USAID-FUNDED HIGHER EDUCATION SYSTEM STRENGTHENING ACTIVITY (HESSA)

Higher Education System Strengthening Activity (HESSA) is a project of University of Utah (UU) supported by USAID. It aims at capacity building of fifteen select HEIs of Pakistan in terms of leadership development, strategic planning, faculty development, curricula reform and modernization, research management and creation of students’ support structure in the HEIs Being launched in May 2022, the five-year project will enhance the quality of HEI graduates through improved higher education system. HESSA’s approach hinges on engaging a wide array of stakeholders to introduce feasible, relevant, viable, and sustainable reforms in areas of faculty development, curricula reform and modernization, research management, students’ support system and institutional governance etc.

HESSA is a USAID funded initiative aimed at advancing the country’s higher education system.

A 5-year, $19 million grant was awarded to the UU and partners by USAID to provide technical assistance for the project to advance the capacity of Pakistan’s higher education institutions and systems to develop employable graduates representatives from the UU’s Office for Global Engagement, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering and College of Education are leading the initiative. Other U.S. project partners include the University of Alabama and the Institute of International Education.

These U.S. institutions will work closely with HEC. Together, they will provide training aimed at bolstering the administrative systems, curriculum and student life supports that will ultimately help students meet the needs of the contemporary workplace HESSA-trained member institutions will then promote best practices in undergraduate and graduate education and strengthen the contributions of research universities to the country’s economy.

HESSA will roll-out its programmatic interventions through three broad, interrelated components listed as below:

  • Component A:  Advancing Leadership, Governance and Management at Higher Education Institutions
  • Component B:  Improving Relevance, Quality and Accessibility of Higher Education
  • Component C:  Enhancing Support Services Across the Student Life Cycle

The expected outcomes of the HESSA project are: 

  • Improved organizational performance of HEIs based on strategic planning
  • Increased effective private sector partnerships and funding
  • Enhanced curriculum to demonstrably improve graduate employability, including needed soft skills
  • Expanded distance learning, financial aid, scholarships, and career pathway programs improving access for underserved populations and overall student success post-graduation

Summit 2024

June 10 - 12
International Summit on Shaping the Future of Higher Education in Pakistan

We partnered with the USAID-sponsored Higher Education System Strengthening Activity (HESSA), which is run with the collaboration of the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (HEC), Islamabad. The goals of this partnership are numerous and include research, education, student success, leadership, and governance. Adhering to our institution’s primary objectives and regulations, we are dedicated to maximizing the advantages of this ongoing five-year project. The project’s main objectives align with those of the University of Swat. These objectives include enhancing the performance of higher educational institutions, implementing innovative curricula to increase graduate employability, growing distance learning, offering financial aid, and providing scholarships. We think that the modern educational landscape is centered on skill development, innovation, and creativity. The value addition of a cutting-edge strategy, a prolific mindset, and applied expertise should be added to degrees. When a university employs an unconventional pitch and students enthusiastically embrace it, this goal can be accomplished. It is reciprocal, as instructors must think beyond the confines of curricula and students must stretch beyond grade levels. As the Vice Chancellor, my main objective is to establish and nurture this culture at the University of Swat so that it can become a world-class hub for teaching, research, and community service on a local, national, and international scale. I am confident that working with global organizations like USAID in program like HESSA will help the University of Swat, which is located in a culturally significant area, to achieve its learning objectives.

Number of Summit Attended = 02

  1. Focal Area is Alumni Engagement and Development
  2. 1st Summit was held on 26-28 July 2022, in PC Burbhan, Muree
  3. 2nd Summit was held on 20-23 June 2023, in PC Burbhan, Muree

Our Journey towards Alumni Establishment

The establishment of the University of Swat Alumni Association was made possible through the Higher Education System Strengthening Activity (HESSA). Here’s how HESSA played a pivotal role in setting up the Alumni Association

Identification of Need for Alumni Establishment

HESSA emphasized the importance of alumni engagement in bolstering higher education institutions. Recognizing this need, the University of Swat initiated the establishment of an Alumni Association to enhance its ties with graduates

Alumni Development & Engagement

  1. Developed By Laws (Rules of Business) for University of Swat Alumni Association (UOSAA)
  2. Developed a proper organogram for Alumni Relations officers and Managers
  3. Created Alumni tags on university website
  4. Created pages on Facebook and LinkedIn for inviting maximum alumni to register

Alumni Establishment Notification, July 03, 2023

Vision and Objectives Formation

With guidance from HESSA, the university developed a clear vision and set of objectives for the Alumni Association. These objectives were aligned with University and  HESSA’s broader goals of fostering alumni connections, supporting professional growth, and enhancing the university’s reputation.

