Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani on Monday urged the universities in the country to impart entrepreneurial skills to youth to help strengthen national economy.
He was addressing the award-giving ceremony of Prime Minister's Entrepreneurial Challenge programme DISCOVER, at the National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST).
"I very strongly feel that universities must solve problems of our local industry and scale up their research and development focused on commercial success," the Prime Minister said.
Gilani said new growth strategy was being developed and implemented by the government and said it laid greater emphasis on human resource development, innovation and entrepreneurship.
He said the Higher Education Commission (HEC) was also focusing on the greater role of universities in building economy, community and future leaders.
"We are also using Benazir Income Support Fund, micro-credit financing and internship schemes to support the educated and dynamic youth of Pakistan to become high achievers in life," he said.
He said the competition "Discover: Prosperity through Entrepreneurship" was absolutely in line with the vision of his government to promote education.
Gilani said for this reason, he readily agreed to the proposal as he sincerely believed that it was the only way to create jobs.
Prime Minister Gilani recalled that while presiding over a meeting of Pakistan Software Export Board, he directed completion of the Information Technology Park Project in Islamabad on fast- track basis.
He said the project will also be launched in provinces at a later stage and said he had already instructed for allotment of a piece of land for this purpose.
He said Pakistan was a truly blessed nation, where 63 percent of its population was under 25 years of age having enormous potential.
"Our demographic potential places Pakistan on a take-off stage provided the capabilities of our youth are harnessed for productive purposes," he said.
He stressed the need for developing linkages between Pakistani universities and job markets, and added it was an age of knowledge- driven economies.
Gilani felicitated the NUST and Cambridge Advisors Network, the co-organizers of this competition, for identifying the right direction for youth and creating a support system to promote industry-academia collaboration.
He said identifying entrepreneurs, connecting them with the industry, providing incubation space and seed funds, arranging industrial mentors and finally celebrating their achievements was a comprehensive phased business development programme.
The PM lauded the students for their projects and said "You have taken innovation, entrepreneurship and commercialization beyond their buzzword significance, to actualization of ideas."
The Prime Minister commended the efforts of Ministry of Science and Technology and HEC for their support to technology incubator at NUST and for promoting technology-based businesses.
"Such incubators help in the growth of small and medium industries and can ultimately become significant contributors to our GDP growth."
The event was also attended by Minister for Science and Technology Mir Changez Khan Jamali and Chairman of Higher Education Commission Dr. Javaid Laghari.