A new class of entrepreneurs has emerged in Pakistan during this decade who, in small but significant ways, have challenged the religious orthodoxy. They present a sharp contrast to the rising wave of Islamic radicalism that the U.S. and others view as an existential threat to Pakistan. And with many well-traveled Pakistanis importing ideas from abroad, they are contributing to Pakistan's 21st-century search for itself.
The new entrepreneurial outfits range from fashion apparel and cosmetics to upscale restaurants, personal fitness clubs and places offering men's hair transplants.
The consumer-driven growth during Musharraf years has fueled the spread of a middle class in Pakistan's biggest cities. For decades after independence in 1947, a handful of extremely wealthy industrial families dominated the economy. In the 1970s, nationalization of important industries gave the government a major economic role. In recent years, a privatization program has sought to shrink the state's hand, while introducing more investment and competition. In an effort to promote small businesses, President Musharraf's government eased credit availability for entrepreneurs in the country.
While most of the entrepreneurs cater to Pakistan's young, urban consumers, there are a few who have found highly unusual niches for export markets. For example, Integrated Dynamics of Karachi designs, builds and exports unmanned aerial vehicles used by the US for border patrol duty on its southern border with Mexico. Recently highlighted by the New York Times, AQTH offers a more shocking example of a small, entrepreneurial Karachi company that caters to the $3 billion a year bondage and fetish industry in the United States and Europe. AQTH's mom-and-pop-style garment business earns more than $1 million a year manufacturing 2,000 fetish and bondage products, including the Mistress Flogger, and exporting them to the United States and Europe.
The company sells its products to online and brick-and-mortar shops, and to individuals via eBay. The company's market research shows that 70 percent of its customers are middle- to upper-class Americans, and a majority of them Democrats. The Netherlands and Germany account for the bulk of their European sales. Company workers who assemble the handmade items — gag balls, lime-green corsets, thonged spanking skirts — have no idea what the items are used for. Even the owners’ wives, and their conservative Muslim mother, have not been informed.
Overall, the entrepreneurial class remains a sliver, just over a million people by some estimates., according to the Wall Street Journal. In addition to small export niches, much of the business is confined to pockets of urban wealth that most Pakistanis won't experience in their lifetimes. And yet, the brief business careers of many entrepreneurs show how rapidly dramatic change can unfold in Pakistan.
Pakistan's Foreign Visitors Pleasantly Surprised
Start-ups Drive a Boom in Pakistan
Pakistan Conducting Research in Antartica
Pakistan's Telecom Boom
ITU Internet Data
NEDUET Progress Report 2008
Pakistani Entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley
Musharraf's Economic Legacy
Should Pakistanis be Proud of Their Country?
"Since President Asif Ali Zardari took office, Adnan said, trade unions have been legalized and prices of some raw materials, including leather, have shot up, as have interest rates. The result: a 15 percent dip in AQTH’s profits."
"Still, word of the business has at times escaped. Last year four “powerful guys” from a conservative Muslim group threatened to burn down the factory if it was not closed within a week. The brothers calmly explained that it was merely a business, and that the items were not used in Pakistan. The next day they bribed a local Islamic political organization to ensure their safety. "
Above statements are self explanatory and the risk of business in pakistan.
Anon: "Above statements are self explanatory and the risk of business in pakistan."
While the nature of risks varies from place to place, entrepreneurship is considered synonymous with risk-taking everywhere. But encouraging entrepreneurship should be a part of every growing economy to fuel innovation, provide growth opportunities and create jobs.
yea musharraf's era was great, and about that company lol i was laughing my @$$ off!!! we sure know how to make business off of other people's wasteful needs!!! LMAO
once again great post
Here's a ranking of ease of doing business in South Asia that puts Pakistan well ahead of India:
Bangalore: The business environment in Pakistan and Bangladesh is far better than in India. According to the latest 'Doing Business Index', India's business environment has become tougher during the years compared to other nations.
Economies are ranked from one to 183 on the basis of their regulatory environment being conducive to business operations. All of India's neighbors except Afghanistan have been ranked better. While India is ranked 133, Pakistan is ranked 85th followed by Sri Lanka (105), Bangladesh (119) and Nepal (123).
