HELLO TOMORROW -Connecting Talent to Global Opportunities -Summit on Innovation and Entrepreneurship at HEC in French Collaboration

Founder Editor Tazeen Akhtar..

Islamabad, October 20, 2016: The Higher Education Commission (HEC), Pakistan in collaboration with the Embassy of France and Hello Tomorrow organized a Summit on Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Commission Secretariaton Wednesday, with an aim to enhance connectivity of the local ICT talent to global opportunities.

Mrs. Martine Dorance, Ambassador of France to Pakistan was chief guest on the occasion. Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed, Chairman, HEC, Dr. Ismail Shah, Chairman, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), Dr. Arshad Ali, Executive Director HEC and Dr. Ziaul Qayyum, Vice Chancellor, University of Gujrat were also present. The event was attended by a number of students, entrepreneurs and academicians.

In her address, Mrs. Dorance said that Hello Tomorrow is a French initiative promoting connectivity among young entrepreneurs from across the world and bringing experts closer to discuss future technological challenges. She said it aims at developing links between academia and start-ups.

“Pakistan has talented people particularly youth, and the number of start-ups in the country is rapidly growing, and holding this event reflects the political will of both the Governments to enhance collaboration in fostering innovation and entrepreneurship,” she said.

Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed shed light on how rapidly the technological innovations are changing the trends prevailing in different sectors and how they require masses to prepare themselves to welcome the future. “We need to work together with our friendly countries to make our future brighter,” he stressed.

The Chairman said that HEC is committed to promoting  entrepreneurship and research activities in Pakistani universities. He informed the audience that Office of Research, Innovation and Commercialization (ORIC) has been established in universities to make research work innovative and help researchers commercialize their work to increase its impact.

It is pertinent to mention here that in Business as well as Technology Incubation Centres established by HEC at different universities, over 225 companies have been incubated that have generated around Rs. 480 Million in annual revenue and have generated 940 direct employment opportunities.

Only NUST has incubated 53 companies that have generated annual revenue of Rs. 300 Million generating employment of over 150 people. Similarly COMSATS Institute has incubated 43 companies with annual revenue of Rs. 60 Million and creating 160 jobs. University of Agriculture Faisalabad has incubated 21 companies with annual revenue of Rs. 40 Million and generating an employment for 215 people.

IBA Sukkur has incubated 15 companies with annual revenue of Rs. 15 Million and job openings for 54 people. Other Incubators at UET Peshawar, Veterinary University Lahore, Quaid-e-Azam University, BUITEMS, NED Karachi, Institute of Space Technology, University of Gujrat and AJK University have also performed well during the last couple of years.  

The Chairman said that the Government has recently approved Technology Transfer project worth Rs. 3 billion under which institutions will be extended technical and financial support in bringing in new technologies. He added that HEC and the Korean Government have agreed to establish six to eight Technology Transfer Centres in Pakistan.

Referring to the collaboration of the Government and Embassy of France, Dr. Mukhtar said that HEC and the French Government are working together on collaborative research activities. He admired the French Government for its assistance in promoting higher education in Pakistan and its cooperation with Pakistani students studying in French universities.

Briefing the audience about the role of PTA in enhancing connectivity in Pakistan, Dr. Ismail Shah said that access to basic telephony as well as cellular usage has increased multifold over the years. He said that PTA is working on enhancing broadband connectivity and access to internet, adding that it is enabling the private sector to increase connectivity. ICT can help in all the sectors including health services, mobile banking and agriculture, he said.

Dr. Zia ul Qayyum emphasized on joint efforts to enhance utility of technological developments as, he said, the use of technology has increased and turned the world into a global village. He highlighted various initiatives taken by the UoG to promote innovation and encourage entrepreneurs and start-ups.

A French Initiative at the global level

Hello Tomorrow is an international, non-profit initiative run by science entrepreneurs for science entrepreneurs. Its goal is simple: to empower early-stage science startups by propelling inventions out of the lab and into world-changing solutions. 

Hello Tomorrowpromotes young entrepreneurs from around the world, the project involves the development of innovative technology, called "breaks". It seeks to fast these young talents relationship with key economic players in all major scientific and technological fields (venture capitalists, investment funds ...). More generally, it aims to stimulate innovation in companies of all sizes on strategic themes: energy & environment, health, transportation and mobility, food and agriculture, waste and watermanagement, Big Data, supply chain and space.

