SHIKARPUR: The IBA University in Sukkur hosted a two-day third annual ‘Youth Innovation Event’ on October 8-9 organised under the auspices of the Distinguish Innovation Commercialisation Entrepreneur (DICE) Foundation, a non-profit, tax-exempt organisation, registered in Michigan, USA. The DICE Foundation, in collaboration with its domestic and international partners, is pursuing a DICE Programme in Pakistan, to foster culture of Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the country and transform Pakistan into an innovation-driven economy.The Sukkur IBA University is one of the 19 active academic and industry partners in Pakistan. Other strategic partners of the event were the British Council, Higher Education Commission (HEC), Fatima Jinnah Women University (Rawalpindi), and Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority.Reportedly, over 200 stalls were established where students from different universities, colleges and schools of Pakistan showcased their innovative ideas. Besides, 150 delegates from the higher education institutions, technical and vocational training institutes and corporate sector attended the event.The mega event was sponsored by the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP), Allied Bank, JS Bank, TCS, HUM Network and others. The event consisted of various competitions including mega innovation and entrepreneurship, DICE youth innovation, Sukkur IBA University DICE Shark and cultural night.In his address on the occasion as the chief guest, Member of National Assembly (MNA) Syed Khurshid Ahmed Shah asserted “It’s all about innovation and materialising ideas.” He termed exponential increase in population of Pakistan as the root cause of all issues, and said that ironically about 60 percent of Pakistan’s population was uneducated and unemployed.He recalled status of Pakistan’s economy in 1960s, and claimed that even Korea had monitored our economy for implementing such progressive economic policies in their country, but today a significant gap could be observed in economic status of the two countries.“We possess talent and vision, however we have failed miserably to utilise it effectively, particularly due to inefficient planning,” he said, adding that the country could only prosper if availability of basic necessities matched needs of growing population.Meanwhile, IBA University Vice-Chancellor (VC) Prof Nisar Ahmed Siddiqui welcomed participants, and termed the programme launched by the university under DICE “beneficial” for providing a platform to youths for enabling them to showcase their innovative ideas, and subsequently attract sponsors in an effective manner.“Our mission and vision is to serve society by ensuring provision of quality education for youths, especially the “have-nots”,” he said.According to him, majority of youths under the age bracket of 18-23 have little access to higher education, and all stakeholders are equally responsible to ensure provision of quality higher education to them.Besides, he stated that the universities’ curriculum has lost its relevance according to the requirements of the modern age, and required revision on the priority basis.IBA University Center of Entrepreneur Leadership and Incubation Director Ikhtiar Ahmed Khoso briefed participants about the DICE Foundation, its vision and objectives.He shed light on Prime Minister’s Youth Skill Development Programme and other initiatives of the university.The keynote speakers included Higher Education and Skills-British Council Head Sarah Parvez Head, HUM TV Network President Appa Sultana Siddiqui, AP-Institute of Integrated Bio-sciences (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) Director Dr Faisal Khan, Azhar Rizvi, IBA-CED Director Dr Shahid Qureshi and others.Later, honourable guests visited stalls organised by students of different colleges and universities.Meanwhile, panel discussions were also organised with the first topic “Why start-ups fail in Pakistan, causes, issues and problems.” Prof Dr Niaz Ahmed Bhutto was the moderator to facilitate the discussion, and mentioned that the entrepreneurs in Pakistan were afraid of taking certain risks, and termed it a primary reason of failure of start-ups.However, he said that innovation could not be successful without taking certain risks and uncertainties.Another panel discussion was held on the topic “Innovations in biological, chemical, medical and veterinary sciences-future trends and opportunities for Pakistan.”Assistant Prof MS Unaeza Alvi was the moderator to facilitate the discussion.Likewise, another panel discussion was held on the topic “Towards and better tomorrow-empowering youth-enriching communities” which was moderated by DICE Youth Chairperson Surraya Rashid.The fourth panel discussion was held on the topic “Industrial revolution-role of universities and entrepreneurial opportunities” under the moderator EDC Director Dr Altaf Hussain Samo, while the talk on the last topic “Challenges and opportunities for aspiring women entrepreneurs in Pakistan” was facilitated by Cel & Inc Director Ikhtiar Ahmed Khoso.Most interesting competition of the event was the IBA University’s DICE Shark in which students shared their innovative ideas with the audience.In engineering and technology, computer science and information technology, the Hyderabad Information and Software Houses Association (HISHA) Incubation clinched first prize, whereas in physical sciences and agriculture sciences the Jinnah University of Women grabbed first prize, and in arts and humanities, business and social sciences, the University of Central Punjab and biological sciences secured first place.In medical and veterinary sciences, the Dow University of Health Sciences clinched first prize.The DICE Youth competition was won by the Riverside Community High School (Rohri), the TVET competition was won by the IBA Vocational Training Center (Khairpur).Importantly, Culture.pk, Tunnel Farming and Sewing Room were funded during the DICE Shark competition.In his concluding remarks, IBA University Registrar Engr Zahid Hussain Khan thanked all keynote speakers, students and participants, and stated that participants worked hard for organising and making such an event “successful”.He further thanked delegations from 70 universities across Pakistan for travelling to Sukkur.Published in Daily Times, October 11th 2018.