"India is a consistent reformer for the past many years. A country's rank in the index is an average of 10 indicators, each with 10 percent weight in the index. India increased the number of judges in the specialized debt recovery tribunals, which led to a major removal of blockages. While India reformed in the area of insolvency, other countries reformed in more than one area," World Bank's Senior Strategy Advisor, Dahlia Khalifa told Economic Times explaining why India has been overtaken by other nations.
The 2010 Doing Business Report prepared by World Bank and the International Finance Corporation averages a country's percentile ranking on 10 topics, made up of a variety of indicators. This includes examining a country's business environment in terms of starting a business, dealing with construction permit, employing workers, registering property, getting credit, protecting investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and closing a business.
The first place is occupied by Singapore, which is followed by New Zealand, Hong Kong and the U.S.
To see complete rankings and report, click here: http://www.doingbusiness.org/EconomyRankings/"
Excerpts from Knowledge at Wharton website:
Ibrahim received a master's degree in economics, an MBA and a PhD in geopolitical strategy at Cambridge University. He is currently a research scholar at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, and has been named an "emerging global leader" by Yale University's World Fellows Program and an "ideas scholar" at the recent Aspen Ideas Festival. He also was a paratrooper in the British Army and speaks four languages --- English, Arabic, Punjabi and Urdu.
An edited transcript of the conversation follows.
Arabic Knowledge@Wharton: What did Pakistan's government ask you to do in terms of economic strategy?
Azeem Ibrahim: My friend, Dr. Nadeem-Ul-Haq, who was a key economist at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), asked me to help him out. We were talking about setting up the first think tank in Pakistan, specifically to concentrate on economic development. We had a number of discussions about it before he left for Pakistan. A few days later, he called me [in May] and said, "Listen, I've just been appointed head of the Planning Commission and I'd like you to be a key adviser." We had a couple more discussions about it, and we thought the focus should be to encourage a more entrepreneurial and innovative environment in Pakistan. I thought I would give him some advice and that would be it, but what he had in mind was a little more ambitious. He said, "We have to write a whole new national economic strategy from a blank slate."
Arabic Knowledge@Wharton: You mentioned in other interviews six main points you envision for Pakistan's economic recovery, including identifying people with business acumen. Can you expand on that point and tell me about the other points?
Ibrahim: I believe entrepreneurs are people who have the imagination to recognize a new product, process or service, and possess the ability to make their ideas happen. Entrepreneurs, and the new businesses they create, are the engines of economic growth and job creation, which in turn underpin political stability and the growth of a civil society.
To that end, we can identify experienced and potential entrepreneurs through schools, colleges, science and technology institutes, and civic organizations. We would seek entrepreneurs from "no-tech" and "low-tech" businesses, like agriculture, handicrafts and tourism, as well as high-tech businesses. We would work closely with development agencies, which have access to many "feeder" organizations to identify entrepreneurs.
The second point is to train and encourage entrepreneurs through domestic and international programs, varying from two-week boot camps to multi-month immersion programs. Third, we want to help develop networking, mentoring, incubation and acceleration programs. One example would be to establish an entrepreneur-in-residence program, which would include entrepreneurs from the diaspora who are familiar with Pakistani language, culture and business. Also, we'd like to establish a web-based backbone, with mentor-mentee matching as well as a contacts list for services, similar to Craigslist.
Funding, of course, is important, and that is my fourth point. We want to engage private sources of finance to provide funding for start-up ventures, including the creation of angel investor networks. We want to find the best possible partners to mentor young entrepreneurs and help them develop funding strategies and learn how to make the best possible presentations to potential funders or investors.
My fifth point is to combine diplomatic advocacy and foreign assistance to reform financial, legal, policy and regulatory impediments to private-sector development, and help entrepreneurs get access to early-stage capital.
Lastly, we want to promote the accomplishments of local entrepreneurs, who can be role models. .....
The Lahore-based Pepper.pk and Five Rivers Technologies made it to the number one spot across all categories on BlackBerry’s AppWorld on August 3 with their game Ninja Fruit Bash, developed for BlackBerry smartphones, according to a report in Express Tribune:
This was the third BlackBerry app developed by the local company to make it to number one on BlackBerry AppWorld.
Their other apps to reach number one include Photo Editor, an app that allows users to edit photographs from their hand-held devices, and LED Notifier, an app that blinks different colored LED for different contacts.
