Stories about entrepreneurship

Give Pakistani women a solid tech platform and watch them break every glass ceiling in sight

The empowerment of underprivileged women in the absence of technology is hard to imagine. After all, a basic understanding of programming can encourage them to identify new market trends and eventually embrace entrepreneurship. Similarly, exposure to data analysis and web development skills can afford easier penetration into Pakistan’s booming Information Technology (IT) industry. The industry is home to some of the highest paying jobs in the country, but a dearth of technological training has denied females a level playing field. Therefore, HerDomain has the perfect strategy in place to change that. HerDomain is a non-profit technological startup that provides coding skills and ...

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An open letter to my younger self

Dear Tanzila, Today your wish will come true. You will get what you had always wanted. Remember that hair straightener set? Mum has gotten it for you. It has curlers too! But I have some bad news: you will forget about the beloved straightener within three years and never think about it again. Why? Because, you will embrace the hijab as your identity – don’t freak out! You will love it. Today, as the 26-year-old ‘you’, I have reached out to you of the past to share some lessons. Some of them I learned in Sweden, some as I was sitting in a training session ...

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Five reasons why socialism is not discussed in Pakistan

After years of abandonment following the demise of the Soviet Union and the fall of the Berlin Wall, socialism is generating academic and political interest again. The financial crash of 2007-08 only added fuel to the fire, as critics of capitalism pointed towards the inherent tendency of the system to collapse. The left-wing tilt of Latin America, since the start of the century, along with the victory of Syriza in Greece in the not too distant past, has only encouraged further debate on the merits of socialist thought. Interest in socialism and the Marxist worldview has a long history in Pakistani politics. While it can safely be argued that ...

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Is Nawaz’s Youth Loan Program a silver lining, or another gimmick?

My Twitter feed is abuzz these days with the Prime Minister’s Youth Loan Program. From concerned individuals trying to better understand the terms and conditions of the loan, to those who have found a new ball for their political ping pong, this initiative has garnered enough interest to continue to headline news and spark debates. From an economics perspective, more people vying for their business would create competition and thus lead to lower and more efficient prices, a benefit any consumer would appreciate. Who would pass up a bargain the next time you are out looking for sneakers? New businesses would create jobs that ...

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Pakistan’s Stock Market: A lost investment opportunity?

The phrase ‘stock market’ has a charm around it, which grabs the attention of almost any listener anywhere in the world. In Pakistan, however, it portrays a picture of an exclusive club for the aristocrats who bet their easily earned fortunes in the corporate bazaar. However, perceptions are often incorrect and the same is the case with the Pakistan’s stock markets, where the consequences usually involve lost opportunities to rake in money. A recently published report in The Economist concluded that the proportion of capital to labour is rising in developing economies. Simply put, to employ your human capital, as an entrepreneur, provides more financial ...

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Why tech-based entrepreneurship is important

Technology based entrepreneurship has rapidly gained momentum in western societies with low costs to entry and high Return on Investment (ROIs) acting as the prime catalysts. The trend has piqued interest in Pakistan recently as well for similar reasons. Consequently, entrepreneurship courses and workshops are gaining interest among the country’s youth. As recently as a month ago, there was news in The Express Tribune about a book exchange project launched by two students of the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi. This was truly a commendable effort and such entrepreneurial spirit can only be facilitated through the innovative use ...

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Jawwad Farid and risky business in the IT sector

Whenever we dicuss the IT sector in Pakistan, the conversation is usually about what we lack and not what we have. Then we compare it to India with all its government subsidies, state of the art infrastructure and lament all the catching up we have to do. While there is nothing wrong with making that comparison because competition is healthy, we need to realize that Pakistanis have been blazing trails in the IT industry for some years. Even with all the hurdles we have in our way, the sector has been providing niche services and is often unnoticed. There is ...

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Pane and Amore: Sweet, savoury treats

Named after an Italian term that means ‘bread with love’, Pane and Amore is a fairly new café located in Shahbaz Commercial, DHA Karachi. When I visited this Italian cum Turkish styled cafe, I could smell the aroma of freshly baked products as soon as I stepped inside. The café is small, the ambiance artistic, and the food includes many snacks from sweet to savoury; cupcakes that make your mouth water, brownies, Italian sandwiches, and gourmet burgers along with a wide range of Arabic starters are some items on the menu. The menu is updated regularly. The sandwiches are made with fresh, crunchy bread, ...

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Money 101: Getting down to business

If I was to do a spot poll and ask a hundred odd people whether they wanted to work for themselves or someone else, 95 per cent would choose being their own boss over job security and the luxury of forgetting about work when the clock strikes 6pm. But for every person who dreams of owning a quaint bookshop, a café by the sea or any other small scale business there are 10 others who will never get around to starting it up. Small businesses are the backbone of any economic system, often owned and managed by families, they continue ...

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Lessons from a soap box factory

Here in Pakistan, there is a famous fable about a soap factory. Several stores in a wealthy country complained that they had ordered soap but had only received empty boxes. Recognising that they had a problem in their factory, the management thought long and hard to find a solution. In the end, the company purchased a machine worth a million dollars, and hired an employee to observe the boxing process. Problem solved. Soon after, a Pakistani company ran into the same issue.  The management thought long and hard to find a solution.  In the end, the company purchased a big fan and placed it ...

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