AIOU, Chambers of Commerce join hands for promoting youth entrepreneurship   

ISLAMABAD: Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) and, Rawalpindi and Islamabad chambers of commerce and industries on Wednesday joined hands to promote youth entrepreneurship and business-related innovative ideas.

It was announced that they will work together to address the challenge of unemployment and bring the young graduates in the mainstream of the country’s socio-economic development. The announcement was made at the first-ever ‘Projects, start-ups and Career’ expo that was arranged here by the university at its main campus.

The inaugural session of the two-day event was addressed by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) Executive Director Dr Arsahd Ali Khan, Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Zahid Latif Khan and AIOU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Shahid Siddiqui. Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Sheikh Aamir Waheed was also present on the occasion.

More than 700 young graduates from various Universities of the country participated in the expo and nearly 100 research-based projects were displayed. Separate sessions for career-counselling and start-up ideas’ presentation were also arranged on the occasion. Those who have put up their stalls at the expo included local IT-based industries and business houses.

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Dr Shahid Siddiqui announced that the AIOU will soon evolve a mechanism for proper projection and commercialisation of some selected outstanding projects and the holding of such a mega event will be made a regular feature.

He added that the academic research being conducted by the University will be directly linked with the society’s overall well-being and AIOU will be developed as one of the most vibrant research-based institutions, he added.

He briefed the participants about the University’s recent achievements, pointing out that during the last three years they published fourteen journals, besides holding twenty-four national and international conferences for disseminating the research’s findings.

The ultimate objective of their academic endeavour is to serve the society and improve the living conditions of the people, he added.

Dr Arsahd Ali Khan announced that the HEC will further enhance the scope of its activities to strengthen the linkage between industries and passed-out graduates. He appreciated the vision of the Vice-chancellor, providing a platform to graduate students for showcasing their research-based projects.

He hoped that the event will facilitate the students to get an opportunity for entrepreneurship and building their future career. He underlined the need of application of knowledge for taking benefit of the research work and how to utilise the academic output for the benefit of the society should be the main challenge of educational institutions, he added.

The HEC, he said is actively engaged with the industrial sector for providing entrepreneurship to the unemployed youth and bringing their innovative business ideas into practice.

Zahid Latif Khan in his address highlighted the work being done by the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry for consolidating linkages between the academia and the industry. They are regularly holding business start-ups competitions to achieve the desired results.

The expo was organised by the University’s Office of Research, Innovation and Commercialisation (ORIC). Earlier, ORIC Director Dr Naghama Rashid briefed the participants about the rationale and objectives of the expo.

Through this activity, the AIOU provides the students with an opportunity to directly interact with the job market and explore the avenues of self-employment, she added.

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