ME con­fer­ence rec­om­mends to foster SME spe­cific re­search cul­ture


LA­HORE—Speak­ers at the 1st Na­tional SME Con­fer­ence have rec­om­mended to or­ga­nize in­volve­ment of In­dus­try and aca­demic in­sti­tu­tions to foster ev­i­dence based SME spe­cific re­search cul­ture aim­ing to ac­cel­er­ate SME Led Eco­nomic growth. The con­fer­ence was ar­ranged by the Small and Medium En­ter­prises De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity (SMEDA) here at a lo­cal ho­tel on Wed­nes­day in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Univer­sity of the Man­age­ment and Tech­nol­ogy (UMT). The in­au­gu­ral ses­sion of the Con­fer­ence was ad­dressed by Prof. Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed, Chair­per­son, Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Com­mis­sion of Pak­istan as Chief Guest.

Whereas, the wel­come speeches were de­liv­ered by Muham­mad Alam­gir Chaudhry, GM-Out Reach Divi­sion of SMEDA, Prof. Dr. Has­san So­haib Mu­rad, Rec­tor UMT and Dr. Shahid Am­jad Chaudhry, Chair­man, As­so­ci­a­tion of Man­age­ment De­vel­op­ment In­sti­tu­tions Pak­istan (AMDIP). Mr. Fa­heemul Is­lam, Mem­ber Plan­ning Com­mis­sion ad­dressed the clos­ing ses­sion as Chief Guest. The HEC Chair­man Dr. Mukhtar Ah­mad, while speak­ing as Chief Guest of the open­ing cer­e­mony, urged upon the stake­hold­ers of SME sec­tor to work in close co­he­sion, as no goal can be achieved while work­ing in iso­la­tion. How­ever, the pro­duc­tive col­lab­o­ra­tion should be based upon sold re­search, which is rare so far in the coun­try, he added. He dis­closed that to cre­ate a re­search cul­ture in the coun­try, HEC had al­lo­cated Rs.3 bil­lion, which would be uti­lized to fund the re­search projects in the uni­ver­si­ties. He told that the global think tanks were play­ing a crit­i­cal role in high­light­ing is­sues and propos­ing rec­om­men­da­tions to de­velop has­sle free busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment through re­search. But, in Pak­istan, a cul­ture of re­search has yet to gain the sig­nif­i­cance it mer­its, he said and ap­pre­ci­ated SMEDA and UMT to hold 1st Na­tional SME Con­fer­ence to en­cour­age SME led re­search. High­light­ing ef­forts of HEC in this di­rec­tion, Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed said that the Com­mis­sion started with 59 Uni­ver­si­ties to pro­mote higher stud­ies and re­search in the coun­try, the num­ber has now gone up to 179 uni­ver­si­ties, which are bring­ing out 800 re­search pub­li­ca­tions and 12000 jour­nals in the coun­try. How­ever, he em­pha­sized to con­duct re­search projects able to leave de­vel­op­ment im­pact on the so­ci­ety. Regarding SME sec­tor, Chair­man HEC ob­served that the SMEs in Pak­istan were about 40 years be­hind the world. Re­search should also be made on tech­no­log­i­cal upgra­da­tion of SMEs in Pak­istan. He told that to fill in this gap, NUST was go­ing to set up two Tech­nol­ogy Parks in Pak­istan with the sup­port of China. Sim­i­larly three re­search cen­ters were be­ing set up to con­duct re­search on En­ergy, Wa­ter and Food Se­cu­rity, he added.

