SAARC CCI Startup Task Force meeting

The SAARC CCI Startup Taskforce Meeting was held at the Yak and Yeti Hotel, Kathmandu, Nepal, on May 3, 2019.

Ms. Hina Saeed, Secretary General of SAARC CCI, in her introductory remarks welcomed the Startup Taskforce members and all the distinguished guests to the meeting and highlighted the massive potential for economic cooperation between startups of the region and said that the challenges of South Asia can only be overcome by adopting groundbreaking technologies.  

The SAARC CCI Startup Task Force meeting was attended by Mr. Ruwan Edirisinghe, President of SAARC CCI, Mr. Iftikhar Ali Malik, Senior Vice President of SAARC CCI, the Vice Presidents of SAARC CCI, Executive Committee Members and General Assembly Members of SAARC CCI, and officials of SAARC CCI and Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI).

Representing the Startup Taskforce, Dr. Shanta Thoutam, Vice President, Corporate Innovation & BD, T-Hub, India, Mr. Dulith Herath, Chairman and Founder,, Sri Lanka, Mr. Furqan Kidwai, CEO and Founder,, Pakistan and Mr. Ahmed Fahim Didar, Executive Director, Aghaez, Afghanistan participated in the meeting.

Ms. Hina Saeed, Secretary General SAARC CCI during her address explained that as per a decision of the Startup Vision Summit 2018 held in Bengaluru, India, from 3rd to 5th December 2018, a pro bono SAARC Startup Task Force was formed. Furthermore, she presented the objectives of the Startup Taskforce along with some pictures of the Startup Vision Summit 2018 and the list of all taskforce members.

The Startup Taskforce Members presented a number of recommendations at the conclusion of meeting.
  • Establish a SAARC Venture Capital Fund, managed by professional venture capitalists, thereby venture capital is allocated proportionately to countries in the SAARC region based on the requirements of startup ecosystems in respective countries.
  • Encourage governments in the South Asian region to play a major role in creating a habitable environment, a conducive milieu for the startup ecosystems
  • Encourage governments in South Asia to establish national policies of innovation and to foster startups ecosystems.
  • Encourage more public private partnerships for setting up effective Incubators, Tinkering Labs, E-Cells, Centres of Excellence for the improvement of startups ecosystems in countries in the region.
  • Enhance the quality of entrepreneurs via programmes conducted at early stages of schools improving critical thinking and gradually cultivating entrepreneurial skills in children enabling them to become quality and innovative entrepreneurs at the right time.       
  • Create effective network of startup ecosystems between countries in South Asia and the developed western world thereby creating opportunities to share best practices and innovations.
  • Organize Startup Weekends (A Workshop Model) where groups of developers, business managers, startup enthusiasts, marketing experts, graphic artists get together and pitch ideas for new startup companies, form teams based on those ideas, and work to develop a working prototype, demo, or presentation of their projects at the end of the workshop.
  • Support the governments in South Asia to transfer research findings and policy recommendations to market via public private partnerships.

Group picture of SAARC CCI Startup Taskforce with hon'ble
SAARC CCI delegates in Kathmandu, Nepal

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