Mahe Zehra Husain, the Head of Operations and Product Management said “We are thrilled at this achievement. We already have two world number one utilities on BlackBerry AppWorld and adding a game to our family shows that not only can good code be developed for software utilities in Pakistan we can actually make amazing games as well!”
Ninja Fruit Bash Storyline
Ninja Fruit Bash follows the quest of a Ninja as he travels across China slicing tainted and poisoned fruit in order to save humanity.
The fruit is poisoned by the evil spirit of Orochi and is fatal if eaten. Orochi has turned fertile fruit gardens all over China into poisonous wasteland and our Ninja is on a mission – to return all the fruit gardens to their former glory.
Here's more from Blackberrycool.com:
There’s a growing trend of taking iOS successes and porting them over to BlackBerry. We believe the trend was started by Smarter-Apps and from a strictly business perspective it makes a lot of sense. Sure, you could spend a long time working on a risky app that may or may not be a success, or you could take something that obviously makes money on another platform and bring it to the 40 million or so BlackBerry users. Considering the huge success of this strategy, as proved by Angry Farm, it makes you realize that a lot of these iOS developers are listening to the analysts more than the users.
Ninja Fruit Bash is the latest in this strategy and they’ve taken the success of Fruit Ninja to BlackBerry users. The app isn’t 100% of the fun you get on the iOS version and there are some limitations on the BlackBerry side such as the fact that not all devices have OpenGL support for 3D graphics. Ninja Fruit Bash on the Torch was a pretty smooth experience and it’s definitely a good start. The company will have to work a little harder to bring more of the user experience and graphics to the game but as a start it’s awesome.
A big donor is giving $50 million to Stanford to help promote innovation and entrepreneurship for alleviating poverty in the developing world. Here are some excerpts from a Mercury News story:
A Silicon Valley venture capitalist has donated $100 million to Stanford University's Graduate School of Business to establish a new institute to promote entrepreneurship in developing countries and eventually alleviate poverty.
Robert King, along with his wife, Dorothy, also gave a second gift to the entire university, $50 million in matching funds to encourage more donations to Stanford. The couple's gift is the second-largest publicly disclosed single donation to the school, behind a $400 million donation in 2001 by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.
"The institute will be about sponsoring and creating entrepreneurial activity in developing economies," said Robert King, 76, who founded Peninsula Capital in Menlo Park. "Stanford is in an absolutely leading position to do that."
The Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies will be devoted to research, education and on-the-ground support to help entrepreneurs innovate and grow their businesses. Students and faculty will travel abroad to help businesses overcome obstacles to growth. The institute also will provide formal courses for entrepreneurs and nonprofit employees overseas.
The Kings say the inspiration for their philanthropy grew from hosting foreign students while they attended Stanford, a more than four-decade experience that underscored the importance of the link between education and entrepreneurship. It also led to a successful investment by Robert King, who provided seed money for China's giant search engine, Baidu, after he met the company's co-founders, Eric Xu and Robin Li, through one of the couple's home-stay students more than a decade ago.
"If anyone knows the value of encouraging entrepreneurship in the developing world, it's Bob King," Li said in an email statement. "Bob took a big chance on Baidu in our earliest days, investing in a Chinese search engine at a time when China's Internet was still in its infancy. I'm sure that this generous endowment will help create some great business leaders in the developing world."
The institute will build on work Stanford students and faculty already are engaged in through a collaboration of the business school and the university's Hasso Plattner Institute of Design in which products and business models are created for the developing world.
One venture to emerge from this work is d.light, a company creating products for people without access to reliable electricity. The institute will dispatch students and faculty members to work with overseas businesses and NGOs, or nongovernment organizations, identified as having great promise by other organizations.
"If their research is focused on Guatemala, we will send them there," Lee said.
The university is beginning the process to hire three tenure-track professors to fill research positions in the institute. They will join four current Stanford professors, Saloner said.
The Kings, who are active philanthropists, also founded the Thrive Foundation for Youth, which supports research on youth development and organizations that work with young people.
Pakistan's Monis Rahman of Rozee.com makes the Forbes Top 10 list of Asian entrepreneurs under age 50. The list includes big names like Jack Ma of Alibaba.com
Here's a story of what drives Pakistani entrepreneurs:
When I ask entrepreneurs in most countries what drives them to innovate and succeed, they give similar answers: Inspiration. Passion. Vision.