Ear­lier, Muham­mad Alam­gir Chaudhry, GM-Out­reach Divi­sion of SMEDA, in his ad­dress of wel­come, said that the Con­fer­ence is a mile­stone in SME de­vel­op­ment as it has brought to­gether SME stake­hold­ers on a com­mon fo­rum. The ob­jec­tive of the Con­fer­ence is to strengthen SME led sus­tain­able eco­nomic growth through SME fo­cused re­search, in or­der to se­cure the at­ten­tion of pol­icy mak­ers and to de­velop an en­vi­ron­ment where new en­ter­prises flour­ish, he added and ex­pressed deep grat­i­tude to UMT, AMDIP and other part­ners to sup­port the con­fer­ence. He as­sured to make the Na­tional SME Con­fer­ence an an­nual event and an­nounced to hold the next Con­fer­ence in March 2017. Prof. Dr. Hasan So­haib Mu­rad, Rec­tor UMT, in his ad­dress, said that the eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment in Pak­istan needed a re­search cul­ture in­te­grated with the busi­ness and in­dus­try. He as­sured to link up the re­search to be con­ducted by his stu­dents with po­ten­tial sec­tor of econ­omy like SME. He was con­fi­dent that part­ner­ship of UMT with SMEDA would pave way for de­vel­op­ing a need-based re­search cul­ture and hoped that SMEDA-UMT col­lab­o­ra­tion would set an ex­am­ple of in­dus­try academia and pri­vate-pub­lic part­ner­ship for eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment of the coun­try.

Dr.Shahid Am­jad Chaudhry, Chair­man AMDIP, in his ad­dress, ac­knowl­edged piv­otal role of SME sec­tor in the econ­omy and as­sured of his fullest sup­port to en­cour­age all of the man­age­ment de­vel­op­ment In­sti­tu­tions to join SMEDA as ac­tive part­ners to make the SME de­vel­op­ment dream true in Pak­istan. Fa­heemul Is­lam, Mem­ber Plan­ning Com­mis­sion of Pak­istan, while speak­ing as Chief Guest of the Clos­ing Cer­e­mony, said that it was en­cour­ag­ing for the govern­ment to see the pri­vate sec­tor, academia and in­ter­na­tional de­vel­op­ment or­ga­ni­za­tions par­tic­i­pat­ing at a single plat­form-here at the 1st NSME con­fer­ence.

This col­lab­o­ra­tion has helped re­solve sev­eral prob­lems faced by SMEs and given valu­able in­sight for both the pol­icy mak­ers and the stake­hold­ers, he said and hoped that the pa­pers that had been shared in the con­fer­ence would as­sist the govern­ment in de­sign­ing poli­cies that sup­port the creation of a ro­bust and best prac­ticed SME ecosys­tem. The four par­al­lel ses­sions each for re­search pa­per pre­sen­ta­tions and ex­perts pre­sen­ta­tions ses­sions were held be­tween open­ing and clos­ing cer­e­monies.

The first, sec­ond, third and fourth Re­search Pa­per Pre­sen­ta­tions ses­sions were chaired by Dr. Mo­ham­mad Nishat, As­so­ci­ate Dean, IBA Karachi, Dr. Ehsan ul Haque Pro­fes­sor LUMS, Dr. Muham­mad Mohsin, Di­rec­tor IMS, Pe­shawar and Prof. Talib Karim, Rec­tor, In­sti­tute of Busi­ness Man­age­ment, Karachi Re­spec­tively, Sim­i­larly, the first, sec­ond, third and fourth ses­sions held par­al­lel for Ex­perts’ Pre­sen­ta­tions were chaired by Abid Sher­wani, Pres­i­dent South Asian Triple Hilex As­so­ci­a­tion (hav­ing Marvi Me­mon, Chair­per­son BISP and Rehmat­ul­lah Javed as guests of honor), Engr. M.A. Jab­bar, CEO, Qaim Au­to­mo­tive Man­u­fac­tur­ing Pvt Limited, Mr. Esam Alqararah, Coun­try Rep­re­sen­ta­tive UNIDO and Yousaf Naseem Khokhar, Sec­re­tary, Min­istry of Plan­ning, De­vel­op­ment and Re­form re­spec­tively. This is no­tice­able that over 50 re­search pa­pers from across 27 Uni­ver­si­ties were re­ceived, which had to un­dergo dou­ble-blind re­view to en­sure trans­parency of the whole process and only se­lected pa­pers were pre­sented in the con­fer­ence. The Con­fer­ence that brought to­gether cor­po­rate pro­fes­sion­als, govern­ment of­fi­cials and highly ac­claimed aca­demics from all over Pak­istan was sup­ported by Univer­sity of La­hore and AMDIP.

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