Pakistan

Pakistani Entrepreneurs You Should Start Following on Facebook

By | Asia, Digital Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Facebook, Marketing, Personal Branding, Technology | No Comments

If you are a startup or entrepreneur who is looking for most aspiring Pakistani entrepreneurs, then you can follow these Pakistani entrepreneurs on Facebook to learn their success secrets directly from them.

Want some inspiration? Start following inspiring people. And when I say, “Follow,” I am not referring only to Facebook, although that is an excellent starting point. I mean follow these entrepreneurs as in study, investigate, hear, heed, sit at their feet and absorb the lessons.

Here are thirteen thought and respective leaders (in no particular order) that are worth following on Facebook.

  1. Abdul Wali – Digital Marketing Professional

Abdul Wali is a PHP developer, SEO Marketer, blogger and the top Udemy instructor from Pakistan. He is also the founder of Online Ustad and Online Tuting websites where he teaches freelancing and different IT skills in Urdu and Hindi. Teaching is his passion and he has thousands of students learning online about web development, web designing, and online marketing, SEO from his video tutorials. He started making money online in 2009, and has been managing several websites since then. He has profound knowledge about SEO, SEM, SMM, PPC and Google AdSense. On Udemy, he provides high quality courses, which are very helpful for students of computer science and engineering. His courses have turned many students into web developers and entrepreneurs. There are thousands of daily visitors on his websites, thousands of subscribers on YouTube and millions of students around the world.

Web: http://www.onlineustaad.com/

  1. Ashraf Chaudhry – Sales and Marketing Trainer

Ashraf Chaudhry is an IBA graduate and is very renowned sales and marketing trainer. He is also a social media strategist, career coach, social worker, motivational speaker and a writer. He is the author of the book “The craft of selling yourself” which is about job hunting, self-growth, and career management. He also uploads video lessons for entrepreneurs to guide them about boosting their sales with social media marketing. He also mentors many national and international organizations and formulates their sales and marketing strategies. Mr. Ashraf is basically from a poor background. His father used to sell chickpeas in a local school, but Ashraf’s determination, hard work and love for education proved that success isn’t the legacy of only rich people in Pakistan.

Web: http://www.ashrafchaudhry.com/

  1. Farhan Masood – Technology Inventor and Entrepreneur

Farhan Masood is a self-taught Pakistan-born technology inventor. He has received 34 international and 5 local awards. These accolades include being the winner of MIT Enterprise Forum BAP 2012 and being sited by MITEF as one of the most brilliant minds in the world. Other than being a recognized technologist and innovator, Farhan is well known for his philanthropic activities. He was recognized by the US Department of State as one of the most influential thought leaders on Twitter (2013). He is the Founder and CTO of SoloInsight Inc., a pioneer in SaaS and cloud-based global recognition platforms.

He is a huge supporter and believer in Pakistan and runs a movement called Pakistan Go-Green, which was the subject of a Digital Revolution case study at the Cambridge University. This patriotic movement has over 1.5 million members on Facebook and serves as a large collective body of active citizens that is instrumental in arranging blood donations, raising fund and volunteers for relief work and community service.

Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farhan_Masood

  1. Hisham Sarwar – Trainer and Founder of BeingGuru.com

Hisham Sarwar is the man who earned $ 1 million through freelancing and translated this earning into an amazing entrepreneurial career. He is the founder of Being Guru and Informist. Hisham, being in love with his freedom and space, realized that a regular 9 to 5 job isn’t his cup of tea. So, he chose freelancing in 2007 and started providing web design and development services to clients. He used platforms like Elance, Freelancer and Guru. However, he focused only on Guru from the last 5 years. In a very short time period, he has earned more than $1 million and has been given exclusive coverage on the front page of Guru.com. He also made his name among the top 10 freelancers on this portal. Hisham has now employed 20 people and provides services in the web development, graphic design and mobile application domain. Besides freelancing, he also works as a mentor and a digital philanthropist. He also developed many apps to benefit communities. To promote freelancing in Pakistan, he created Pakistan’s first freelance platform Rozgar Pakistan

Web: http://www.beingguru.com/

  1. Jehan Ara – Social Activist and Speaker

Jehan Ara is a true inspiration for all the wanna-be entrepreneurs in the Pakistan. She is the president of P@SHA (Pakistan Software House Association) and BOLO BHI; a research based civil society organization. She is also a motivator, social activist, speaker and author of many industry publications with a vast experience in interactive new media and marketing in Pakistan, Hong Kong and UAE. Jehan Ara’s aim is to empower communities through information and communication technologies.