Training and Capacity Building

Training and Capacity Building: HESSA provided training and capacity-building initiatives to empower university staff with the skills and knowledge required to establish and manage an Alumni Association effectively. This training covered various aspects such as alumni engagement strategies, organizational development, and digital outreach.

Infrastructure Development

Leveraging resources and support from HESSA, the University of Swat invested in infrastructure development for the Alumni Association. This included setting up physical offices, formulating regulations and policies, and establishing an organizational structure to oversee its operations.

Online Platform Establishment

Recognizing the significance of digital platforms in modern alumni relations, the University of Swat utilized its resources to establish a robust online platform for the Alumni Association. This platform facilitated online registration, communication, and networking among alumni, irrespective of their geographic location

Database Management

HESSA supported the establishment of a centralized database to efficiently manage alumni records. This database served as a valuable resource for communication, event planning, and alumni engagement activities.

Homecoming Ceremony Planning

Building on the momentum of Alumni Association establishment, the University of Swat is planning a homecoming ceremony for alumni. The purpose of this ceremony is to celebrate the achievements of alumni, strengthen connections between graduates and their alma mater, and provide networking opportunities for current students and alumni.

Additionally, the homecoming ceremony will serve as a fundraising event to support various initiatives and programs at the university, ensuring the continuous advancement of educational opportunities for current and future students. Through this event, alumni will have the opportunity to contribute to the growth and development of their alma mater while reconnecting with fellow graduates and faculty members in a festive atmosphere.

Alumni Development and Engagement

Through the support of HESSA, the University of Swat Alumni Association was successfully established, laying the groundwork for lifelong connections and collaboration among alumni and the university community.

Attended a three-tier program on Teaching and Learning for a total duration of 9 months duration on Teaching and Learning (T&L cohort II). The program comprised of a Three-day international workshop on “High Impact practices (HIPs) and collaborative Learning” (23-25 January, 2023) at NUTECH University Islamabad followed by 04 months long online bootcamp on Teaching and Learning using perusal provided by University of Utah from 30 January till 11th April, 2023. Finally, I participated in a study tour to University of Alabama, USA from 23rd September, 2023 till 8th October, 2023.

Dates (starting and closing)

23 January, 2023 till 8th October, 2023

Purpose of the training (in one sentence)

This nine-month extensive training program was aimed at bringing improvements to the teaching and learning methods while focusing on enhancing the learning skills of students through their active participation in the teaching processes. 

Learning outcome (not more than two sentences)

The course provided a number of technology-enabled learning opportunities in the form of collaborative learning from peers, facilitators and experts from a variety of fields. The programs allowed me to become familiar with a number of diagnostic tests in the form of inventories such as Engaged Teaching Beliefs Inventory ETBI, You might be a constructivist if inventory, Learning Goals Inventory, Learning Assessment Diagnostics, Activating Teacher Motivation Quiz, Minute Paper, Activating Lecture Style Inventory and Communication Quiz as well as to touch base with leading professors from University of Alabama and University of Utah, USA.

Success story

Upon successful completion of nine months programs the Vice Chancellor, University of Swat Professor Dr. Hassan Sher (SSARC Gold Medalist) tasked Dr. Muhammad Tariq to arrange a cascading session on Teaching and Learning practices in order to share the best practices learnt with a wider audience comprising of faculty members from University of Swat, its sub campuses (Women campus & Shangla Campus) and faculty members of affiliated colleges.  Accordingly, using an integrated planning approach a one day extensive training seminar on the topic “Teaching and Learning for SAR report writing process” was organized on 21 November, 2023. The objective of the seminar was to share the lessons learned at Study Tour attended by Dr. Muhammad Tariq, Assistant Professor and Director QEC with a university wide audience including university of Swat Faculty and faculty members from Sub Campuses and Affiliated Colleges. It is worth mentioning that HESSA related learning has helped university of Swat to achieve synergistic complementarities and this training session on Teaching and Learning for SAR report writing not only fulfilled the expectations of Quality Assurance Agency from University of Swat but also allowed an opportunity to cascade the teaching and learnings attained during HESSA extended nine months bootcamp and study tour to Alabama in an integrated manner with faculty members from affiliated colleges and sub campuses serving as a good example of adopting high impact practices in an efficient and effective manner. The training was well attended with a hybrid and gender balanced attendance which is a positive omen in terms of faculty interest in teaching and learning related improvements. These faculty members from University of Swat, Affiliated colleges and Campuses will replicate the said training in their own institutions and sister institutions to cascade a multiplier effect which will serve to achieve much needed synergies intended through the USAID-HEC initiated HESSA program with support from University of Alabama, University of Utah and Institute of International Education (IIE).

