The Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) Center for Entrepreneurship organised a certificate distribution ceremony for its micro entrepreneurs under the Urban Youth Project on August 2. The Urban Youth Project is funded by Citibank, NA Pakistan and coordinated by the British Asian Trust. The Citibank N.A, Pakistan works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. They invest in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyse job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant cities.

Mr. Abdul Razak Dawood, Chairman Descon and Karim Seifeddine, Head of Public Affairs (Middle East & Africa) at Citibank N.A distributed the certificates and highlighted the importance of supporting entrepreneurs in making a real impact in the society. Addressing the audience, Mr. Seifeddine said, “I am delighted to see the impact that the Urban Youth Project has created for all these bright young entrepreneurs. Today, is not only a proud moment for all the graduating entrepreneurs but also for us stakeholders, seeing their immense growth and enthusiasm.”

The Urban Youth Project aims to increased employment opportunities for youth from low income communities through the development of successful enterprises. In the first batch, 30 micro entrepreneurs from various sectors, academia, beauticians, fashion designers, rickshaw drivers and mobile/laptop shop owners were selected for the project.

LUMS partnered with two nationally renowned micro finance institutions, Akhuwat and Kashf Foundation to scout for potential beneficiaries possessing an entrepreneurial idea or those already running a small scale business within their communities. Speaking on the occasion Operations DIrector, Faisal Jalil Sherjan states, “We leveraged on the due diligence carried out by micro finance institutions prior to lending loans or providing any capacity building support to their borrowers to ensure we only select participants who are genuinely committed to their idea and businesses.”

After an intense selection procedure, LUMS carried out a needs assessment exercise to identify priority areas where participants required extended support and based on that developed a customised curriculum based on experiential learning. Major areas covered by the curriculum included, Karobari Pas-e Manzar Mein Bunyadi Mali Taswerat, Marketing kai bunyadi Inasir and Malyati Nizam mein Shamulyat kai zirai.

Out of the 30 selected participants, 16 percent were males and 84 percent females. 16 percent were undergraduates, 31 percent graduates, 41 percent matriculates and 12 percent were only FA. Rabia Ashiq who runs a small academy on Bedian Road states, “Before attending the training, I had no concept of business plans or basic accounting due to which I was running in a loss. But now only 6 weeks into the programme and I am already making profits. When I get done from LUMS, I go home and teach my father and brother what I learn here.” Similarly, Shazia Zaffer a school owner on Chudrai Road highlights, “The training programmed changed

my life and gave me confidence to face the world. Now I know I have LUMS on my back when I have to deal with parents and students.”