The use of advance technology in today’s world is one of her most leading passions. Privacy issues, data protection, illegal access to data and cybercrime are some of the other areas she works in. Inspired by her community work and field expertise, recently she has also been invited to U.S.A by President Obama to deliver a lecture about entrepreneurship at Stanford University, California. Currently, she is also working on an initiative known as ‘Women’s Virtual Network’ which aims to connect unemployed educated women of Pakistan to the outside world of potential employers, mentors and peers remotely.

  1. Kalsoom Lakhani – Social Entrepreneur and Trainer

Kalsoom Lakhani is the founder of Invest 2 Innovate (i2i), a social enterprise providing support to young entrepreneurs and startups in Pakistan since 2011 and soon opening in Bangladesh. Previously, she was the Washington DC co-ambassador for the Sand Box, (a global network of innovators under 30). Kalsoom has written many impactful articles for the Washington Post, Huffington Post, Dawn News and Foreign Policy. But the reason of her popularity is her blog CHUP; Changing Up Pakistan. She is the founder and editor of this blog since January 2008 and it aims to create awareness on different issues affecting Pakistan. It was nominated for the Google Awards as well.

Kalsoom has provided training to many young entrepreneurs and civil society leaders in Ireland, Cambodia, Ukrain and Kazakhstan. Her efforts helped in the launch of Think Change- Pakistan, a blog that hunts for social entrepreneurship and innovation in Pakistan. She is also the co- founder of The Hero Project, which raises voice for the nation’s heroes through telling their success stories. You can follow Kalsoom Lakhani on Facebook where she loves to have a healthy discussion with intellectual and energetic people and guides the dynamic youngsters of the society.

  1. Mir Mohammad Ali Khan – Venture Capitalist

Mir Mohammad Ali Khan is a founder of an investment bank in U.S.A. He is also the Federal Adviser to Government of Pakistan, a senior adviser to New Jersey State Mayors and US State senator. He also has the honor of first Muslim and Pakistani who owns an investment bank at Wall Street. He was the one who introduced the concept of Islamic Banking to Americans, which lead to Islamic banking research in U.S.A. Harvard University launched Islamic Finance and Information Program on his recommendations. He started working as a broker and used to make around 600 calls a day. He got rejected many a times because of his name. It took him couple of months to make a list of Muslims living in the US. He then, started to target them to trade stocks. It turned out to be life changing decision and the beginning to a great journey. As his network expanded, he also started introducing Islamic Finance in America. He’s been a part of many international conferences on banking and finance making Pakistan proud. He is very keen to promote entrepreneurship in Pakistan and firmly believes that talented and energetic youth of Pakistan has great potential to be successful as entrepreneurs.

  1. Qaiser AbbasSuccess Coach & Motivational Speaker

Qaiser Abbas is a motivational speaker, successful entrepreneur and corporate consultant. Qaiser is also the founder of Possibilities foundation which aims to establish 500,000 schools to educate seven million deprived children of the country. He has been supporting many children to get education in their favorite institutes. His aim of life is to educate and empower people to make a better living. He is also the author of many books. His books “Shabash! Tum kar sakty ho and Sir Utha k jeo” got very famous and remained the best seller for a long time. His video lectures are inspiring and changing lives of many people. According to him, by learning, sharing and hard work, one can always achieve the impossible dreams.

