National Entrepreneurship Summit: A BootCamp for Early-stage Startups

The SCCI Vice Presidents’ Meeting was held virtually on December 9, 2022 at 3.30 p.m. (IST). The meeting was called on by Mr. Iftikhar Ali Malik, President SCCI, with the objective of discussing the matters related to the renewal of recognition of SCCI and the handover of SCCI Presidency from Pakistan to the next country, Bhutan.

Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Butt, Acting Secretary General SCCI, welcomed the respected participants and officially commenced the meeting. The meeting was attended by Mr. Iftikhar Ali Malik, President SCCI, Mr. Dasho Ugen Tsechup Dorji, Senior Vice President SCCI / Chair of the Committee on SCCI Recognition, Mr. Vinod Juneja, Vice President (India) SCCI, Mr. Chandi Raj Dhakal, Vice President (Nepal) SCCI, Mr. Haji Ghulam Ali, Vice President (Pakistan) SCCI, Dr. M. Rohitha Silva, Vice President (Sri Lanka) SCCI, Mr. Zubair Ahmed Malik, EC Member (Pakistan) SCCI and Mr. Ruwan Edirisinghe, Immediate Past President SCCI / EC Member (Sri Lanka) SCCI.

Mr. Iftikhar Ali Malik, President SCCI, in his opening remarks, mentioned that the SCCI Headquarters Building has almost been completed, hence the SCCI Secretariat has been operating at the SCCI Headquarters Building since the beginning of 2022. He emphasized that the SCCI Headquarters Building has almost been completed because of the efforts of the Leadership of SCCI Headquarters Building Project Committee and the generosity of the Pakistani Government.

Mr. Dasho Ugen Tsechup Dorji, Senior Vice President SCCI / Chair of the Committee on SCCI Recognition, appreciated Mr. Iftikhar Ali Malik, President SCCI, for striving hard to complete the state-of-the-art SCCI Headquarter Building and for his great service for SCCI since its inception.

During the meeting, it was discussed that the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) together with Mr. Vinod Juneja, Vice President (India) SCCI should try their best to get the support of the Ministry of External Affairs of India for the renewal of SCCI recognition at the Meeting of the Council of SAARC Foreign Ministers and the Standing Committee. It was further emphasised that the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FNCCI) together with Mr. Chandi Raj Dhakal, Vice President (Nepal) SCCI should try their best to urge the SAARC Secretariat, based in Nepal, to take necessary and effective steps for organizing the Meeting of the Council of SAARC Foreign Ministers and the Standing Committee at the earliest possible time.

During the meeting, Vice President SCCI (Sri Lanka), Dr. Rohitha Silva invited President SCCI and all Vice Presidents to Colombo at the SAARC Tourism Forum (SAARC Tourism Ministers / Foreign Ministers Congress) in February/March 2023 focusing on promoting the South Asian tourism industry. It was suggested that the same platform could be used for lobbying the SAARC member governments to support SCCI in terms of receiving the renewal of recognition from SAARC as an apex body.

The 38th SAARC Charter Day was co-organized by SCCI and the Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) in partnership with the Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF) on December 13, 2022 in Marriott Hotel, Islamabad, Pakistan.

The event commenced with the welcome address of Mr. Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, President of FPCCI. During the address, he emphasized “Pakistan is dedicated to achieving economic, social, and cultural development by addressing common challenges such as poverty, unemployment, terrorism, transnational crime, and climate change.” He further added, “as a result, I am confident that our region will emerge as a driving force in the global economy.”

The chief guest of the event was Hon’ble Haji Ghulam Ali, Governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province (KPK) and Vice President (Pakistan) SCCI. Addressing on this occasion, he stated “regional cooperation remains an important factor to bring peace and affluence within South Asia and beyond. Let us all reunite and recommit to achieving the shared goal of a peaceful and prosperous South Asia”. He insisted the SAARC member countries come forward to pool their resources, for providing a better future to the people of South Asia through the platform provided by SAARC.

Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Butt, Acting Secretary General SCCI, in his concluding remarks, thanked all distinguished guests for their presence. He stated that the combined economy of SAARC is the 5th largest in the world in terms of GDP. He further added, “over 30 percent of its population is young, which makes it the most youthful region in the world. The region has more than 350+ Giga Watt hydroelectric potential which can change the fate of the region.”

