Micro-entrepreneurship, back bone of GB’s economy

Iqbal Rumi

The concept of entrepreneurship is emerging as a key indicator in the economy of Gilgit Baltistan. During last few years, the new concept flourished round the corner. As many individuals and coterie, especially, youth and women, has become major stakeholder in establishing new businesses or enterprises.
Non-for-profit organizations and non-governmental organizations- NGOs and private sector are developing plans on this emerging sector. However, few have transformed the concept into reality with grants and started implementing plans on pilot basis. The more realistic approach is providing direct assistance via grants, interest free loans and aids, as an initial investment for businesses or enterprises ideas.

A good example is of the Enhancing Employability and Leadership for Youth (EELY) project of AKRSP, sponsored by CIDA, focuses on developing framework for establishment of entrepreneurs in the region. Few months back, the EELY project provided eight days training to youth under the title of “Youth Entrepreneurship” for generating innovative ideas of entrepreneurship. The project provide one-time small grant to best selected entrepreneurial idea based on business plans. The project facilitated eight groups in Hunza region.

Similarly, a private sector organization namely, Yes Network Pakistan sponsored by USAID widen its edge and trained new male and female entrepreneurs. Yes provided interest free loans to the participants having developed best ideas. They have managed to share the new idea with 1200 masses; for self-employments as a primitive component of live.

Likewise, Local Support Organizations (LSOs) have been granting minor interest loans under “CRF loan” for home based businesses and micro entrepreneurs to establish and expand their business or enterprise ideas. Gojal Rural Support Organization (GRSO), one of the LSO in upper Hunza- Gojal, union council- II; has disbursed loan to at least 80 entrepreneurs specially women. It is a positive indicator because of the remote area was out of micro financing facilities.

There is still a lot to do to operationalize the concept and more effectively instill in the mind of masses. This is because business is for life time; conversely, entrepreneurship is for unidentified time period. Also, organizations must focus on the below elements of progress and stability.
First, high literacy is the major factor of unemployment among the youth, both male and female. This ultimately minimizes revenue generation, creates panic and frustration, cause evil deeds in society and importantly leaves individual lives to an end. Therefore, human resource management rule; right person at right place, may streamline the business or enterprise operational activities. Individuals with knowledge and experience must be kept at right place such as specialize in finance may deal with financial management rather administrative activities.

Second, an unlawful and unequal distribution of wealth create gap between rich and poor with no equal right and privilege over resources. The monopolistic market has destabilized market for new micro entrepreneur to penetrate. This region is based on seasonal hype of activities and profitability. Dominant investor fluctuate the demand and supply of goods and services to destabilize the market growth. Thus, the sole proprietors, production team and sales and distribution team couldn’t get most of it.

Third, the financial institution such as commercial banks and cooperative societies hasn’t prepared a road map to facilitate micro entrepreneurs with minimal landings with lowest interest rate for maximum years. So that it may expand markets with nourishing consumer demand and multiply more product and service line and create value addition in product & services for customers and clients.

Fourth, self-stability and development of entrepreneurs is as important as business or enterprise itself. Such as frequent trainings on management skills, financial management, marketing strategies and advertisement mix. However, currently, the traditional approach is widely functional. This has increased the risk of bankruptcy and even shut down of businesses or enterprises.

Fifth, model of partnership is one and only element that will feed the business or enterprise with more owners’ equity, working capital, increase assets side and importantly profitability. Moreover, it will lower risk of loss and bankruptcy, as one may share equal losses and profit. However, in Gilgit Baltistan with limited investment has stagnant the business or enterprise to few families. Eventually, the monopolistic market has slower penetration of micro entrepreneurs in new market segments.

Finally, no access to affiliate and link with important organizations such as chamber of commerce and trade, security exchange commission and Federal Bureau of Revenue, few of them, has not provided shield and opportunities for expansion of business in Gilgit Baltistan. The enterprises in GB central institution to look after business affairs and policies may guide the new entrepreneurs with more safe and sound business environment for investment. Such as business ID number from Federal Bureau of Revenue- FBR ensures business as a legal entity and entrepreneurs may able to grow more evenly anywhere in the market.

In conclusion, micro entrepreneurship is supplementary with constrain investment, limited premises, fewer target market and advertisement mix. Therefore, organizations- private or NGOs with plans and policies for investing and strengthening new micro entrepreneurs in market must consider building unify organization for business or enterprise. This may link and invest in more sound and steady market before risk of loss.

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