Web: http://www.qaiserabbas.org/

  1. Qasim Ali Shah – Motivational Speaker

This motivational speaker, professional trainer and writer have been serving Pakistan for quite a long time in the field of education. Qasim Ali Shah conducts trainings on social issues and personality development. He has served many government departments such as Management Professional Development Department (MPDD) and Directorate of staff development (DSD). His teachings are based on video lectures and training classes, which he also uploads on his Facebook, page and inspire millions of followers. He mostly talks about social issues, issues related to education, personality development and strategies one can adopt to become successful. He is also a career counselor and has counseled and trained thousands of students throughout Pakistan. Qasim Ali Shah’s aim is to change the lives of Pakistani youth with his intellect, eloquence and positive approach towards life.

Web: http://www.qasimalishah.com/

  1. Rehan AllahWala – Entrepreneur and Social Media Personality

Rehan AllahWala is one of the most successful Pakistani entrepreneurs. He is the founder and president of multiple ventures like Super Technologies, Chainak, Rehan University, Rehan School, Techistan, VirtualPhoneLine etc. At the very young age of thirteen, this geek started his first company called “Pakistan Computers” and by the age of sixteen, he created commodore computer accessories including voice digitizer’s and modems. Most of his companies are located in United States, Singapore, Dubai, Malaysia, Europe and Pakistan.

Rehan Allah Wala loves socializing and interacting with people from around the world and for this purpose he uses Facebook and other social media platforms. He strongly believes in the power of Internet and social media platforms to expand and manage professional relationships with like-minded people. He wants a common man to learn and interact with different people on social media and become more productive for Pakistan and that’s the reason he gifts a laptop to the people having 500 mutual friends. He also connects many Pakistanis with foreign industry experts to help them learn and boost their skills.

Web: http://rehanallahwala.com/

  1. Saad Hamid – Digital Evangelist

Saad Hamid is a digital evangelist, community mobilizer and a very successful entrepreneur. He is the founder of Digital Empower Initiative (DEI). He also works with the World Bank as a consultant. Currently, he is working as a fellow for Acumen from Pakistan and as Innovation and Community Lead for Invest2Innovate (i2i). He has worked with many reputable national and international organizations and has also the honor of being the first Pakistani to be the part of Google Experts Program. Saad is exceptionally skillful in freelancing, online marketing, brand development and mentoring. He mentors people on different platforms like Plan9, code for Pakistan, TEDx, Tech Hub, Nest I/O, etc.

  1. Saad Saleem – Trainer, Public Speaker and Activist

His unique theories are accepted and appreciated internationally. A technically sound personality who has spoken his heart out at many national and international platforms, Saad has been associated with a number of high profile bodies.

Saad Saleem is the Founder & CEO plus the Lead Trainer at Galaxy of Leaders (Saad also runs a well reputed international clothing brand named “Fashion Network” currently operating in North-America and Middle East. Talking about welfare activities, Saad is the Managing Director at Universal Student Alliance – An NGO working for the betterment of students all over the World.

  1. Usman Latif – Internet Marketer

Usman Latif is the Founder and CEO of Digital Marketing Pakistan. He is a marketing technologist, a communications expert and a former journalist. He empowers brands and start-ups to communicate with their target audience through end-to-end digital marketing strategies. With over 10 years of experience in digital media marketing he is specialized in inbound marketing, growth hacking, brand development, PR, advertising and lean content marketing.

Participated in different communities as an expert, a guest speaker and as a mentor. The communities he contributed are Google, U.S. Consulate, TiE, Open Ideo, Elance, Payoneer, P@SHA, GBG, GDG, GSA, Google Maps, and different universities across Pakistan.

Web: http://usman.co/

E-commerce site Wadi.com Co-Founded by a Pakistani Raises $67M Funding

By | Asia, Business, Dubai, Ecommerce, Economics, Pakistan, Shopping, Startups, Web | No Comments

Wadi.com offers 150,000 products among 40 categories and 3,000 brands from around the world.

GCC based e-commerce platform Wadi.com, operated by Dubai-based Wadi International General Trading LLP, has raised $67 million (around AED 246 million) in Series A round of funding led by the Saudi based Al Tayyar Travel Group.