During a recent trip to Pakistan, I heard those same responses. But after spending a week talking to Pakistani entrepreneurs, I realized that for them these qualities are mere afterthoughts. What really drives them is their country. Above all they are propelled by the desire to pull Pakistan out of its political and economic abyss and back to some semblance of normalcy. Their patriotism, combined with their entrepreneurial drive, makes me bullish on Pakistan.
Pakistan is in crisis. Serious and sobering crisis, not the rhetorical and idealistic “there is opportunity in crisis.” Security is a real threat. Corruption is a crippling problem. There is no confidence in the country’s laws, courts, or leadership. The Council on Foreign Relations recently issued a report on Pakistan that lists state collapse and authoritarianism as two possible future scenarios for the country. That is why I was surprised to hear from every entrepreneur I met with that not only did he or she believe in the country, but that his or her business was “about Pakistan.”
That was the response Shamoon Sultan gave when I asked him to describe the company he founded in 1998, Khaadi. The country’s leading design textile retailer, Khaadi produces high-quality fabrics and ready-to-wear his and hers loose shirts known as kurtas. They are products made out of locally sourced material and woven by local artisans. Most interestingly, they are products for locals who are not deterred, as I witnessed in one of 14 nationwide shops, by Khaadi’s high prices.
“For a country, it is important to create brands,” the soft-spoken and immaculately groomed Sultan said over breakfast at the garishly lit Marriott Karachi.
For him, a graduate of the prestigious Indus design school, Khaadi is a brand that reflects Pakistan’s rich tradition of handloom crafts and textiles. (Textiles account for 11 percent of Pakistan’s GDP.)
He isn’t necessarily selling something. “It’s not about the profits,” he said. He is the son of a successful businessman with options to leave the country, so that much was clear.
Much like Ralph Lauren tying his brand to America, Khaadi is the trim, bearded Sultan’s effort at providing an experience for his fellow countrymen to display pride. More importantly, he has created an enterprise where outsiders see another side of his country.
“Pakistan has a huge perception challenge,” said Monis Rahman, CEO of the Lahore-based Naseeb Networks. “That is interfering with investment that is badly needed to fuel growth.”
It has not interfered, however, with Rahman’s individual ability to raise capital for his several startups—capital raised not in Pakistan, but in Silicon Valley.
Naseeb launched that September with 10,000 users. Six months in, the number rose to 80,000. That Pakistan has, according to Morgan Stanley, the third-fastest-growing number of Internet users made Naseeb.com’s prospects even brighter. And it firmly proved Rahman to be a worthy entrepreneur.
True to that identity, a few years later, in 2005, he launched another Web platform, this time through his own funding. It was a job-search site, Rozee.pk, which today is Pakistan’s No. 1 online employment site. Over 30,000 employers, including U.S.-based firms such as McDonald’s and Coca-Cola, advertise on Rozee.pk.
Read more: http://www.portfolio.com/companies-executives/2010/10/26/pakistani-entrepreneurs-are-in-it-for-country-and-profit/
Here's a Bloomberg story titled "Pakistan, Land of Entrepreneurs":
On a warm Sunday morning in November, Arif Habib leaves his posh home near the seafront in southern Karachi and drives across town in a silver Toyota Prado SUV. About half an hour later, he arrives to check up on his latest project: a 2,100-acre residential development at the northern tip of this city of 20 million. He hops out, shakes hands with young company call-center workers who are dressed for a cricket match, and joins them at the edge of the playing field for a traditional Pakistani breakfast of curried chickpeas and semolina pudding. After a quick tour of the construction site, he straps on his leg pads, grabs his bat, and heads onto the field. “The principles of cricket are very effective in business,” says Habib, 59. “The goal is to stay at the wicket, hit the right balls, leave the balls that don’t quite work, and keep an eye on the scoreboard. I feel that my childhood association with cricket has contributed to my success.”
Habib, who started as a stockbroker more than four decades ago, has expanded his Arif Habib Group into a 13-company business that has invested $2 billion in financial services, cement, fertilizer, and steel factories since 2004. His group and a clutch of others have become conglomerates of a kind that went out of fashion in the West but seem suited to the often chaotic conditions in Pakistan. Engro (ENGRO), a maker of fertilizer, has moved into packaged foods and coal mining. Billionaire Mian Muhammad Mansha, one of Pakistan’s richest men, is importing 2,500 milk cows from Australia to start a dairy business after running MCB Bank, Nishat Mills, and D.G. Khan Cement.
