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Govt firm for providing enabling environment to young innovators: Ahsan Iqbal

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Minister for Planning Development and Special Initiative (MoPDSI) Professor Ahsan Iqbal on Wednesday reiterated the firm resolve of the government to provide an enabling environment to every youth of the country in order to get the maximum dividend from the existing bulge of the young population.

He stated this while addressing the young innovators and entrepreneurs during the award ceremony of the Pakistan Innovation Fund (PIF), which formally awarded a grant ranging from Rs5-20 million to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in the country.

The minister termed the project a ‘great success’ which was on the paper a few months back but today the first round has been implemented successfully. He also highlighted the project and said that Pakistan has a youth bulge, which must be given the right direction by giving them such opportunities so that they can contribute to the country’s development.

“Through initiatives like the PIF, we are fueling a culture of entrepreneurship and enabling visionary individuals to bring their ideas to life,” he remarked. He urged the youth to utilize their capabilities for the country’s development through innovative ideas, besides promoting the culture of entrepreneurship to create more employment opportunities for skilled and semi-skilled workforce in the country.

In April last year, the Planning Ministry, under the direction of Ahsan Iqbal launched the Rs10 billion PIF under Public Sector Development Program (PDSP) over the period of five years to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in the country. It is noted that since the government came into power, 15 youth development initiatives including 60,000 internships, technical and vocational trainings for 100,000 youth, 100,000 laptops, 5,000 scholarships for students of Balochistan and former FATA and 1,000 PhD scholarships at the top 100 universities in the US were provided.

Under the program, 75 scholarships at the top 25 universities of the world, 21 university campuses in remote districts, Rasta grants for research, 12 Seerat chairs, and seven centres of excellence were also established. In the round of the project, a total of 1,000 applications were received by the ministry through a competitive process and 95 applicants have been shortlisted, while 39 projects have been awarded the grant.

The thematic areas are governance, education, agriculture, health, tech start-ups and women entrepreneurship. In the governance category out of a total of 35, two projects have been awarded the grant, in education, out of the total, of 179, five projects have been awarded the grant, in agriculture total of 06 projects have been awarded the grant out of 211.

Similarly, in the health category three projects have been awarded the grant out of a total, of 180, in tech start-ups 19 projects have been awarded the grant out of a total, of 224 and four projects have been awarded the grant in the women entrepreneurship category out of a total 100.

Related: Digital economy vital for sustainable development: Ahsan Iqbal

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