ISLAMABAD, Dec 8 (APP): Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS) and Science and Technology Park (STP) was envisaged to bring the researchers and business together to create a mix that should provide an impetus to a knowledge-based economy, said an official on Tuesday.
“Innovation requires out of box thinking. In order to link innovation to science and technology, an enabling environment must be created by bring researcher, marketing, selling and business together,” General Manager Research and Development of COMSATS Institute of Information Technology (CIIT) Fahim Ashraf Qureshi told APP here.

The official said that there were some objectives for creation of the Science and Technology Park including build knowledge-based economic activity and encourage innovation across the board, create hi-tech business culture to attract foreign direct investment, learn from the activities of the STP and provide best practices advice to COMSATS Member states, to
reverse brain drain, retain highly qualified and trained manpower by providing them opportunities to see the result of their research-putting best practices forward in business and bring the Pakistan’s global competitive index to respectable level and micro- Small Medium Enterprises (SME) sector development.

In order to provide sound a “working-capital” to the Science and Technology Park, (CIIT) has put in place a pre-incubation and an incubation center.Each one has a different job, but with the same objective, the Pre- Incubation Center prepares the student, in close supervision of faculty advisor and pre-incubation staff, to come up with a business plan related to their respective project, he added.

He said the students start on this activity towards the end of their last semester and continue with the activity up to four months after the graduation. Upon completion of their pre-incubation time, the business plan is forwarded to the Incubation Center, known as Cubator 1ne, to be adjudged by a Board of Management of Cubator 1ne, for the suitability of business plan, he maintained.

Qureshi said if the Board agrees, the groups of student are allowed to start their business in a “supportive environment” of the incubation center. The results thus far have been very encouraging. Within a short period of one year, Cubator 1ne has graduated 10 companies
with three failures only.

He told that currently, there are 27 companies in various stages of incubation that are supporting and employing about 160 personnel. The ten graduated companies are employing about 90 personnel and are further providing support to 360 earners, this is start of knowledge-based economy.

Next step would be their business continuation in the COMSATS Science and Technology Park, he said. Biggest factor for success of STP was the involvement of private sector.
In order to entice the private sector to innovate, they must interact with the researchers and marketing teams while the regulators, like government, must provide encouragement in form of reduced taxes or tax holidays, subsidized lands, and other benefits, so there is clear benefit to the private sector to engage with researchers.