Future plan for application in UOS

We intend to improve the teaching and learning practices by staying abreast of the latest technologies in in order to prepare for the requirements of the challenges posed by new normal. The learning from the course in a way is a reminder that as part of university level teaching, the teachers need to take a structured approach and spend more time on curriculum design, selecting appropriate courses reading as well as to design related activities using bookends, overlays and interleaves for ensuring interactive sessions. Obviously, there are various types of learning environments and tradeoffs associated with various types of pedagogical approaches exists but we need to make sure that the benefits of our approach to teaching at University of Swat outweighs our limitations for the wider good of public.

At least 5 pictures (good quality)of each and every event attended

Any other information you think may be required

The course also allowed us to think from perspective of students. It also gave me a good idea as to what motivates a teacher. Likewise, it made me think as to what factors motivate students and what are things which causes anxiety in the minds of the students and how to mitigate such anxiety through provision of timely information and paying attention to minute details. In my opinion, the resistance to change is mostly due to the fact that we have got accustomed to our zone of comfort in onsite teaching. We need to come out of our zone of comfort as well as scaffold our colleagues and students for the new normal. This is much needed in Pakistan as I believe that most of our teachers and students lack the self-efficacy to conduct activities online. In this regard, I initiated webinar series in my university by delivering the first ever webinar from university of Swat platform. In the same vein, I have also motivated a couple of my colleagues to deliver online capacity building webinars for our faculty. Overall, we were able to deliver 5 webinars for capacity building of our faculty. This is something which would not have been possible without the improved self-efficacy I achieved through full immersion in the 9 months long teaching and learning program of cohort sponsored by HESSA and implemented by HEC, through technical support from University of Alabama, University of Utah, 16 partner universities and the institute of international education IIE. Thank you, HESSA-USAID!

 

Purpose and Introduction

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Higher Education System Strengthening Activity (HESSA) is a partnership between the Government of Pakistan and USAID to address key challenges in the higher education sector. The project is focused on raising the capacity of Pakistan’s HEIs to address the country’s mismatch between graduate skills and modern workplace needs. The Student Support Services (SSS) Component of HESSA, which this activity supports, seeks to improve pathways to connect graduates with market-led, demand-driven jobs through the strengthening of Pakistani HEIs’ student support services.
HESSA seeks to enable and empower students—especially women and marginalized students—to access and succeed in higher education by building interventions that elevate student “power skills” and global competencies, creating strong support networks that set students up for post-graduation success. SSS interventions are clustered around six focal areas: Alumni engagement, career readiness, mental health and psychosocial support, student microenterprise development, student leadership and co-curriculars, and financial aid. This activity directly supports the Financial Aid focal area. 

 

Background and Context

Over the past 9 months, the 16 HEI participants of the Financial Aid focal area have made great progress in developing financial aid fundraising plans for their institutions. During the June 2023 SSS Annual Summit, participants finalized their fundraising plans with Dr. Siddiqui and jointly drafted the following key performance indicator for Year 3 (FY24) of the project which directly relates to the need for this proposed training:

  • Operationalize HEI fundraising plans

In Dr. Siddiqui’s continued 1:1 and group sessions with financial aid participants, he has found that participants are struggling in two areas of fundraising: prospecting and stewardship.  Prospecting is the process of finding new donors from the various constituencies of the institution.  Stewardship is the relationship between the organization and donor from the moment a donation is made to the next time they make a donation. 

The goal of this training is for Dr. Siddiqui to have dedicated time focused specifically on these two areas of support so the HEIs can further operationalize the plans that they established in FY2023. Additionally, this activity seeks to (1) identify local best practices to help create confidence and legitimacy; (2) provide a quick overview of the trainings already delivered for those who are still struggling as well as those who are new to the project (i.e., participants who are replacing former staff members). 