Supported by Xavier Duportet appointed French entrepreneur of the year in 2014 by MIT, Hello Tomorrow helps promote the French ecosystem innovation and enhance the attractiveness of the French territory.

Today, Hello Tomorrow is a community of more than 15,000 highly skilled people (researchers, engineers, experts, entrepreneurs, investors, journalists, public actors ...) from 45 countries. This community is led locally by " Hello Tomorrowambassadors " supported by the French diplomatic network since 2015.

The major event is the Global summit held in Paris, which ends the competition between startups and awards the most remarkable with a 100,000 EUR grand prize. Overall, it is a unique opportunity to meet the biggest investment funds in their sectors (Index, Accel, Y Combinator, Sofinnova, Merck ventures, Seventure, Novoseed, Sycomore Asset Management...) and the leaders of major French industrial groups (Airbus, Aéroports de Paris, Butagaz, Carrefour, i-Lab Air Liquide, L’Oréal, Michelin, Roche, Safran).

In 2016 and 2017, 10 cities will host a Hello Tomorrow conference: San Francisco, Bangalore, Sao Paulo, Istanbul, Islamabad, Los Angeles, Seoul, Shanghai and Lima.

Bringing together between 200 and 300 participants, each of these events will be dedicated to a theme echoing local and global issues (future challenges) bringing together experts, entrepreneurs and investors in the sector. Examples: transportation in Bangalore / smart city in Sao Paulo / air quality in Shenzhen / E-Health in San Francisco / Connectivity in Islamabad.

Speaking at the occasion, H.E. Martine Dorance, Ambassador of France to Pakistan, underlined the exceptionality of the event held in Islamabad, focused on the Future of Connectivity. Explaining the concept of Hello Tomorrow throughout the world, she insisted on the importance, for the Embassy of France in Islamabad, to connect people – especially young people - and to build networks in order to create new opportunities and to facilitate initiatives throughout Pakistan, with France and with the world.

Creativity and entrepreneurship a top priority in Pakistan in the perspective of 2025:

Dr. Arshad Ali, Executive Director HEC briefed the audience about different initiatives of Higher Education Commission for promoting innovation and entrepreneurship activities in universities. He said HEC has established Business Incubation Centres to facilitate students and start-ups to have a platform from where they could start their journey.

“In Business Incubation and Technology Incubation Centres established at different universities, over 225 companies have been incubated that have generated around Rs. 480 Million in annual revenue and have generated 940 direct employment opportunities,” the Executive Director said.

He said that only NUST has incubated 53 companies that have generated annual revenue of Rs. 300 Million generating employment of over 150 people. Similarly COMSATS Institute has incubated 43 companies with annual revenue of Rs. 60 Million and creating 160 jobs. University of Agriculture Faisalabad has incubated 21 companies with annual revenue of Rs. 40 Million and generating an employment for 215 people.

IBA Sukkur has incubated 15 companies with annual revenue of Rs. 15 Million and job openings for 54 people. Other Incubators at UET Peshawar, Veterinary University Lahore, Quaid-e-Azam University, BUITEMS, NED Karachi, Institute of Space Technology, University of Gujrat and AJK University have also performed well during the last couple of years.  

Dr. Arshad said HEC is committed to promote research culture in the country with its focus on aligning needs of Pakistani society, adding that HEC has set up Offices of Research, Innovation and Commercialization (ORICs) in different universities. “We have been making all possible efforts to promote entrepreneurship and incubation by encouraging youth to execute their ideas,” the Executive Director said.

He also informed the gathering about formation of Innovation Steering Committee by HEC to further strengthen innovation and entrepreneurship activities in Pakistani universities that will ultimately help in creation of job opportunities as well as country’s economic empowerment. He appreciated Hello Tomorrow for their initiatives to encourage science entrepreneurs and hoped to work together for encouraging young entrepreneurs.

Connecting Local talent to Global oppotunities:

Sanwal Muneer, who is the head of Hello Tomorrow Pakistan, believes the young generation of Pakistan is very talented and harnesses great ideas, however they need proper mentoring and guidance to make their ideas a reality. He believes that by joining Hello Tomorrow he can showcase the innovation of Pakistan at a global level and help the youth connect with global opportunities.

The aim of the event is to highlight local disruptive technologies that will shape the Future of Connectivity and solve societal and industrial problems. Attendees will be guided through the journey required to transform technologies into impactful products and services. By encouraging collaboration between local entrepreneurs, researchers, investors and industrials, the ambition is to create a momentum for change in Pakistan's innovation ecosystem and to find solutions to some of the most pressing local challenges.