The 38th SAARC Charter Day celebration was also attended by the diplomatic missions of SAARC countries including, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka along with the representatives of SAARC Arbitration Council, SAARC Energy Center, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Pakistan. The leaders of the business community including the President of Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (RCCI), Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI), Rawalpindi Women Chamber of Commerce & Industry (RWCCI), and representatives of civil society and media took part at the event.

The China-South Asia Business Council Meeting (CSABCM) was held virtually on February 4, 2021, and organized by SCCI a collaborative partner to China South Asia Business Forum (CSABF). The meeting was held in partnership with the China Council for Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) Yunnan Sub Council.

The aim of the 2021 China-South Asia Business Council Meeting was to address the practical difficulties encountered in economic and trade cooperation between China and South Asian countries during the Covid-19 pandemic situation along with solutions and the preparations for China-South Asia Business Forum in 2021. Furthermore, the Meeting discussed the redetermination of the rotating presidency and briefing on the 2021 South & Southeast Asia Commodity Expo and Investment Fair.

Mr. Wu Meng, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Cooperation and Development, China Chamber of International Commerce, inaugurated the forum which was also addressed by Mr. Liu Qilin, Secretary of the Party Committee of CCPIT Yunnan Sub-Council, representatives of South Asian embassies in China, and the Chairman of SANY Heavy Industry Co. LTD.

Mr. Wu Meng in his inaugural address welcomed all distinguished guests and said that year 2020 began with some unprecedented challenges with the outbreak of COVID-19, impacting international trade and investment. He added that with a wish to rationally encourage exchanges and cooperation and achieve common development, we terribly need to stand together to overcome all kinds of complications.

While speaking on the occasion, Mr. Iftikhar Ali Malik, President SCCI, urged for deeper economic cooperation with China, expressing that China-South Asia economic cooperation would change the worldwide economic order. He also stated that China-South Asia Business Forum is a collaborative initiative of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT). He added that it is an extremely important milestone to achieve mutual goals in near future. He assured that SCCI would continue to participate actively in this endeavor with China.

The event concluded with the remarks of Ms. Bao Wentao, Vice Chairperson of CCPIT Yunnan Sub Council. She expressed that the Forum represented the cooperation potential between China and South Asia in particular sectors of trade, manufacturing, infrastructure, third-party markets and is envisioned to provide a vital platform for enhanced communication and partnership among the collaborators.

The event was attended by South Asian embassies and consulates in China, chambers of commerce, enterprises, and scholars from South Asian nations.

SCCI organized a two-day Bootcamp, National Entrepreneurship Summit for the early-stage startups on August 25-26, 2021 at Ramada Hotel, Lahore, Pakistan, in partnership with National Expansion Plan of NIC and in collaboration with Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF).

The objective of the summit was to provide entrepreneurs with access to several learning and development opportunities that would not only be a jumpstart for them to step up into various business functions, but also equip them with various knowledge and skills for their future.

The total number of applications received were 367 out of which 42 startups were nominated to attend the summit.

The two-day boot camp was facilitated by leading startup trainers, Mr. Ahmed Hashmi, Mr. Omar Pervaiz, Mr. Sarim T. Syed, Mr. Badar Khushnood, Mr. Azam Rai and Muhammad Salman Sarwar.

The following topics were covered during the training sessions on 1st and 2nd days:

  • Human Resources, Team Building & Culture Development in Startups
  • The legal formation of startup
  • Marketing and Branding of the startups.
  • Growth Hacking for startups
  • Introduction to User Experience.
  • Impact of Covid-19 on startups and going online
  • Investment readiness for startups.

Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Butt, Acting Secretary General, SCCI, welcomed all the participants and gave an overview of SCCI. While speaking on the occasion, he said that startups attract talent and funding, catalyze local innovation, which further create job opportunities. At the same time, they help transmute economies by driving innovation and collaborating with traditional sectors to increase efficiency and competitiveness of their legacy systems. Startups are the driving force behind structural changes in South Asian economies, therefore, it is a high time to boost collaboration and cooperation to promote entrepreneurship and mature the startup ecosystems.

Trainers during their sessions delivered the content proficiently. They underscored the measures that are needed to preserve startup ecosystems as they play an important role in the digital transformation of economies. These include financial assistance, incentives, and creating a conducive policy environment for the growth of startups.

The National Entrepreneurship Summit created a single platform for entrepreneurs to discover and unleash breakthrough Ideas, Innovations and Insights to disrupt the social, economic and tech ecosystems. The platform brought together inspiring entrepreneurs and industry experts by creating new opportunities of learning, building new partnerships and collaboration avenues.