Training Focus

The activity will focus on the following topics:

  • Prospecting
  • Stewardship
  • Local best practices in fundraising

Objectives & Expected Outcomes

As a result of this activity, participants will be able to:

  • Articulate best practices in prospecting and stewardship.
  • Conduct exercises and real-life scenarios in prospecting and funds stewardship.
  • Identify HEI partner best practices in fundraising in Pakistan

In the fast changing world Universities currently are not merely spaces to get degrees or to attain knowledge rather than these are seats of higher learning with focus on career success of students. Universities in the world now are focusing on employable graduates and graduates with entrepreneurial skills. However young universities like University of Swat lack the facility and understanding to produce graduates with higher employability ratio and with the necessary skills for entrepreneurships.

Since its inception in 2010, the University of Swat has been working in a fast paced and highly volatile environment to provide education to the youth of this area. However, skills necessary for employability and entrepreneurships are a distant dream for graduates of University of Swat. Therefore a facility where graduates can polish or enhance their employability skills is much needed in University of Swat.

Advantages University Career Success Center:

Student Career success centres have many benefits. These include:

Job and Internship Placement

If you’re having difficulty finding a job or an internship, career center can have plenty of potential opportunities on a job postings board. They can help match you with prospects that are available or keep an eye out for a placement that may interest you

Online Resources

Career center is no longer limited to the walls it occupies. Most have plenty of resources online as well so that students have access to career help 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Practice Interviews and Feedback

Practice makes perfect, especially when it comes to something as nerve wracking as a job interview. At your college career center, counsellors will hold mock interviews to help calm your nerves and get your questions and answers down pact. You can even get feedback from counsellor; and in some cases, one can be able to see a video of the entire interview.

Peer Mentors

If one is looking for further career guidance, the career center can provide peer mentors to advise on which classes to take, what peers have learned, and so on. It can be valuable to learn from other students, so if you feel that it’s something you’d benefit from, let your counsellor know.

Professional Photographs

Creating online profiles and portfolios for job search, a student is likely to want a professional looking photograph. Career center will take it free of charge.

Guest Speakers and Workshops

University career services often host guest speakers to come and talk to students about potential opportunities within industries or roles. They also host different workshops, such as resumes and cover letter writing, social media strategies, and other career-related subjects that may be applicable. Career center will have a schedule of speakers and workshops listed on their web site.

Resume and Cover Letter Help

Career counsellor is there to provide with help on resume and cover letter for students. While they may not write either document for student, they will help sort out what should and should not be included. They will also help edit, so that it’s as polished and professional as can be.

Career Counsellors

Counsellor is there to provide with help and guidance. They are your liaison for everything job-related one may need.

Field Trips

For interested students, University can organize field trips to tour industries or companies that are prevalent within the area.

Business Cards

Career centers can print business cards for their students free of charge or at little cost, so it’s worth looking into. These can be costly when purchasing on your own.

Career Aptitude Tests

If a student is confused about where he/she’s headed – or if they are headed in the right direction – Career center might be able to help. One can take a variety of career aptitude tests, which will match potential careers to your personality or skills. These tests can give a better idea of which fields may be best suited for.

 I have been a part of HESSA initiative for training of Deans and future leaders. I have had the pleasure of attending a course on leadership capacities of Deans and Future leadership.

In this course I chose a strategic initiative to start workshops on student career development and success.

Student Career Success

  1. Name of Training workshop: Student Career Development
  2. Dates: Since March 2023 I have had the pleasure of organizing four workshops so far and have been able to train more than 200 students of final year of different Departments.
  3. Purpose: To develop student employability skills i.e. how to Make CV, search for jobs, how to apply for jobs, how to appear for interviews, and soft skills for jobs, etc.
  4. Learning outcomes: The student would be able to have the skills to make CV, tailor it according to needs of the jobs, they would be able to appear properly for interviews and will have the necessary skills for jobs placement.
  5. Success Stories: Students are very enthusiastic about and now I am in process of making this a part of University in the form of Establishing a Student Career Success centre.
  6. Future Plan: I have already discuss this with the leadership of University of Swat and they fully support to establish a student career success center in university of Swat.