Wadi.com in particular is eager to be a market leader. Launched in 2015, Wadi.com is part of the Middle East Internet Group (MEIG), a joint venture between Rocket Internet and South Africa telecom provider MTN. It currently operates in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia, offering an assortment of more than 150,000 products from “more than 3,000 local and international brands including Apple, Samsung, Sony, Lacoste, Victoria’s Secret, Nike and Hugo Boss. The products range from watches from Hugo Boss to electronics from Apple and Samsung to motor and self-balancing scooters.

“Wadi.com has developed in an impressive way. The funding will enable us to grow further within the region and deliver exceptional service to our customers,” said Pratik Gupta, co-founder and managing director of Wadi.com. “We are proud of having raised the largest funding in tech history of the Middle East.”

“Wadi.com has a strong proven capability to adapt to the market and build a huge portfolio of products. We are confident about seeing the company growing further, especially with the cargo and logistics support our group will be offering,” said Abdullah Bin Nasser Al Dawood, managing director and CEO of the Al Tayyar Travel Group.

Series A Round Funding Investors

  • Al Tayyar Travel Group Holding Company is a Saudi joint-stock company and has invested in operations across tourist destinations such as Saudi Arabia, nations in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Egypt, Sudan, Lebanon, Malaysia, the United Kingdom and Canada.
  • The Middle East Internet Group (MEIG), a joint venture of Rocket Internet and MTN, is the leading Internet platform in the Middle East and supports some of the most vibrant Internet companies in the region. Founded in 2013, MEIG’s mission is to accelerate the growth and success of the Internet economy throughout the Middle East. MEIG’s network currently consists of Wadi.com, Helpling.com, Vaniday.com, Easytaxi, Lamudi.com, and Carmudi.com.

While the competition is strong, Wadi’s co-founders aim to be the leading online store for everything in the Middle East by concentrating on creating experiential transactions by offering 24-hour deliveries, an unbeatable customer experience and increased time on returns. Ex McKinsey employee and COO of Wadi, Kanwal Sarfraz, said “we felt there was a clear need for a big player like Wadi.com in the broader online retail segment. KSA and UAE are demanding markets and I think that this is a good time to meet those demands with superior service and a great fulfillment platform. Wadi’s core strength is its very talented and passionate team – we strongly believe that we have what it takes to set a new standard for this market.”

Wadi.com Founding Team

A GCC based e-commerce platform Wadi.com is co-founded by LUMS Pakistan alumna Kanwal Sarfraz former McKinsey consultant with stints at Unilever and Gallup in Pakistan, Pratik Gupta, formerly of Jabong’s founding team and Ankit Wadha, also an ex-McKinsey consultant who served clients in the Middle East.

Kanwal Sarfaraz, Co-Founder & COO

Kanwal, who studied BSc Economics with distinction from LUMS Pakistan, has been involved in entrepreneurial activities since her college days. She has completed her MPhil in Economics from the University of Cambridge in 2010, where she was awarded a Commonwealth and Noon Shared Scholarship.

As one of the Co-founders and the Chief Operating Officer of Wadi,com, Kanwal is responsible for all support functions (HR and talent acquisition, finance and business intelligence, legal and corporate), investor relations as well as broad cross-functional strategic projects (strategy and special projects). She owns the Wadi.com business plan and plays a big role in helping functional teams make the right strategic choices to ensure that the plans are met.

Prior to Wadi.com, Kanwal worked at McKinsey and Company, Dubai where she served leading GCC and Pakistani enterprises on topics of strategy and operations. She has also worked with Unilever and Gallup Pakistan and as a Teaching Assistant at LUMS Pakistan.

The Coca-Cola Scholarship Program MENA 2016

By | Asia, Career, Education, Entrepreneurship, Event, Finance, How To, Pakistan, Scholarships, Technology, Travel | No Comments

For the 5th consecutive year, The Coca-Cola Company and the United States Department of State joined to launch another edition of the Coca-Cola MENA Scholarship Program 2016.

The Coca-Cola Company & the US Department of State are partnering for the 5th consecutive year to sponsor 100 university students from 7 different countries across the Middle East, North Africa and Near Asia to attend a month-long business program at Indiana University’s prestigious Kelley School of Business, one of the top ranked business programs in the United States.

