When I decided to join the Government nearly a decade ago, it was in an effort to create economic opportunities. Pakistan launched Plan9; its first technology start-up incubator when entrepreneurship was unheard of. Thus, began the journey of change. What started off as a ‘risky’ idea, soon turned into an entrepreneurial wing that housed many more ‘first-of-its-kind’ projects. From Plan9 to PlanX, TechHub Connect, e-Rozgaar, Herself and WhizKids, all became symbols of hope for the youth.
Today, startup incubators, accelerators, co-working spaces and freelancing centres are a common sight across the country. In under a decade, Pakistan witnessed fully funded international exchange programs, international VC funds taking an interest in the ecosystem, the IT policy for Punjab being put in place and Industry Round Tables focusing on tangible solutions. Seasoned professionals assumed responsibility of entrepreneurial spaces across the country and began instilling a culture of ‘thinking & innovation’.
‘Idea Croron Ka’ - Pakistan’s premier business reality show, came into production after recognizing the gap between the investors and start-ups. This too was a battle against the waves because media houses were unwilling to take a risk with this concept. NEO TV Network stepped in as that first believer and so far, the show has completed 4 successful seasons and committed Rs. 540 million on national television.
Over the last 2 years, I have contributed to the entrepreneurial movement of The Superior Group by co-founding Innovation District 92, setting up an IT company that aims at creating 10,000 jobs and directing the digital transformation of the group. Having access to a media house, a university, 250+ schools and colleges, a hospital, a research centre and more, I formed a deep understanding of how our organizations work.
In this time, I have also assumed the role of Chairman and CEO of Commonwealth Youth Innovation Hub and Project Chair, UNCTAD – Commonwealth Entrepreneurship Project for Pakistan.
However, what has kept me going is my innate passion for teaching. For over 7 years I have spent my afternoons teaching and reflecting through the lens of leadership, management and entrepreneurship. In class or in my book; the focus is on the power of 'you'.
Having coached, trained and mentored over 1500 founders, I can safely say that what our youth needs is that one 'believer'; after that, sky is the limit.
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