International Women’s Day is a global celebration to recognize achievements made by women around the World and to support global actions needed to accelerate gender parity.
With the objective to create a more gender inclusive world, Jumpstart Pakistan has always facilitated Women Entrepreneurs in becoming responsive and responsible leaders.
On 8th March, 2017 through a meaningful celebration & targeted bold action JumpStart Pakistan celebrated International Women’s Day at DotZero Karachi. This gathering was well attended by Women Entrepreneurs. Among the invited speakers were professional women including successful women entrepreneurs who have created a mark in their respective industry and also women who are holding senior posts in various organizations and among the government.
The session started with President of JumpStart Karachi chapter, Eram Abbasi, introducing to the women the aims and objectives of JumpStart, how it is stimulating and supporting the startup ecosystem in Pakistan and how it is organizing various events in different cities across Pakistan.
Ms. Naheed Memon, who is serving as Chairperson at the Sind Board of Investment was invited as guest of honor. She is a role model for being a successful professional woman. She was the CEO of a public policy think tank in Pakistan, and headed it’s research and advocacy function. She is also a Director in her family owned group of companies based in Karachi; the core business unit, Kings Apparel is one of the country’s largest knitwear manufacturers. In London, Naheed worked for Bank of America Merrill Lynch for a number of years. She was the Founder CEO of a management consultancy firm in London which serviced clients including PwC and foreign missions.
Ms Ayesha Fahad and Ms Sadaf Fatima both very prominent entrepreneurs who are successfully running their business were invited to share their success stories. Both the stories were an eye opener for the participants. The journey included success and failure phases, the support that they received by the society and people around them and many such interesting turning points specially how these ladies are managing their business along with family and kids.
Ms Ayesha Fahad, owner of Ashlamour and D2R brands narrated her journey from university days, where she initially was exposed to the concept of entrepreneurship and how she developed her interest to start her own business through participation in business plan competitions and exposure to organizations such as SMEDA (Small and Medium Enterprise Development Authority) and initiatives like Shell Tameer. She took her first risk by starting a handbag business by the name Ashlamour. She herself used to design high end ethnic bags and get it made at low cost, using labor that worked remotely. At this stage she used to sell her product through various outlets. Later on she got married and due to the constant support by her husband and inlaws she continued her journey. Recently she has launched her second venture by the name D2R (Dream to Reality). This is all about Planners that are diaries with very ethnic and well thought out designs for women to plan their dreams ahead.
Mrs Sadaf Fatima, an engineer by education and an engineering consultant by profession was the next speaker to share her success story. Sadaf is running her engineering consulting firm with the name of M/S Sadaf Fatima. She narrated her story how, after graduation, she worked with a construction firm for a while which she couldn’t continue after her marriage. Due to her home responsibilities she started her home based consultation work. At this stage her former colleagues and university professors supported her in many ways including getting projects. She single handedly not only managed her initial projects but at the same time managed her house responsibilities alongside. She eventually rented a home nearby, dedicated top floor for office work, and gradually hired a team to deal with various projects by fulfilling all the job roles needed for success.
The major commonality among both entrepreneurs was that their families, including husbands, supported them well and their major motivation was the drive to be successful and respectable members of the society.
The participants showed great interest in the talks by the speakers. At the end of the session an open discussion was held where many recommendations were put forward to promote women entrepreneurs and help women play a vital role in the economy.
Karachi, Sindh, June 30, 2016 – Sindh Education Foundation (SEF), Govt. of Sindh officially launched a program here on June 30, 2016 to establish middle and high schools in the province in a bid with an overall objective to gradually to bridge the upsettingly huge gap between primary and post-primary education in the province.
Under the banner of the SEF Middle and High School (SMHS) Program, with the support of Sindh Government’s Education & Literacy Department, the Foundation has finalized selection of approximately 60 School Operators for establishment of around 125 Middle/High schools in Sindh. These schools are planned to be set up in areas where there are no post-primary schools.
With financial and technical support extended to these post-primary schools, SEF would accomplish enrollment of 30,000 students in Phase I, making a small breakthrough. The overall target assigned to the Foundation under this program is to reach out to estimated 200,000 students in the coming 05 years.
SEF, which is a semi-autonomous body working under a Board of Governors headed by the Chief Minister Sindh and with Senior Minister for Education and Literacy Department as its vice chairman, would provide financial and technical support for establishment and management of middle and high schools.
According to the SEMIS Data of the year 2014-15, 90% of the public schools in the province are primary, leaving perturbing 10% of all three types of schools combined, i.e. Middle/Elementary, Secondary and Higher Secondary. According to the data, 42,342 schools are primary, 2,336 are middle/elementary, 1,752 are secondary and only 294 are higher secondary. One of the reasons behind the huge dropout ratio to post-primary education in the province, as evident from the numbers mentioned above, is lack of primary schools.