2016 edition of the scholarship program includes university students from:

This multi-faceted, immersion scholarship program is designed to give a group of students the opportunity to learn about business education through an accelerated curriculum. The program, which begins in early July 2016, is fully funded including travel to and within the United States, accommodations, meals, and university and visa fees.

Make Tomorrow Better

All you have to do is share your business idea on how to Make Tomorrow Better in your country.

The 25 ideas with the most votes will automatically make it to the semi-final round. Following the semi-finals, 14 final winners will be selected and will win scholarships to attend the program at Indiana University. Submit your ideas before the application closes on March 20th.

SEE MORE details about Coca-Cola’s previous MENA Scholarship Programs

! Please note that the program will take place during Ramadan and that the travel dates can’t be amended. Indiana University is well aware of Ramadan and will make accommodations for attending scholarship winners.

To participate you can start by choosing your nationality

Are You the Next Coca-Cola Scholar?

Are You the Next Coca-Cola Scholar?

Or do you know a university student who has the potential to become one? If so share this.

share your business idea
Apple Pay was Co-Invented by a Pakistani

Apple Pay was Co-Invented by a Pakistani

By | Business, Business Apps, Finance, Mobile, Mobile Marketing, Personal Branding, Shopping, Technology | No Comments

Like all things apple, the tech giant’s Apple Pay promises to be a game changer. In this case, iPhone users are now able to securely and privately make swipe-free payments at, to begin with, some 220,000 stores in the U.S. using credit and debit card information stored on their devices. One of the seven men behind this bigger-and-better product is Pakistan’s Ahmer Ali Khan.

Khan, 38, hails from Rawalpindi, graduated from the Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology —where friends knew him as The Programmer—and moved to Silicon Valley in 2000. He worked a number of short tech gigs until landing his first full-time job at a startup. On his first day there, Khan was asked if he knew the Java computer language. He didn’t. But he was ambitious and determined. “‘I promise I will know it by tomorrow,’” Raza Shaukat Latif, a friend of Khan’s, recalls him as saying at the time. “Sure enough, he bought a book and crammed the entire night.” By morning, Khan knew the language. “That is just how brilliant he is,” Latif told Newsweek. “He has had the tech bug in him for a very long time.”

It was at the now-defunct ViVOtech, a company specializing in Near Field Communication software, that Khan first tried his hand at building a cell phone-based, contactless payment system. In 2011, Apple picked Khan to work on its “top secret” digital payment system aimed at revolutionizing shopping and, potentially, retail banking.

In February, Khan and six other co-inventors filed their patent for what Apple CEO Tim Cook would unveil to the world on Sept. 9 as Apple Pay. It “will forever change the way all of us buy things,” Cook said at the launch in Cupertino of the new technology, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch.

Khan lives in Milpitas, California, with his wife and two children. Citing Apple rules, he declined to comment for this piece.

Apple Pay allows a shopper to simply hold his Apple device, an iPhone or the Apple Watch, which comes out next year, to a contactless reader to make payments, which are confirmed as transmitted through a short vibration or beep. Credit and debit cards can be added to the device’s Passbook app using the phone camera. All transactions are entirely secure and private, says Apple.

“With Apple Pay, instead of using your actual credit and debit card numbers when you add your card, a unique Device Account Number is assigned, encrypted and securely stored in the Secure Element, a dedicated chip in iPhone and Apple Watch,” it says. “These numbers are never stored on Apple servers. And when you make a purchase, the Device Account Number alongside a transaction-specific dynamic security code is used to process your payment. So your actual credit or debit card numbers are never shared by Apple with merchants or transmitted with payment.”

In case the device is lost or stolen, banking and other information can be deleted remotely.

Google Wallet preceded Apple Pay but failed to take off and replace plastic. Apple’s recent past is a good indication that with Khan and team’s Apple Pay, it will hit pay dirt.

This post originally appeared in the October 5, 2014 edition of Newsweek Pakistan