Hello Tomorrow Pakistan will be an important boost to the creation of a tech-startup ecosystem in Pakistan, home to a burgeoning entrepreneurial base. It will identify high-end technologies that can shape the high-cost, often inefficient, yet fast growing Pakistani Telecom sector.

About Sanwal Muneer:

Sanwal Muneer is a young entrepreneur, he is running an energy company “Capture Mobility” in the UK and provides energy to the roadside utilities of Transport Scotland. He has also secured the outstanding achievement award by UK Trade & Investment and has been recognized among the top 6 young entrepreneurs by Shell.

Partners:

French Embassy Islamabad, HEC, UOG, Pakistan Innovation Foundation, UNIDO, Nayatel, Careem, Business France, French Tech, Enercon, Plumgird, Telenor

Speech by H.E. Mrs. Martine Dorance, Ambassador of France to Pakistan

(HEC Auditorium Islamabad, 20th October 2016)

“Mr. Chairman of the Higher Education Commission, dear participants who I know come from all over Pakistan, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a real pleasure and a great honor to be part of this event today and I would like to thank the Higher Education Commission, its chairman and his team, for hosting us today in this beautiful auditorium.

We had a first edition of Hello Tomorrow last year, at the French Embassy, it was more modest, since it was a gathering of around 50 people. But I was very impressed by the number of start-ups in Pakistan and by the amazing trends in scientific and technical innovation in Pakistan, maybe due to the fact that Pakistan is a country with a lot of talented people and a country with a young population. Innovation goes very well with youth, even if older people can also be innovative.

I would like here to pay tribute to the efforts of the government of Pakistan to promote innovation and links between startups and universities, economic actors and financial institutions.

That is also the goal of Hello Tomorrow. Hello Tomorrow is an international, non-profit initiative. It is aimed at promoting young entrepreneurs from all over the world, with projects that are based on the development of innovative technology.

Hello Tomorrow aims at swiftly establishing links between young talented individuals and economic actors (venture capitalists, investment funds, etc ...). More generally, its goal is to foster innovation within companies of all sizes in strategic areas: energy & environment, health, transportation and mobility, food and agriculture, waste and water management, Big Data, supply chain or space.

Hello Tomorrow is a French initiative. It was created in 2011 by Xavier Duportet, a French young scientist, who was later named French entrepreneur of the year, in 2014, by MIT and by Arnaud de la Tour, who is with us today. It is a great honour to have him with us this morning. His presence emphasizes the will in France to cooperate more and build together with Pakistan a brighter future.

Today, Hello Tomorrow is a community of more than 15,000 highly skilled people (researchers, engineers, experts, entrepreneurs, investors, journalists, public actors ...) from 45 countries. This community is led locally by " Hello Tomorrow ambassadors " supported by the French diplomatic network since 2015. We have today with us the Pakistan Hello Tomorrow Ambassador, Mr. Sanwal Muneer, whom I want to thank for the organization of this great event.

In 2016 and 2017, 12 cities will host a Hello Tomorrow conference: among them San Francisco, Bangalore, Sao Paulo, Istanbul, Shanghai, Los Angeles and Islamabad.

Each of these events will be dedicated to a domain echoing local and global issues, or future challenges, bringing together experts, entrepreneurs and investors in the sector. I just pick up few examples: Transportation in Bangalore / Smart city in Sao Paulo / Air quality in Shenzhen / E-Health in San Francisco / Connectivity in Islamabad.

The major event is the Global summit held in Paris, which ends the competition between startups. It concluded, this year,  last Friday evening with a winner from the “Challenge grand finale”: this year Lilium Jet, a German startup.

Here, at the Embassy of France in Islamabad, it is also our motto to connect people and to build network in order to create new opportunities and to facilitate initiatives. It is also an opportunity for me to promote, in Pakistan, French entrepreneurial excellence and to underline that France is among the very first innovative countries in the world. We want to share our experience and we do support the PFAN, the Pakistan French Alumni Network, gathering the academics trained in France, through our cultural and cooperation department headed by Mr André de Bussy ; we also do support the PFBA, the Pakistan French Business Alliance, through our Economic department headed by Mr Philippe FOUET. Both of them are here today.

I wish you all a very productive session, and the very best to Hello Tomorrow Pakistan.

Thank you very much.”