These companies have prospered in a country that, since joining the U.S. in the war on terror after Sept. 11, has lost more than 40,000 people to retaliatory bombings by the Taliban. Political violence in Karachi has killed 2,000 Pakistanis this year, and an energy crisis—power outages last as long as 18 hours a day—has led to social unrest. Foreign direct investment declined 24 percent to $244 million in the four months ended Oct. 31, according to the central bank.
At the same time, some 70 million Pakistanis—40 percent of the population—have become middle-class, says Sakib Sherani, chief executive of Macro Economic Insights, a research firm in Islamabad. A boom in agriculture and residential property, as well as jobs in hot sectors such as telecom and media, have helped Pakistanis prosper. “Just go to the malls and see the number of customers who are actually buying in upscale stores and that shows you how robust the demand is,” says Azfer Naseem, head of research for Elixir Securities in Karachi. “Despite the energy crisis, we have growth of 3 percent.”
Sherani of Macro Economic Insights estimates the middle class doubled in size between 2002 and 2012. “Those who understand the difference between the perception of Pakistan and the reality have made a killing,” Habib says. “Foreigners don’t come here, so the field is wide open.” The KSE100, the benchmark index of the Karachi Exchange, has risen elevenfold since mid-2001. Shares in the index are up 43 percent this year alone. Over the past decade, stocks have been buoyed by corporate earnings, which were bolstered in turn by rising consumer spending.
Today, Habib has 11,000 employees and annual revenue of 100 billion rupees. He plans to expand into commodities trading and warehousing. “I’ve created all my wealth in Pakistan and reinvested all of it here,” says Habib, who drives himself to his cricket matches and is never accompanied by security guards. In 1998, when Pakistan’s share index fell to a record low after the government tested nuclear weapons, Habib bought shares even though “people thought I was mad.”...
Here's a PakistanToday report on SBP support of small businesses:
The State Bank of Pakistan's (SBP) Credit Guarantee Scheme (CGS) has helped small enterprises and farmers to access Rs 2.83 billion in bank financing over the last 18 months.
The Scheme (CGS) has facilitated financing in 105 districts across the country with 85 percent of loans provided to previously un-served/under-served clients in rural areas, of which 81 percent were subsistence farmers, said a SBP press statement on Wednesday.
Similarly, 91 percent of the loans under the Scheme were provided to small businesses with less than five employees of whom 90 percent were
Sole proprietors the statement added.
Under the CGS, banks also focused on serving the lower end of the commercial banking market through smaller loans, with an average loan size of Rs 390,000 for agriculture and Rs 2.1 million for small enterprises. Specific to the needs of the clients, the durations ranged from less than one year to three years.
The Scheme through its support to previously un catered small rural enterprises is likely to enhance economic opportunities and increase employment in the rural areas of the country.
The Technical Committee of the bank during its annual review of the Scheme observed that despite the extensive geographic spread and a focus on under-banked segments, the participating banks demonstrated prudent lending practices reflected in an infection ratio of only 2.91 percent for agriculture and 1.07 percent for small enterprise loan portfolios, which are much lower than the industry averages.
It shall be noted that the CGS is monitored by the Technical Committee drawing membership from the UK's Department for International Development (DFID), SBP and the Pakistan Banks Association (PBA).
The Scheme is working in tandem with nine banks including big five banks which were selected after due screening by the Committee.
Here's an Aljazeera report titled "Pakistani economy grows in spite of state":
Lahore, Pakistan - Zia Hyder Naqi started his first business when he was eight years old, turning old newspapers into paper bags in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore. He didn’t earn much, but the 1.5 Pakistani Rupees ($0.02) he made every day was enough to buy him his lunch, and a sense of satisfaction at having made something.
Today, 40 years later, Naqi is the managing director at a plastics manufacturing firm that employs 430 people, and earned $14.2m in revenue last year.
Synthetic Products and Enterprises Ltd (SPEL) is one of the largest firms of its kind in the country, and makes everything from plastic cups to the inner sides of car doors for firms such as Toyota, Honda and Suzuki, and everything in between.
Business has been good for SPEL, Naqi says, but that's not because the government is providing a conducive climate for economic growth.
