The Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) has entered into a large-scale partnership with the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) for an entrepreneurial education initiative, ‘KP Impact Challenge’. A Service Level Agreement was signed between LUMS and the KP government at the Chief Minister House, Peshawar, on December 12, 2017 between the LUMS Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr. S. Sohail H. Naqvi and KP Director General Youth Affairs, Mr. Asfandyar Khan Khattak. A Service Level Agreement was also signed between Dr. Naqvi and Dr. Mohammad Mohsin Khan, Director, Institute of Management Sciences.
This legally binding partnership, spearheaded by the LUMS School of Education (SOE), includes LUMS National Incubation Centre as the execution partner and the Institute of Management Sciences as the local implementing partner.
Dignitaries at the event included, Mr. Mohammad Tariq Khan, Secretary for Tourism, Sports, Archaeology and Museums, Culture and Youth Affairs; Mr. Pervez Khattak, Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Shabana Gul, Faculty Member IMSciences and Dr. Qazi Waheed, Assistant Professor Entrepreneurship.
This is a landmark collaboration between LUMS and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government. KP Impact Challenge is a province-wide social impact competition, which is designed to promote youth entrepreneurship, employment and innovation for talented rural youth in KP. Its mandate is to devise a strategy for the prosperous future and career progression of the youth (between 14 – 29 years of ages) of the KP by providing them with economic opportunities, financial grants, trainings, guidance and support to become entrepreneurs. The collaboration is aimed to facilitate the objective of LUMS School of Education to conduct research, policy and practice in Pakistan.
Under this Agreement, the KP government has allocated PKR 500 million for the KP Impact Challenge, of which 84% will be given as grants directly to successful applicants and 16% will be used to implement the programme by the LUMS SOE.
“This collaboration with LUMS is a great one. At this point in time, there is no better project than this for the youth of KP. Our main target is to engage the youth in the province and establish them as entrepreneurs as well as bring back the youth who have moved out of the province and established their businesses elsewhere in the country. We are not talking about 330 people in fact this will impact 330 families and eventually more than 50, 000 people,” said Mr. Asfandyar Khan Khattak on the occasion.
The key purpose of the KP Impact Challenge is to harness the skills, passion and commitment of largely rural youth to involve them in the economic mainstream as creators of jobs rather than seekers of employment.
“Our youth is our future. We are proud and delighted to be working with the KP Government on this ground-breaking initiative that focuses on entrepreneurship as the vehicle to improve the economic well-being of the youth. LUMS will share all of its learnings and provide oversight and stewardship to selected universities in the province so that the impact of the initiative may be enhanced,” said Dr. Naqvi on the occasion.
The programme is being constructed to identify potential entrepreneurs who can be groomed, coached and developed to turn their ideas into viable, sustainable businesses. The scope of the challenge entails developing a structured programme to identify, select, coach, develop and mentor viable market ideas presented by talented youthful entrepreneurs scouted from rural districts of KP. The programme will be structured to provide opportunities for educated as well as marginally educated entrepreneurs. It is envisioned that two cohorts of 25-30 each will be trained and the desired outcome will be for each entrepreneur to create a minimum of two jobs.
"Youth in KP are most enterprising and resilient, yet they are economically marginalised and socially misunderstood. This collaboration between LUMS and seven KP universities is specifically designed to help unleash the talent in KP youth for sustainable capacity building across communities in the KP province," said Associate Director SOE, Dr. Mariam Chughtai.
The uniqueness and real value in this programme lies not just in training two cohorts, it is also proposed to select at least seven universities in KP preferably more accessible to young entrepreneurs from rural communities to also join the first cohort with at least two observers/trainees who will be trained to deliver the same syllabus in parallel with the second cohort and continue beyond that period. The syllabus will be provided by LUMS, along with oversight and stewardship to the seven universities to bring them to the same level as the cohort being developed by LUMS itself.
The KP government will provide grant funding to promising business ideas and the founders of such businesses enabling them to develop their products and services and go to market. The participants of the KP Impact Challenge will drive KP into a new age of entrepreneurship and innovation and establish a new trend within their communities.