|L to R: Shahjahan Chaudhry, Jahan Ara, Riaz Haq, Rehan Jalil|
StartUp Grind describes itself as a "global community of entrepreneurs connecting 1.5 million entrepreneurs in over 500 chapters". It has chapters in all major Pakistani cities. StartUp Grind organizes a global conference every year in Silicon Valley.
|Young Pakistani Entrepreneurs with Riaz Haq|
Pakistani participation in this conference is growing with 40 delegates this year, up from 24 last year. Arzish Azam, founder of Ejad Lab, organizes this annual pilgrimage of Pakistani techies to Silicon Valley every year under the banner of Pak-US Technology Exchange. Participants pay their own expenses. In addition to attending the two-day StartUp Global conference, Pakistani delegates visit several Silicon Valley technology companies and meet fellow entrepreneurs, including Pakistani-American entrepreneurs.
|OPEN Dinner Attendees|
OPEN Silicon Valley:
Organization of Pakistani-American Entrepreneurs (OPEN) in Silicon Valley is a community of Pakistani-Americans offering "a unique ecosystem of resources, inspiration, mentorship and networking opportunities to grow professionally in your career or your business".
|L to R: Rehan Jalil, Idris Kothari, Naeem Zafar|
OPEN Silicon Valley organizes an annual conference of Pakistani entrepreneurs that draws hundreds of Pakistanis and Pakistani-Americans. Last year, they converged on Santa Clara Convention Center in Silicon Valley on Saturday May 12, 2018 for Open Forum 2018. The attendees included entrepreneurs, technologists, business executives, investors, lawyers, accountants and others.What was different in 2018 was the presence of an unusually large number of attendees from Pakistan, including dozens of Fulbright scholars studying in the United States, entrepreneurs from Pakistan, and Husain Dawood of Dawood Group of Companies, the second largest business group in terms of market cap of the companies listed on the Karachi Stock Exchange. Driverless vehicle tech and leading-edge brain research were among the new research and technology topics discussed at the Forum.
Dinner in Palo Alto:
OPEN Silicon Valley dinner for entrepreneurs from Pakistan was organized by Mobashar Yazdani, the current President of OPEN. A number of seasoned serial entrepreneurs and charter members were on hand to meet and greet the guests from the home country. Guests included Shahjahan Chaudhry, Director of National Incubation Center at NED University in Karachi, Jahan Ara, President of Pakistan Software Houses Association (P@SHA), Arzish Azam, founder of Pak-US Technology Exchange and Naeem Asghar, reporter for Pakistan's Express News. The dinner menu included Pakistani hot food and soft drinks.
|OPEN Dinner Attendees|
Idris Kothari, Rehan Jalil, Amer Haider and Naeem Zafar participated to share their experiences as entrepreneurs and answered questions. Legal questions were answered by Riaz Karamali, a partner at the Palo Alto law firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pitman whose conference room was the venue for this event. Naeem Zafar emphasized the importance of developing a short and precise "elevator pitch" that each entrepreneur should have ready to promote their idea to get funding, customers and other support necessary to succeed. Idris Kothari talked about having an experienced board of advisors for each startup. Rehan Jalil recounted how he succeeded with his two startups. I explained how I use my blog and other social media to promote a positive image of Pakistan.
Rehan Jalil and Idris Kothari encouraged young guests from Pakistan to use all available free resources from online learning from courses offered at top American universities to using open source tools.
OPEN Silicon Valley, the organization of Pakistani-American entrepreneurs, hosted a well-attended dinner for young entrepreneurs from Pakistan who recently participated in StartUp Grind Global Conference in Silicon Valley. A number of successful Pakistani-American entrepreneurs were on hand to meet, greet and offer tips to the young guests.
OPEN Silicon Valley Forum 2017: Pakistani Entrepreneurs Conference
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