NIC LUMS makes a compelling case for innovation in SMEs to enhance productivity, competitiveness and exports at the EU Pakistan Business Forum

Recognizing Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as the backbone for economic activity in Pakistan, European Union hosted a business forum to discuss strategies for enhancing trade with European Single Market and benefit from GSP+.  The daylong event held at a local hotel in Lahore was attended by delegates from Government, European Member States, local industry and academia.

In his keynote address, the Chairman of National Incubation Center Lahore at LUMS, Saleem Ahmad, presented a compelling case for corporate innovation as a means to enhancing productivity and competitiveness. Providing a strong evidence based case, he stated that, “Pandemic-led market distortions and supply chain interruptions have provided an opportunity for innovation and technological leapfrogging.  To be able to compete with game-changing newcomers, SMEs need to emulate start-up culture, upskill its human capital and embrace the entrepreneurial mindset to defend their turf and attain global competitiveness through quality and cost effectiveness. Moreover,  by capitalizing on innovation and technology, SMEs can help bridge the country’s productivity gap, a 2-3 percent increase in productivity can accelerate Pakistan’s GDP by more than 6%.”

Mr.Ahmad further detailed how SMEs should leverage incubation centers, especially NICL at LUMS, as their innovation and corporate networking hubs.  Under his leadership, NICL at LUMS has expanded its scope from serving as springboard for venture incubation to focusing on mass scale human capital development through applied skills training and corporate innovation. This has been achieved via an intersection of applied research, industry and talent to solve Pakistan’s biggest problems.

EU Ambassador to Pakistan, Androulla Kaminara complemented the role of NICL at LUMS in bringing best global practices to Pakistan and creating linkages with universities for technological innovation and access to experts.  She encouraged proliferation of this model to enhance the export potential of SMEs across Pakistan.

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