea hunting competition” is to find solutions for industrial problems and social challenges efficiently and effectively. Imran Ismail said that over 2,000 ideas came from all over Pakistan from six different sectors while more than 14,000 registrations were made for this NIB event and 10 teams from each sector got selected to compete at the provincial level. These figures reflect how much popular this program has been at the national and overseas levels.

The KU Vice Chancellor Professor Dr Khalid Mahmood Iraqi NIB is focusing on six important sectors i.e. e-commerce, health, education, agriculture, natural resources, and construction. He observed that the future of our students is bright.

He said that we need to think something out of the box and creative, and lauded that the National Idea Bank is a good initiative and the ideas that we got from this platform will help in all economical aspects.

“With the help of such events, you can get a chance to showcase your innovative ideas to multiple investors not only to gain some valuable exposure but also to get some valuable feedback. You will build a network, potential partnerships but, most importantly, you will get a chance to secure funding and accelerate your business.”

The KU VC Professor Dr Khalid Iraqi said that we have got 400 plus ideas in agriculture, health, education, e-commerce, natural resources, and construction sectors. Meanwhile, the VC Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology Professor Dr Valiuddin expressed that it’s been 10 months since the inauguration of NIB and SSUET being the national host is fully involved and participating in all aspects with the stakeholders to convert this vision into reality.

He shared that we have sent invites to higher education institutions of strategically placed cities from five provinces of Pakistan to cover the whole region and to provide an equal opportunity to all the Pakistanis.

He said that after the city-level competition, mentoring sessions were conducted for the successful candidates, where professional mentors guided them and had one-to-one sessions with each group.

He added that then at the second stage the selected participants from each city level competition proceeded to the provincial level where online competitions were held from December 14 to 16 2021 in four different cities.

The SSUET VC Professor Dr Valiuddin mentioned that this isn’t the end for NIB, because the selected ideas will now proceed to the national level which is going to be held on January 27, 2022, and the President will be the chief guest at the ceremony.

Meanwhile, Chancellor SSUET Jawed Anwar shared that the ultimate goal of NIB is not just a competitive league but to connect the innovative brilliant ideas from the whole country with the investors and venture capitalists.

He said that for the last four months we are continuously having meetings, almost thrice a week for all the coordination and planning like the development of websites, idea’s collection portal, setting of idea collection criteria, setting judges selection criteria, establishing judges code of conduct, running social media campaigns, development up-gradation websites and portals, coordination with judges and mentoring sessions.

He mentioned that it was nice to see each participant who came forward with their innovative ideas, and is working to bring a change in the society, and is contributing with their role in nation-building.

On this occasion, the Program Director NIB and Director Office of Research Innovation and Commercialization SSUET Dr Rabia Enaam informed that the ‘call for ideas’ was pitched in 12 cities of Pakistan. She said that from Sukkur 25 ideas were received while 106 ideas were shared from Hyderabad and Karachi had contributed 436 ideas.

According to her, in total Sindh collected 567 ideas out of 2098 total ideas collected from all over Pakistan. Dr Rabia said that 60 ideas got qualified for the provincial level competition and now there are 24 ideas from Sindh which is entering the final level that is the national level

The Manager KU ORIC Dr Asma Tabassum said that after the completion of the city-level competition and before the provincial level judging, to prepare and groom the teams, we conducted systematic and thorough mentoring sessions of competitors.

She added that we conducted virtual seminars and then 24 one-to-one mentoring sessions by more than 12 experienced and qualified mentors from academia and industries. That gave a great improvement in the quality of ideas, their presentation, and pitching skills. Now for the national level, we have further arranged high-level boot camps for the finalists. All the ideas, that were submitted in response to NIB’s call for ideas were great.

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