Islamabad: The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) in collaboration with United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) organized an “Investors Connect Program” (ICP) to bring together innovators and investors to promote innovations and explore mutually beneficial matchmakings. Maroof Afzal, Secretary, Ministry of Industries and Production was the Chief Guest of the ceremony. The innovators of UNIDO’s Global Cleantech Innovation Program (GCIP) participated in the Investors Connect Program and presented their innovations to the potential investors so that investors could support commercialization of innovative business ideas.
Speaking at the occasion, Maroof Afzal, Secretary, Ministry of Industries and Production said that government should make supportive policies for innovators to bring industrial revolution in Pakistan. He said Pakistan’s 60% youth was 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. He appreciated 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 address 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.
Sheikh Amir Waheed, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that Investors Connect Program was 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 & support to excel in innovations. He stressed that public-private partnership models should be developed to support innovators. He assured that ICCI would continue to partner with UNIDO in initiatives aimed at promoting innovators, startups and SMEs. At this occasion, ICCI also launched an “Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum” (IEF) to bring all public and private sector organizations working for promoting innovations, at a single platform and bring synergy in their efforts for better promotion of innovators and startups. HEC, Ignite and UNIDO have assured to support ICCI in this initiative to foster a culture of innovations in the region.
Ms. Nadia Aftab, UNIDO Country Director said that access to capital was major hurdle for Pakistani innovators and hoped that ICP would help innovators in transforming innovative ideas into rising brands. She said world renowned companies like Google and Facebook were also launched as startups and hoped that ICP would contribute to promote some big companies in Pakistan.
Neil Buhne, UN Resident Coordinator and Mr. Alois Mhlanga, UNIDO Project Manager from HQ also spoke at the occasion. They said Pakistan has great future for innovations and entrepreneurship. They were optimistic that such programs would unleash real potential of Pakistani innovators to grow into big brands of the country. At the occasion a Final Gala was also organized to reward the five best innovators of GCIP.