The Higher Education Commission has approved the establishment of business incubation centers in five additional universities. This will provide entrepreneurs with the resources and support they need to start and grow their businesses.
HEC officials have announced that the commission has approved the establishment of BICs at Mehran University of Engineering and Technology, Jamshoro, Fatima Jinnah Woman University, Rawalpindi, Kinnaird College, Lahore, Lahore College for Women University, and the Muhammad Nawaz Sharif University of Agriculture Multan. With this addition, the total number of BICs will be 34.
Officials added that the Higher Education Commission supports the establishment of Business Incubation Centers in Higher Education Institutions throughout Pakistan.
These Centers provide basic infrastructure and facilities for researchers and young entrepreneurs who are interested in developing early-stage business ventures.
Business incubators are support systems for new and startup companies during their initial development stage.
These businesses provide an array of targeted resources and services, which are developed or arranged by the business incubator and offered by it directly or through its network of contacts.
The overarching goal of business incubators is to produce successful firms that will leave the program financially viable and freestanding.
Graduates of the business incubator program create jobs, revitalize neighborhoods, commercialize new technologies, and strengthen local and national economies.
“Instead of creating job seekers, we are turning new graduates into job providers,” an HEC official remarked.
In 2021, the Higher Education Commission introduced a policy on business incubation centers (BICs), which allows for the establishment of BICs in public sector higher education institutions (HEIs) where the Office of Research, Innovation, and Commercialization (ORIC) is already operating.
The university may also partner with other HEIs (public as well as private) to take advantage of the benefits associated with business incubators.
In addition to an independent incubation center, HEIs may form a consortium of universities (preferably four to five HEIs within a fair radius of each other) for the establishment of a BIC.
According to the HEC policy, funds for the establishment of BICs are arranged by the HEC and the HEI based on a 60:40 ratio for only two years.
The funds are released to the HEI (or the leading HEI in the consortium) through the BIC Steering Committee on an installment basis and are dependent on the agreed-upon deliverables and output.
The Business Incubator Manager is responsible for overseeing the daily operations of the business incubator, including marketing the facility and recruiting new tenants, providing support to existing tenants, facilitating training for tenants and aspiring entrepreneurs, and developing infrastructure.