I was part of a nine-month comprehensive training program titled “Teaching and Leaning of Soft Skill, Cohort-1,” for which I am very thankful to the Honorable Vice Chancellor of the of University of Swat and HESSA/USAID. The program was conducted by the faculty members of the University of Alabama under the project Higher Education System Strengthening Activity (HESSA) and sponsored by USAID.

TEACHING AND LEARNING OF SOFT SKILL, COHERT-1

It was a nine-month program that began with a two-day workshop in Islamabad [from June 16, 2022, to June 17, 2022], and subsequently, seven-month online classes were conducted by the faculty of the University of Alabama. The program was concluded with a two-week visit [from February 18, 2023, to March 4, 2023], wherein physical classes at the University of Alabama, USA, were arranged for the participants of all the partner universities in Pakistan, including the University of Swat.

Prior to the USA’s visit, I submitted a comprehensive dossier on ‘Principles and Practices of Effective Teaching’ in August 2022, which contains information on the overall output of different online training sessions. 

  1. PURPOSE OF THE TRAINING

This nine-month training program was aimed at bringing improvements to the teaching methods while focusing on enhancing the learning skills of students through their active participation in the teaching process. 

  1. LEANING OUTCOMES

Two major learning outcomes of this training program are listed below:

  1. We learned how to utilize different important techniques, such as cold callingwhich helps teachers engage their students in the learning process. It helps to motivate those students who are not willing to be part of discussion or who feel anxiety during discussion. 
  2. We learned how to apply the concept of ‘Equity and Inclusion’, which is an important concept to apply in a teaching environment where students come from different cultural, political, and financial backgrounds.
  3. SUCCESS STORY

In light of the training program, we arranged a three-day training workshop on “Live Radio Production [from May 23 to May 25, 2023], which aimed at imparting soft skills and learning techniques to students of the Department of Media and Communication Studies.

  1. FUTURE PLAN FOR APPLICATION AT UNIVERSITY OF SWAT

We are planning to incorporate some of the teaching techniques, such as collaborative learning, equity, and inclusion, into our routine teaching process, especially in the practical portion of the courses, while taking care of the curriculum requirements of our own institution, i.e., University of Swat.

 

Dates: The first training was held in Islamabad, Pakistan, from June 13 to 15, 2022, followed by a US exchange visit from July 16 to 29, 2022, and a closing workshop held in Islamabad, Pakistan, from January 16 to 17, 2023.

Purpose of the Training: The purpose of the HESSA Project training on women’s leadership in Higher Education was to empower women leaders within the higher education sector by providing them with professional development opportunities, fostering gender equality and empowerment, facilitating networking and collaboration, encouraging personal growth and reflection, and ultimately enhancing participants’ leadership skills and performance.

Learning Outcomes: The training provided me with invaluable insights into effective leadership strategies tailored to address gender-related challenges. Through interactions with experienced leaders during the US-Exchange visit and the closing workshop, I gained practical skills and perspectives that have already positively impacted my personal growth and performance as a female leader in academia. Overall, it was a transformative experience contributing to both personal and professional growth in advancing women’s leadership in higher education.

Success Story: Fostering Strategic Partnerships for Student Success

After completing the HESSA Project training, I was determined to translate the knowledge gained into tangible initiatives on our campus. With this in mind, I embarked on designing a campus-based project focused on fostering collaboration between industry and higher education institutions, as mandated by HESSA.

For this project, I strategically selected the University of Peshawar’s College of Home Economics and the Islampur Cottage Industries Association (ICIA) in Swat as key partners. Recognizing the training’s emphasis on industrial linkages and collaboration, I aimed to bridge the gap between academia and industry, leveraging the strengths of each partner.

The collaboration with ICIA aims to provide students with real-world experiences and enhance their career prospects, acknowledging the pivotal role of industry-academia interaction in student placement and career growth. Additionally, partnering with the College of Home Economics offers opportunities for academic enrichment, leveraging their qualified faculty and well-established facilities to elevate the quality of education at our university.

The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the University of Swat and the College of Home Economics on January 10, 2023, marked a significant milestone in our journey towards collaborative excellence. While the MoU with ICIA is currently in progress as certain restrictions on collaboration with private organizations were imposed by the HEC. Therefore, the case has been submitted to the University of Swat’s ORIC office to obtain the necessary approvals and complete the required procedures

Despite challenges, our commitment to fostering meaningful partnerships remains steadfast. Through strategic collaborations, we aim to empower students with industry-relevant skills and enhance the academic landscape, ensuring their success in today’s competitive environment.