"Let's start by saying that we work in spite of the government and not because of the government," Naqi told Al Jazeera. "It really means that we have to struggle. We compete against the best in the world."
Pakistan suffers from a raft of economic problems - spiraling inflation and unemployment, a chronic energy crisis, a lack of implementation of existing policies and an unstable investment environment, owing to the country’s tense security situation.
Primary among those difficulties, Naqi says, is the issue of power cuts - or load-shedding, as it is referred to in Pakistan.
"Our reliability is affected when we have load-shedding, because we don't know when power will arrive and go. So we have to create back-ups, which means that the cost of operations goes up. It affects morale, it affects our work, it affects our delivery, it affects our customers. [It affects] the cost at which we deliver, and how competitive or uncompetitive we become to the customer," he says, estimating that the cost of putting in those back-up system raises the overall cost of his products by as much as 10 percent.
Last year, Naqi’s firm spent an extra $1.2m on putting back-up generators into place, fuelling them and paying for their general upkeep, as opposed to taking electricity off the grid. Moreover, he says, that $1.2m is a sunk cost, as it is not being invested into productive processes. The result: it’s harder for Pakistan’s products to compete in the international market, as the cost of producing electricity pushes firms into a loop of spiraling costs and being unable to further invest in new technologies.
Pakistan’s electricity woes, analysts say, are a result of industrial growth outstripping the pace of growth in generation, and a woefully maintained distribution system that results in line losses of around 20 percent At its peak last summer, the country’s electricity shortfall was a staggering 8,500MW - about 40 percent of the country’s total generation capacity (not counting transmission losses)
Meanwhile, far from the think tanks and policy committees, the entrepreneurial spirit of the eight-year-old Naqi is still alive and well. Over the last month, dozens of shops have sprung up all over Lahore, selling elections campaign-related merchandise - everything from pins and badges (for about $0.40 each) to gigantic flags ($2.44), from T-shirts ($3.05) to stuffed soft toys in the shape of party election symbols.
"With the amount of money that I’m making right now," says Muhammad Imran, 30, the owner of one such shop, "we could have built a whole bridge!"
Here's an APP report on US helping promote entrepreneurship in Pakistan:
ISLAMABAD, Nov 17 (APP): The United States is ready to cooperate with Pakistan for entrepreneurship development in the country to put it on the path of sustainable economic growth, said Advisor to US President on Entrepreneurship and Founding Managing Director of MIT Entrepreneurship Center Ken Morse on Sunday. “Entrepreneurship offers best option to Pakistan for engaging its youth in productive activities and to create more jobs,” he said while addressing the business community here.
He said Pakistan should celebrate entrepreneurship day to create awareness in society and motivate its youth for becoming entrepreneurs.
He was of the view that Pakistan should focus on encouraging its youth towards entrepreneurship to help them have respectable jobs and help promote economic growth.
Ken Morse is member of a delegation visiting Pakistan. The other delegation members include Jason Pontin Editor in Chief MIT Technology Review, Ms. Deirdre Coyle Co CEO of All World Network.
The delegation members along with Azhar Rizvi Chairman FPCCI Standing Committee on Innovation visited Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry to discuss the importance of entrepreneurship development for Pakistan.
Morse said 65 per cent of small hotels and single person stores in the US were owned by South Asians, which showed that they had great potential for this profession.
Speaking on the occasion, ICCI President Shaban Khalid briefed the delegation about the ICCI activities for entrepreneurship and youth development.
He said ICCI had formed a Young Entrepreneurs Forum (YEF) to focus on encouraging youth towards entrepreneurship adding YEF organizes workshops, trainings and mentorship programs for youth development as well as promotes the networking of young entrepreneurs at local and international level.
The YEF recently organized an Indo-Pak Young Entrepreneurs Bilateral at Islamabad to promote linkages in youth of both countries, he said adding both the sides signed a joint statement which also declared to establish a Peace University to promote people-to-people relations between the two countries.
Jason Pontin, Editor in Chief of MIT Technology Review, said entrepreneurship had been identified as one of the most important vehicles for economic wellbeing of individuals and communities and added that MIT Enterprise Forum Pakistan (MITEFP) had been established to develop an entrepreneurial eco-system in the country.
He was of the view that fostering entrepreneurship in Pakistan would create greater employment, growth and competitiveness in the country and engage youth in economic activities.
