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March 15, 2017

"2nd SME Conference (International)"
Aiming to promote culture of SME specific research in Pakistan

PhotoMr. Yasuhiro Tojo receiving a shield from the organizers at SME conference

Lahore, March 15, 2017: The significance of Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) sector in economic development has been recognized globally for its contribution to employment generation and poverty alleviation. SMEs constitute 99% of economic establishments, contribute 40% to GDP, add 25% to manufacturing value added and provide 78% of non-agriculture jobs in the country. SME sector needs to be strengthened as an engine for sustainable economic growth, and initiation of SME focused research is a key step towards this end. There is also wide agreement that instigating such a culture invariably calls for collaboration of industry, academia, government, and development agencies.

After the success of the 1st National SME Conference which was jointly organized by Small and Medium Enterprise Development Authority (SMEDA) and University of Management Technology (UMT) on 25th May 2016 at Lahore. An overwhelming response was received from academia, as around 50 research papers were contributed by 27 Universities across Pakistan. The 2nd SME Conference (International) was held on 15th -16th March 2017 in Lahore, Pakistan. Over 50 research papers from around 15 national & international universities were received for the conference; however, only 12 of these have been selected for presentation in the conference. This time, the conference aimed to bring together International SME representative bodies from developed and developing countries, academia, government departments, international development agencies, financial institutions, large scale enterprises, and researchers. It highlighted the challenges and prospects of SME sector in Pakistan in light of international best practices, and furnish declarations for all stakeholders, in general; and policy makers in particular.

Mr. Yasuhiro Tojo, Chief Representative, JICA Pakistan also addressed the International seminar and shared Japan's Contribution to Industry Sector of Pakistan, focusing on Entrepreneurship & Enterprise Development. In order to address the issues of SME sector, JICA has been supporting Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA), Ministry of Industries and Private sector, since 2003 in terms of capacity building of relevant employees, vocational and technical trainings through the provision of latest state of art equipment/machinery, skills development and market diversification of garment industry, trade promotion, investment climate improvement, energy efficiency and technical support to auto parts manufacturing industry.

Mr. Tojo emphasized that the major contribution of JICA's Technical Cooperation was dispatching Japanese Experts, who could import Technology and Knowledge to Counterparts by working together. SMEDA has worked with more than 20 Japanese Experts through such Technical Cooperation. It is expected that SMEDA and other Counterparts will continue working by utilizing Technology and Knowledge obtained from Japanese Experts to achieve their goal. He quoted that JICA has implemented Energy Efficiency Management Project for Industrial Sector in Pakistan from 2015 to 2017, which is just concluded. Under this project Four (4) Japanese experts were dispatched to disseminate energy efficiency improvement methods in industrial sector which was suffering from energy shortage in Pakistan. Whereas energy audit to 10 model factories was carried out with SMEDA Engineers and local energy service companies' engineers. The 10 model factories succeeded in saving around 1.2Million Kwh/PKR12 million kWh per year in total by implementing energy efficient plans proposed by the Japanese experts. Good example of energy efficiency improvement methods was disseminated in seminars. The best practice package is available at SMEDA website.

Moreover, he also referred the on-going project for Technical Support to Auto Parts Manufacturing Industry (2015- 2018), where five (5) Japanese Experts have been dispatched to disseminate their skills and knowledge to improve the Quality and the Productivity in Auto Parts Industry. Total 50 Auto Parts Suppliers to be provided consulting service by Japanese Experts to develop model case of guidance. 22 Auto Parts suppliers has been provided consulting service by Japanese Experts to solve their issues. 97% of Technical issues, which the suppliers had requested the support, was solved. Overall quality level and productivity has been increased. Japanese Techniques like KAIZEN, 5S, 5T, 4M-change point etc. are introduced to suppliers through coaching and workshops.

Through presentation, he conveyed his message that exactly how collaboration between Pakistan counterparts and Japanese experts is significant in JICA's technical cooperation project. In addition to that he emphasized the sustainable utilization of the knowledge acquired during the execution of the project and is highly expected too.

Besides, a number of international delegates and speakers from 40 public and private sector organizations from across Pakistan joined the conference as speakers, SME experts and panelists. Similarly, SME experts from USA, UK, Turkey, and China vis-à-vis higher education commission, academia, public and private sector representative attended the event.


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