It has been a few days of fruitful exchange of ideas and networking for all of us here today. We have been exposed to new perspectives on what constitutes entrepreneurship, new ideas in business ventures, new ways in which we can all collaborate for the common good, in different sectors of telecommunications, infrastructure, energy and tourism.
What is particularly interesting is the fact that we learnt a great deal about the qualities of a good entrepreneur.
Namely that entrepreneurship is not primarily about satisfying shareholders by maximizing profits regardless of the social cost, but rather engaging the stakeholders, the community – the people who are affected by the nature of the business.
To be a good entrepreneur is to treat human beings with dignity. Many of our panelists touched implicitly upon the need of listening and according dignity and respect to people, be it your employees or those affected by your business operations. Indeed, such are the keys to being a successful entrepreneur.
This is a lesson on branding that is needed in the Muslim world, as was mentioned by the honorable prime minister Mr. Shaukat Aziz earlier yesterday. That is, that the attitude we have towards our employees and people in society, the social contribution that we make to create a better environment for all heavily influences the image and thus, success of our business. Thus, philanthropy and corporate social responsibility are two pertinent discourses that we need to emphasize for the Muslim world.
Another important point that I feel worth stressing is the need for the Muslim world to integrate into the global enterprise family.
The Muslim world cannot live in a void. We have to live in the context of our globalised world – to live in difference, be it of culture, tradition or religion. We have to get out of our comfort zone, venture into new horizons and experience new environments. We must not be afraid to take risks. If we fail, get up and try again, and fail, and try again. But never abandon this process. Failure is the first step to success and success is a form of failure if you forget what your priorities should be. And one of the best means of doing so is to brave ourselves to collaborate with new people, of other cultures. By doing so, we shall gain tremendous social advantage and learn best practices from other societies. We must try to avoid being locked up in our own community, where we have access only to a single, and often unchangeable set of values.
These are indeed important lessons that we, the Muslim world, need to take heed of. But all this tantamount to nothing if no action-driven programmes are instituted after this forum. I apologize for being rather fussy, but i am a man of action. I refuse to allow our forum to turn into talk-shops with no concrete advances in the improvement of the Muslim world. I have made a solemn pledge in improving the state of the Muslim ummah, it is my amanah, and I will abide to that.
Two concurrent sessions were held yesterday on the WIEF Young Entrepreneurs roundtable and the WIEF Muslim Women roundtable. The objectives of these roundtables are to pursue the idea of establishing a global Muslim entrepreneur network, in order to facilitate information and trade exchanges between the young Muslims, and a training centre for women entrepreneurs, to enable Muslim women entrepreneurs to be equipped with relevant competencies and skills. Both of these objectives would focus primarily on SMEs as a reliable engine of growth for the Muslim world.
As a result of these discussions, as written in the 2nd WIEF Declaration that has been circulated to you earlier, we shall vie to establish a global young entrepreneurs network, a training centre for women entrepreneurs, and a training centre for SME cooperation. These ideas shall be rigorously pursued, followed up with specific and carefully designed action plans, and discussed further at the 3rd conference in Kuala Lumpur next May.
Last but not least, I hope that you will continue to support the noble cause of the WIEF, of creating a better society for the Muslim world and beyond. I am deeply grateful for your presence and contribution, deeply proud for the enthusiasm and rigour that you have demonstrated, and deeply honoured to be a chairman of such a promising and timely forum. I thank you once again, the government of Pakistan who have put tremendous effort in making this event a success, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, and all those organizations and Individuals who have contributed to the cause of the WIEF.
Hope to see you at the 3rd conference next year in Kuala Lumpur.