A few days ago, a renowned name in the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Pakistan, Nabeel Qadeer tweeted how he shall be revealing a new role soon “after thorough contemplation and consultations with friends.”  And now we know that Nabeel Qadeer has been appointed the Project Chair of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) – Commonwealth Entrepreneurship Project.

The Commonwealth Entrepreneurship Project is a part of Empretec, UNCTAD’s integrated entrepreneurship capacity-building programme. It promotes the creation of a national institutional framework, helping promising entrepreneurs build innovative and internationally competitive small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) so contributing to the development of a dynamic private sector. Since its inception in 1988, the programme has trained more than 420,000 entrepreneurs to date.

The UNCTAD – Commonwealth Entrepreneurship Project is a 3- year long program which shall be focusing on:

  1. Women (Phase 1) and youth (Phase 2)
  2. Developing an inclusive and impactful ecosystem for start-ups with an international component at its outset so supporting the development of Pakistan’s ‘Born Globals’ (companies that undertake international business at or near their founding)
  3. Developing Pakistan’s – and the Commonwealth’s – first roadmap for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Education building on international best practice

It is important to mention that in the first phase, the Commonwealth Businesswomen’s Network will be the key partner in facilitating the program related to women and similarly, the Commonwealth Secretariat shall be involved in all youth-related programs. The progress of this program shall be shared and presented at UNCTAD’s World Investment Forum meeting in Geneva in October 2018 as well as during the next Commonwealth Head of Government’s meeting in 2020.

This project, in its pilot stage, is being initiated in three Commonwealth countries namely, Malaysia, Rwanda, and Pakistan. These countries have been chosen based on the potential of their region’s entrepreneurship industry growth.

By the end of 3 years, the project shall also be able to build on UNCTAD’s existing value chain partnerships with leading transnational corporations in Tanzania, Mozambique, Zambia, and Uganda, in sectors and value chains especially suited to the competitive participation of women. The focused sectors mainly are Agribusiness, Corporate Services, Creative Industries, and IT/ICTs. These entrepreneurs shall eventually explore opportunities with the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council as well.

Previously, an international delegation came to Pakistan on the invitation of Nabeel Qadeer in August and officially announced the opening of a Centre in Pakistan as well for entrepreneurship discourse and policy formation for the region.