Addressing the gathering, SEF Managing Director, Naheed S. Durrani said, “We want to change the perspective and approach towards education in the province. We want to support establishment of schools that can empower the students.”
“It’s time we provide students with the quality schooling which is aligned with modern methods of teaching and learning supplemented by ICT,” she added.
The session was attended by two members of the SEF BoG, who have recently joined the board namely Mr. Nazir A. Tunio and Mr. Husnain Qamar Shah. Both the members are presently involved in multifaceted activities relating to education in Sindh.
Operators have been selected after a comprehensive, transparent, and merit-based process from scrutiny of applications and to selection of successful operators. This involved an exhaustive to physical verification of proposed sites and, finally, selection of applicants – the entire process lasted for six months, from January to June 2016. The selected operators were oriented on the philosophy of the program, quality-check mechanisms and legal bindings of the contract being made under the program.
Karachi, October 3, 2015 – The event exclusively marked the launch of QnE, shared the vision behind its business and demonstrated how it can reshape the e-commerce industry in Pakistan. The event took place at 3.00 pm on Saturday, 3rd October 2015 in Pearl Continental, Karachi.
This event hosted QnE’s valued business partners, bloggers and media persons and provided them an opportunity to understand how QnE aims to simplify consumers’ lives and deliver the best customer experience in the industry.
Mr. Ebrahim Qassim, CEO of Premier Group gave the keynote speech at the beginning of the session, followed by an introductory presentation from Mr. Osama Qassim, CEO of QnE. Mr. Osama Qassim discussed the existing problems people face while purchasing grocery. He asserted that QnE strives to provide a quick and hassle-free solution to customers. He also remarked that the vision of QnE is to play a role in expanding the online community of Pakistan by becoming the nation’s favorite ecommerce platform.
The event also included addresses from guest speakers. Mr. Abrar Hassan, CEO of National Foods Limited discussed “Changing consumption habits and rise of digital media”. He strongly felt people are getting busier day by day. According to him effective use of technology helps in managing different tasks easily. He felt grocery is a time taking, tedious and a boring task and said if there is someone who is willing to do this task, its best is to use their service.
Dr. Zeelaf, CEO and MD of English Biscuit Manufacturer, believes the generation of today is born in the digital era, is busy and lazy and has started to use the easy way of relying on technology for food and grocery deliveries. The future of e-commerce and tech startups is bright as we are living in the time when most of our work is done through technology.
QnE is a customer oriented e-commerce platform that aims to take care of shopping needs in a SMART way; making life easier for all customers.
QnE is Pakistan’s premier online grocery store with services initially in Karachi. The company’s aim is to enhance the online community by becoming the nation’s favorite e-commerce platform through its very own SMART fundamentals.
The unique SMART fundamentals of QnE are:
- Synergy through innovation
- Matchless Customer Service
- Accountable to the core
- Revitalizing shopping through technology
- Teamwork with enthusiasm and family spirit
QnE is a subsidiary of Premier Group of Companies.
ABOUT PREMIER GROUP
Premier group, incorporated in 1971 has diversified investments in various industries, i.e. pharmaceutical, textile, FMCG, distribution and e-commerce.
KARACHI, 20 AUGUST, 2015: Lamudi.pk (http://www.lamudi.pk/) organized a bloggers meetup in Karachi on 20th August, 2015 at Neco’s Cafe. It was a general meet and greet session of the bloggers with Lamudi’s Country Director, Saad Arshed.
The main aim of the event was to brief the bloggers about Lamudi’s phenomenal success over its two years of operations in Pakistan and introduce them to its Google inspired work culture. Saad gave a presentation to the bloggers about Lamudi’s achievements and its happy productive work environment.
The accomplishments included Lamudi’s launch of Android and iOS apps in June 2014, which have been downloaded over 535,000 times since. Other milestones achieved, included its launch of a property magazine, conducting real estate empowerment programs and lastly the launch of its new developments section on the website.
Saad also shed light on Lamudi’s employee-centric work culture, which according to him is the ingredient behind Lamudi’s growth and makes it different from more traditional work places. Lamudi has a flat management structure, where all employees from the CEO to the sales, marketing, finance, human resources and customer services departments sit together in an open-plan office.
This presentation was followed by a networking session where bloggers could ask Saad anything about the property portal, its journey from a startup to a full grown business and the future of tech industry in Pakistan. The hashtag for the meet up was #asklamudi.
It ended with a scrumptious a la carte dinner and a photo session of the bloggers with the Lamudi team. Overall, it was a fun-filled evening and was thoroughly enjoyed by the bloggers and Lamudi team alike.
