Balochistan is the largest province of Pakistan, covering 44% of the country’s area but with only 5% of the total population. Its strengths lie in its wealth of natural resources, coastal belt which goes up to 1100 km and the rich mineral deposits. The China- Pakistan Economic Corridor is also considered to be a game changer for the region. It is a major stimulus for the country, promising rapid economic growth and massive infrastructure development. But Balochistan may not have developed the required foundations to realize the full benefits. This is why it is essential to encourage the small to medium companies and young entrepreneurs to set up their businesses in order to have joint ventures with national and international companies.
British Council in partnership with Small and Medium Enterprise Development Authority and SEED Ventures developed a training program and successfully delivered four training sessions in Quetta and Gwadar in Balochistan. This programme was designed to inspire young people in Balochistan to develop an entrepreneurial mind set, provide information on pathways they can explore to turn their ideas into successful businesses and improve their leadership skills.
Besides being a land filled with opportunities, Balochistan is still is unable to generate enough jobs to fulfil the demand and ends up creating a general sense of dissatisfaction among the youth. Our programme creates a platform to provide them with adequate training and awareness to encourage and motivate young people break free of the job seeking mind set and instead think about establishing ventures which would contribute to job creation itself.
The training also engaged existing entrepreneurs to strengthen entrepreneurial skills in existing owners of small to medium businesses. The participants came from different fields including mineral, agriculture, fisheries and livestock. A lot of women entrepreneurs were present and not just attended the training but actively contributed to the discussions. Current business limitations and ideas were exchanged back and forth which turned the room in to an interactive space. The module was carefully designed and stressed upon the importance of educating oneself in order to increase environmental awareness.
The participants expressed their appreciation and requested further training. The next plan of action includes developing a program to provide young people with an advanced set of skills to support their business ideas and help materialise them into successful start-ups, and as a result to contribute to the local economy.