Bahria University and Islamic International University, in partnership with the U.S. Government through the United States Agency for International Development USAID, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and the local business community, launched a digital platform to provide business incubation training to select entrepreneurs from the Merged Districts of Khyber, North Waziristan, and South Waziristan. The shift to online course work offers great new opportunities for developing business skills while COVID-19 public health precautions limit in-person meetings.
The training supports aspiring business leaders as they develop their ideas and products under the mentorship of highly experienced professionals. Candidates with the most innovative ideas will also receive an implementation grant.
“This program is aligned with the Government of Pakistan’s strategy to empower youth from the merged districts and provide them with the skills to enhance their self-reliance, and thus build resilience,” said USAID/Pakistan Khyber Pakhtunkhwa/FATA Director Randy Chester. “We are pleased to see how our partner institutions quickly adapted the formerly in-person course to an online format given the COVID-19 challenges, preventing a break in learning. It also challenges the participants to revise their business plans to adapt to or address the challenges the pandemic has introduced.”
“Before this training, I had no idea about the essential components of a business,” said Jamaima Afridi, a young entrepreneur from Landi Kotal, Khyber. “Now enlightened with the concepts of marketing, finance, and human resources through this program, I am planning to open a cafe in Peshawar exclusively run by women for women.”
Prior to launching the digital platform, the program already provided business incubation training to 369 individuals from Khyber, North Waziristan, and South Waziristan Districts. The program has also provided business incubation grants to 138 individuals to start or scale-up existing innovative enterprises.