This initiative exemplifies our dedication to innovation and student-centric approaches, laying the groundwork for transformative change in higher education. As we navigate the complexities of collaboration, we remain optimistic about the positive impact it will have on our students’ futures and the broader academic community.

 

Future Plan for Application at the University of Swat:

After participating in the HESSA training, I am committed to making a positive contribution to my institute in the following ways:

  1. Sharing knowledge and best practices: I will share best practices and knowledge gained from the HESSA training with my colleagues and peers to promote continuous learning, professional development, and growth within my institute.
  2. Innovation and creativity: I will bring innovative and creative ideas to the table, to improve the quality of education and research in my institute. I will work with my colleagues to develop new projects and initiatives that will benefit students, faculty, and staff.
  3. Community engagement: I will engage with the wider community to promote the work of my institute and build relationships with stakeholders. I will seek out opportunities to collaborate with local organizations and businesses to create new partnerships that will benefit everyone involved.
  4. Encouraging teamwork and collaboration: I will foster teamwork and collaboration within my institute by encouraging open communication, sharing ideas, and promoting a sense of collective ownership in achieving our goals.


In conclusion, my journey through the HESSA Project training has been transformative, empowering me with valuable insights and skills to drive positive change within the higher education sector. Through strategic partnerships, knowledge sharing, and a commitment to innovation, I am poised to make meaningful contributions to the University of Swat and the broader academic community. With a focus on collaboration, community engagement, and fostering a culture of continuous improvement, I am confident in our collective ability to create a brighter future for students, faculty, and staff alike.

HESSA FOCAL AREA: STUDENT MICROENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT

Name of the Participant: Asif Saud Jan Focal Area: Student

Microenterprise Development (MED)

NAME OF TRAINING ATTENDED:

  • Student Support Services Annual Capacity Building & Knowledge-Sharing Summit’  Dates: July 26-28, 2022

Purpose of the training: Capacity building in the focal area of student microenterprise development.

  • USAID’s HESSA MED Study Tour and Training, Indonesia

Dates: February 18-28, 2023

Purpose of the training: Capacity building and orientation training in the focal area of student microenterprise development.

  • USAID’s HESSA Student Support Services Summit

Dates: June 20-23, 2023

Purpose of the training: Capacity building and follow-ups on the targets set in the previous summit

  • SUCCESS STORY:

The focal area, ‘Student Microenterprise Development’ of the Higher Education System Strengthening Activity (HESSA) has helped us to enhance the overall entrepreneurial ecosystem at the university. The activity is aimed at the development and implementation of the interventions, to target the mindset change of local stakeholders towards accepting student microenterprise development. As a result, more students are now considering entrepreneurship as their career choice, which is evident from the number of student applications that the Incubation Centre is receiving for the cohort/startups intake. So far, 38 startups have completed their incubation cycle at the Incubation center which consists of 143 university of Swat students. Similarly, the approximate revenue generated by these startups is 40 million while the direct and indirect jobs creation is 190 and 229 respectively.  Moreover, the incubation center facilitates the promising startups by providing them facilities such as business development, training and mentorship, networking opportunities, free office space, internet facility and monthly stipend.

  • No of Cohorts (Batches) graduated                                                                                                        04
  • Number of Startups graduated:                                                                                                               38
  • Number of Incubates graduated:                                                                                                            190
  • Number of Cohorts in Progress:                                                                                                              01 (Cohort-5)
  • Number of Startups in progress:                                                                                                             10
  • Number of Incubates to be graduated in Cohort -5:                                                                             50
  • Number of direct jobs created:                                                                                                                190
  • Number of indirect jobs created:                                                                                                             229
  • Revenue generated (approx.)                                                                                                                   40.2M

Following activities have been conducted so far to address our thematic areas and to enhance the Student Entrepreneurship as part of the Higher Education System Strengthening Activity (HESSA); 

  • Launchpad for selection of startups (Cohort-3) at National Incubation Centre, University of Swat

launchpad for the selection of startups for Cohort-3 was held on September 12, 2022 at the National Incubation Centre, University of Swat where 10 startups (50 students) were finally selected and started their entrepreneurship training. Initially, the incubation centre received 262 applications, 80 were shortlisted for Elevator pitch round while 21 applicants / startups were shortlisted for the Final Pitch where10 startups were finally selected for Cohort-3.

