Islamabad - To counter the mounting menace of unemployment, speakers at a ceremony yesterday urged the youth to go for entrepreneurship and utilise their skills for the betterment of society.

They also urged the government and society to provide alternatives and opportunities to youth for entrepreneurship to help boost economy and prevent them from slipping into the hands of extremist forces.

The ceremony was organised by Shaoor Foundation for Education and Awareness (SFEA) at the closing of its project Pakistan’s Entrepreneurs Network for Youth (PENY) here at Pakistan National Council of Arts.

PENY was a yearlong project funded by USAID Small Grants and Ambassador’s Fund Programme and is being implemented in six universities, three each in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab. Under the project, more than 1,000 male and female students were trained on entrepreneurship.

A political and rights activist, Zaheeruddin Dar said society needs to encourage young people to pursue their dreams. A major share of Pakistan’s population consists of youth and there is great need to provide them training and mentoring on entrepreneurship.

Abid Anwar from Small Grants Ambassador Programme said this is a great opportunity for students to learn from such training programmes.

He said the USAID is working on promoting entrepreneurship in Pakistan; however, they have received very small number of applications for funding in this thematic area. He urged young entrepreneurs to come with new ideas and serve your society.

Executive Director SFEA Mubashir Akram said doing a private or government job is not something bad but youth can work on new ideas. He said entrepreneurs make societies and it is high time to train and mentor youth to pursue their dreams and earn a living. He said there is great need to promote entrepreneurial thinking in our society.

Founding President SFEA Syed Ali Hameed said everyone talks of entrepreneurship but no one talks about providing alternatives to youth so that they can be saved from slipping into the hands of extremists. He said the concept of PENY is based on promoting culture of entrepreneurship among university students.

Chief Executive Officer E-4 Technologies, Umer Adnan said every problem offers an opportunity and it is just up to the youth to find a solution to the problem and making living out of it. He said entrepreneurship is the lifeline of economies across the world and Pakistan needs to invest in its youth for economic sustainability.

Ibraheem Ahmed, a trainer for PENY shared his experience of working with six universities in KP and Punjab under the project. He said there are hundreds of thousands of young people in Pakistan who can become great entrepreneurs.