He said,” We are planning to start MIT Technology Review in Pakistan and its publication will highlight Pakistani entrepreneurs’ success stories at international level giving them an international exposure.”
Ms Deirdre Coyle Co, Chief Executive Officer of All World Network, said Pakistan had great potential for entrepreneurship and “we are trying to put Pakistani companies on global stage by announcing the ranking of 100 fastest growing companies of Pakistan.”
This would help Pakistani companies to get international recognition and we want to show the world that Pakistan is very much open to business and help change perception about it, she added.
She hoped that joining the All World ranking, Pakistani companies would get global visibility, attract new customers, investors and talent all over the world and become part of a prestigious group of successful entrepreneurs.
Here's a WSJ story on a high-priced designer Peshawari chappal knock-off:
Imitation, it is often said, is the sincerest form of flattery, but many in Pakistan failed to take the compliment when British designer Paul Smith released a new sandal bearing close resemblance to the country’s Peshawari chappal (slipper), called it Robert, and sold it for $595.
The company received a torrent of abuse on social media for the design on Monday.
While the Pakistani sandal sells in markets across the country for around $6, Paul Smith’s version of the shoe is on sale for a 9,816% mark up.
Most of the criticism on Twitter focused on the sandal’s price, while others called for Paul Smith to give credit to the shoe’s Pakistani origin.
The Peshawari chappal is originally from the northwestern town of Peshawar, but is today manufactured across the country. You can find the shoe from Karachi to Gilgit and on the feet of markets traders, government officials and young bridegrooms.
“It is as much of a part of our national identity as is the chicken tikka in our traditional cuisine,” said journalist Madeeha Syed of the shoe in an article for local English-language newspaper, Dawn.
Paul Smith’s version of the sandal is not the first time that the quintessentially Pakistani shoe has ventured overseas. A number of Pakistan-based online outlets already sell the sandal to customers around the world. They mostly target the widespread Pakistani diaspora, but the sandal has also proved very popular in France, says Sidra Qasim, co-founder of Hometown, a Pakistan-based online shop that sells Peshawari chappals.
“They like it because it has quality and good design and it is having a good impact,” she told The Wall Street Journal.
Hometown was started in 2010 by Ms. Qasim and Waqas Ali with the goal of providing a bigger market to local shoemakers in Pakistan. All the shoes sold by Hometown are made by a small group of craftsman in a small village in Punjab province, and are sold via the company’s site in 17 different countries. The biggest markets are India, the U.K. and France, said Ms. Qasim.
Despite the outrage from Pakistan’s vocal Twitter population, Ms. Qasim said that she thought it was mostly positive that Paul Smith had decided to use the Pakistani design in his summer collection.
“One thing we are very concerned about is that Hometown is about promoting Pakistani artisans to the global level, so at least they [Paul Smith] should give the right credit,” she said, “We are really happy, on the other side, that someone on the global level has recognized this design”
Hometown’s version of the Peshawari chappal starts at $90 – still a steep markup from the average market price. Another Peshawar-based online chappal shop, Zalmay, sells the sandals for around £27 ($45.)
Inside #Pakistan’s #sex-toy industry. #dildo #fetish #leather #steel https://www.economist.com/news/asia/21724426-did-i-say-out-loud-i-meant-makers-leather-and-metal-goods-inside-pakistans-sex-toy-industry … via @TheEconomist
INSIDE a small, gloomy factory in a provincial city in Pakistan, two young men huddle over a grinding wheel. They believe they are making surgical instruments. But like many of the small, local firms manufacturing steel and leather goods for export, their employer has a new sideline. The nine-inch steel tubes whose tips the men are diligently smoothing are, in fact, dildos. “It’s just another piece of metal for them,” says the firm’s owner, who picks one up to show how his worldlier customers—all of them abroad—can easily grip the gleaming device.
This surreptitious set-up is inevitable. That a country as conservative as Pakistan exports anal beads, gimp masks and padlockable penis cages, among other kinky wares, would shock locals as much as the Westerners whose hands (and other parts) the finished products end up in. Fearing the response of religious hardliners, many of the companies involved do not advertise their wares on their own websites. Instead, they list the saucy stuff through Alibaba, a Chinese e-commerce giant that acts as a middleman for many businesses in the developing world. Some officials demand bribes to allow the exports to flow. Others are simply unaware of the potential for mischief in, for example, a Wartenberg Pinwheel—a spiked disc that can be run across the skin.