OPEN Karachi held its 3rd Annual Conference on 20th December at CBM. The topic of the conference was “Economic Sustainability through Entrepreneurship” and was attended en mass by both students and industry professionals. Chairman TDAP, S.M. Munir, was chief guest of the conference who shared moving views on progress and development of Pakistan’s exports. President OPEN Karachi, Dr. Zakiuddin, spoke about OPEN platform and its performance in Pakistan with glimpses to upcoming chapters and events planned. Other speakers from the inaugration ceremony include Ronald Jonash from Hult Business School, Brian Heath from U.S Consulate Karachi, British Deputy High Commisioner to Pakistan Mr. John Anthony Tucknott, Co-founder of Online Healthcare Group Mr. Handre Dreyer, Amy Scerra from Think Global andMariam Ahmed and Eram Abbasi from OPEN. Several announcements including new collaborations and ventures were main focus of the ceremony. Notable industry people including President P@SHA Jehan Ara, CEO SoloTech Farhan Masood and Founder KITE Afaque Ahmed attended the event which was followed by student final year projects display and conference sessions on academia role in entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, women entrepreneurship and technopreneurship.
I was pleasantly surprised when I saw an update on Facebook. It said a Skype session has been arranged with Jeffrey Archer at Liberty Books BBQ Tonight branch and it is a great chance for his fans to talk to him directly. Soon I saw event page being shared on out The Readers Avenue group and decided to attend the session. Despite the fact that I was tired from office, air conditioner wasn’t functional and needed to be fixed and I was still in the middle of downloading the newly released Watch Dogs game, I managed to take out time and reached the venue on time.
One of the best decisions I ever made.
The session was lightly attended, the dreadful traffic probably kept a lot of people away and that took away some of the charm of the event. I met Afrah and marketing team of Liberty Books, a pleasant meeting since we have made acquaintance over the past few months and it felt nice to catch up. Jeffrey was online right at the time and I easily got front row seat for the session. Jamal moderated the session and after a short introduction he asked Jeffrey to talk about his writing experience.
Jeffrey was animated. He spoke clearly about his experience as a writer and how his life events and knowledge provided the necessary information for his novels. The audience, although not many, asked him varying questions from his ability to write for multiple genres to dealing with Writers Block. He answered all openly and often humorously, leading us to fits of laughter when he declared he his God gifted and doesn’t suffer from Writers Block and would write forever till he dies. Since most of the questions were general in nature, Jeffrey didn’t go into unnecessary details about his writing. He talked about how he is closer to his first novel ‘Not a Penny more, not a Penny less’ than his other novels since that was the first and how he loves to write, particularly since he is a best seller. In fact, since he has been best seller so many times is the reason he still goes on writing.
Also, he doesn’t type but write by hand. His recent book has gone through 9 drafts and all of them are handwritten. It’s an old habit that is still a part of him and can’t switch to typing so easily. His past experience as a politician has had a great impact on his writing. Since politics is what he understands best, his novels also surround such themes and he is particularly fond of his current series Clifton Chronicles. His advise to all budding writers is to write what they feel comfortable about and have knowledge. For example Jeffrey said he has no idea about Pakistan, so if he writes a story based on Pakistan it will be a bad story since he has no knowledge of the country. There will be those who tell you there is nothing in you to pass on through your stories so why write, but don’t give up and continue to write.
Jeffrey had plenty to offer in terms of advise to the new writers for both reading and writing. The session ended after 20 minutes of conversation where Jamal did his best to successfully maintain the flow of communication between Jeffrey and his fans. After a polite good bye, all participants were upbeat and are excited about participating more in future of event of such nature. And hopefully there will be a bigger crowd the next time such an event would take place.
OPEN Karachi held its first Annual Dinner at Creek Club on 2nd May and invited people from various walks of life to interact and connect with each other. The session was interesting to attend as I met various people, from teachers to entrepreneurs of all ages and it was a small but energetic gathering. Continue reading
Sometime ago I came to know about introduction of a fictional character from the stories I read in my childhood, Umru Ayyar, in comic book. The team behind Kachee Goliyan was gearing up to introduce this old-time shady/assassin/greedy/wily person as a hero in the comic world, and that came out as a surprise to me. True, Umru Ayyar as a character presents a lot of interpretations and its stories give so many angles to work on that it is possible re-introduce him in a whole different package. Still, more strong characters like Ameer Hamza (to whom Umru played a role of adviser as well as guardian assassin) could have been used for the comic book.