  • Orientation Session for New Startups of Cohort-3

After the successful completion of launchpad, National Incubation Centre organized an orientation session for their 3rd cohort startups at University of Swat.

The incubation centre team warmly welcomed the startups and gave them an overview at the current standing of National Expansion Plan of National Incubation Centres, its contribution, opportunities they will avail during the incubation cycle. Moreover, a mandatory training on Incubation Wing portal was also conducted to make startups familiar with the system.

  • Digital Marketing Training Workshop on Meta BoostT

National Incubation Centre organized a digital marketing training workshop on Meta Boost with the collaboration of DEMO at the National Incubation Centre, University of Swat. In this workshop 50 incubates from the incubation center and 20 students from Centre from Management and Commerce management, University of Swat participated. Moreover, 03 trainers from DEMO visited the incubation center and conducted the training / workshop.

  • Launchpad for Selection of Startups (Cohort-4) at National Incubation Centre, University of Swat

 Launchpad for the selection of startups for Cohort-4 was held on March 22, 2023 at the National Incubation Centre, University of Swat where 10 startups (50 students) were selected and started their entrepreneurship training. Manager Research Operations (ORIC), being the focal person of National Incubation Centre coordinated the event and evaluated the startups as a Judge in the Elevator Pitch round.

  • Zindagi Prize Business Idea Competition

The National Incubation Centre, University of Swat in collaboration with Zindagi Prize jointly organized the Zindagi Prize Business Idea Competition at the campus in March 2023.  Zindagi Prize is Pakistan’s Largest Social Entrepreneurship Program that brings PKR 5M worth Cash Prizes for University students. The winning student startup won the prize of PKR 30,000. The competition has contributed significantly in boosting the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the university. Manager Research Operations (ORIC), being the focal person of National Incubation Centre coordinated the event and evaluated the startups as a Judge in the final round of selction.

  • Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Business Expo

The National Incubation Centre, University of Swat jointly organized the Khyber Business Expo 2022 as Community Parter. The event was organized at the University of Peshawar, where the participants from academia, industry, the business community, government institutions, social sector organizations, and independent experts participated.

  • WISE (Women Initiatives in Social Entrepreneurship) Bootcamp for Female Entrepreneurs

The School of Leadership Foundation (SOLF) along with UNDP and Jazz Pakistan, in collaboration with National Incubation Centre, University of Swat hosted a bootcamp on social entrepreneurship for female entrepreneurs. The bootcamp was held on August 17, 2023 at the National Incubation Centre, University of Swat.

The WISE Bootcamp – an empowering platform was designed to nurture and elevate the female entrepreneurs by enhancing their social entrepreneurship knowledge and abilities.  The potential entrepreneurs were encouraged to present their ideas relating to the social enterprise.

  • Seminar on the role and effectiveness of Women Entrepreneurs of Swat in the Peacebuilding process

A seminar on the role and effectiveness of ‘Women Entrepreneurs of Swat in the Peacebuilding Process’ was held at the National Incubation Centre, University of Swat on September 21, 2023. Dr. Sameen Shah conducted the seminar while local women entrepreneurs and incubates at the NIC attended the seminar.

  • Launchpad for selection of Startups (Cohort-5) at National Incubation Centre

Launchpad for the selection of Cohort-5 startups was held on October 12-13, 2023 at the National Incubation Centre, University of Swat where 10 startups (50 students) were selected and started their entrepreneurship training. Manager Research Operations (ORIC), being the focal person of National Incubation Centre coordinated the event and evaluated the startups as a Judge in the Final Pitch round. 

  • Bootcamp on Entrepreneurship under the Capacity-building program “Build, Entrepreneurship skill training (BEST)

R.E.D International in collaboration with the National Incubation Centre (NEP NIC Swat) hosted a 3-day interactive boot camp on entrepreneurship.  The bootcamp was held on March 05-07, 2024 at the National Incubation Centre, University of Swat. The bootcamp provided hands-on training on essential entrepreneurial concepts, equipping the startups and incubates with the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the competitive business landscape.

  • Future plan for application in UoS:                                                                                                                                  
  • Promotion of Entrepreneurial ecosystem at the university
  • More student’s inclusion (participation of students from all departments of the university)
  • Startups sustainability
  • Tapping the indigenous/local resources of swat for startups
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