The risk has so far proven worthwhile. A local maker of leather goods, one of 64 sex-toy suppliers based in the city that list on Alibaba, says that only a small proportion of its sales comes from fetish gear. But the company can earn as much as 200% profit on a kinky corset or policeman’s uniform, compared with just 25% on mundane jackets and gloves, its original business. To minimise the potential for outrage, production lines are arranged carefully, with only trusted staff putting on the final spikes and studs. To those who complain that the products the firm makes might encourage unmarried or gay people to fornicate—an illegal activity for both groups in Pakistan—the owner’s son has a ready riposte. “What if a gay person wears a [normal] jacket that was also produced by us?” he asks. The company does not know, and has no business knowing, how customers use its products, he says.
Less flexible businessmen may be missing an opportunity. Buoyed by the international success of “Fifty Shades of Grey”, an erotic film that was not released in Pakistan (although locals have posted plenty of spoofs on YouTube), global sales of sex toys have reached about $15bn a year. And recent developments favour Pakistan. Local firms cannot compete in rubber toys, as the latex they would have to import from China is subject to a hefty tariff. But Western customers increasingly opt for alternative materials, including metal, in the wake of reports that many Chinese toys contain a carcinogenic chemical. Back in his office, the owner of the metal-working factory invites your correspondent to feel how smoothly his labourers have polished a dildo. “You can use Pakistani steel for a long time,” he says, approvingly. “It rusts much later than Indian or Chinese.”
#Pakistan-based apparel #fashion label Sana Safinaz's #cloud-based e-tail solution featured in Magento case study https://magento.com/customers/sana-safinaz …
For Sana Safinaz, Pakistan’s leading fashion brand, March is the start of the summer season, and the fashion industry’s hectic ‘lawn season.’ According to the Hindustan Times: “Lawn is the name Pakistanis use to refer to the brightly colored cotton fabric sold in stitched and unstitched form in a myriad of hues, to an eager set of buyers who will sometimes go to great lengths to get their favourite suit pieces.” During this peak season, shopping malls are overwhelmed with customers. “Compared to normal trading days at our brick and mortar stores, the footfall during collection launches increases 600 percent,” reveals Sana Safinaz’s Haris Ahmed, their Head of Retail Business. You can only imagine the impact of traffic on the brand’s website.
“Our website goes crazy,” says Moeed Ahmed of the Sana Safinaz Digital Business team. “Brand collection launches during the lawn season are met with an abnormal spike in traffic,” adds Tariq Siddiqui, the brand’s Manager of Digital Business. “Across the whole industry it’s rare to find a site that has the infrastructure to successfully handle a surge without affecting customer experience.” Adding to their traffic is the company’s regular investment in highly-optimized Google search/adwords campaigns, that generates almost 35 percent of their total traffic. With the spotlight on Sana Safinaz this summer season, and the eCommerce business becoming a high percentage of the company’s total inventory, their site had to perform. Oh, and they only had a month before launch. Naturally, they chose Magento Commerce.
Sana Safinaz got to work straight away with their local development partner, Webwork Solution (Pvt.) Ltd. They chose Magento Commerce (formerly Magento Enterprise Cloud Edition), so they would never have to worry about servers and traffic spikes again. They also wanted to beat their competition by capitalizing on the rich core functionalities of Magento Commerce, and its highly effective marketing/segmentation modules. The team broke the project into two phases: Phase one included the “must have” features like order fulfillment and integration with their Point of Sale system. Phase two focused on additional capabilities like social media extensions to generate additional sales through social platforms, along with other site feature deployments.
With Magento, the Sana Safinaz team spent their time improving site structure and user experience, rather than panicking about IT and site crashes. With a cloud solution built on AWS, they knew their new Magento Commerce site could handle the crazy traffic that was about to hit.
The moment of truth arrived on March 3, 2017. Across Pakistan, the lawn season had begun, and millions of Pakistani women were hustling to buy their ultimate summer outfit. The Sana Safinaz site went live, and on the first day it processed more than 5,000 orders. Before Magento Commerce, the most orders ever processed on a single day was 1,000. As page views increased by 87 percent, their customers were raving on social media: “We were able to place orders so smoothly,” wrote one customer, “Never had this with other brands.”
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