Nevertheless, something is better than nothing and therefor when I was invited for the soft launch of Umru Ayyar I tried my best to take out time and attend it at the new acquired office space by the KG team. Continue reading
SZABIST Karachi organized Pakistan’s first ever Hackathon where 100+ computing/IT students from 7 different institutes stayed at SZABIST for 3 days and attempted to automate the manual processes of Pakistan. SZABIST Karachi is the institute from where I completed by MBA degree specializing in Marketing and I am proud of their achievement. Following is the Press Release of the event.
[48Hour Hackathon] Press Release
IEEE-SZABIST Student Branch is a non-profitable student branch at SZABIST of the international organization IEEE, which works to promote technological and industrial market by organizing various seminars, conferences and workshop catering students from all over Karachi.
From the 22nd to the 24th of March 2013, IEEE-SSB (SZABIST Student Branch) organized a 48-Hour application development event, HACKATHON at SZABIST 154, Clifton, Karachi. This event provided a forum for the students of Pakistan to collectively come up with creative ideas and provide technological solutions to real life problems.
The theme that we selected for the HACKATHON this year was ‘To Automate Any Manual Process of Pakistan‘.
IEEE-SSB molded this event to fit best at national level. It was platform and technology independent; the teams comprised of 2-4 participants and were allowed to work on web, mobile or desktop applications. There were a total of 26 teams and overall 118 students that registered for the event from 7 different universities all over Pakistan (SZABIST, FAST-NUCES, University of Karachi, ISRA University Hyderabad, DHA-SUFFA, SSUET, MAJU) who stayed at SZABIST 154 Campus for 3days. Participants were provided with all the necessities to make their stay as comfortable as possible.
There were 3 judges that were there to evaluate the projects of the participants at the end of the third day. The judges were from renowned industries and well reputed personalities including Mr. Syed Asif Shah (CEO, IT Minds), Mr. Owais Sheikh (CTO, Lutebox), Mr. Amir Ali Jivani (CTO, Pi-Labs). The judges were very fair in their judgment and gave ample time to every team to explain their projects in detail.
At the end, all the participants were awarded with a certificate of participation. The top 3 teams, all from FAST-NUCES received shields and cash prizes i.e. the team that came in first position received Rs. 20000, the team that came in second position received Rs.10000 and the team in third position received Rs. 5000.
For accomplishing all expected objects we have with us ICT R&D Funds & KMC, Thank you everyone for everything.
Karachi Literature Festival concluded on Sunday, bringing a wonderfully spend weekend to a successful end. I haven’t had such a good time for three days straight in a long while and attending KLF was worth every minute (and penny, for food and books). Before I talk about KLF, I must talk about the upcoming Lahore Literary Festival which will be starting next week.
I was contacted by the team responsible for Lahore Literary Festival and asked if I could attend the event. I had to apologize because the event timing clashed with the CSS examinations. Last week they sent me a press release to be posted on my blog and I checked my emails after a week, thereby missing it completely. The text of the press release is as follows: Continue reading
A few days back I got a call from my friend Talha Shamsher. A new cafe was opening soon and they needed a blogger to attend the event. The invitation was initiated by Rimsha Malik who was also attending the initial meetup before the grand opening and had send it through Talha. I agreed and reached the venue right after finishing my evening exercise on 8th January.
Symmetry Group has brought some much needed success for Pakistan at the prestigious “Agency of the Year awards 2012” that were recently held in Singapore. The Symmetry Group, comprising of Symmetry Digital, Creative Jin and Iris Digital, bagged 4 awards.
In the press conference held at Southend Club on February 2, 2013 the management presented details about the event and shared their success story. The “Agency of the Year” is a prestigious award that is well recognized internationally. Digital agencies from round the globe participate and there is a comprehensive screening process that ultimately leads to final selection. There are various categories, including a Pakistan specific sub-category within South Asia that was completely dominated by Symmetry Group. The group not just bagged all three awards from Pakistan category but was also awarded “South Asia Digital Agency of the Year”. Continue reading
I received an email from Creative Jin on Saturday morning for an event at Expo Center at 7:30 pm. I was busy in the afternoon working on my thesis presentation that I emailed to university management around 3 pm. I had to attend a meeting at 6 pm after which I headed out for Expo Center and reached the venue on time to attend the launch of new branchless banking product from Zong and Askari Bank (pictures and video included towards the end).
While I was attending India-Pakistan Social Media Mela this weekend, I got a message on Facebook from an old acquaintance Umer Dawood. What followed up was an invite to Nokia’s App Summit (16 – 17 July 2012) as a blogger and I happily accepted it. I am always interested in telecom and social media, so it was a golden opportunity for me to enjoy two of my favorite topics in such a short time. Continue reading
At the start of my third year of BBA back in 2007, I had realized the disaster we were heading towards. Despite the growing economy, I just couldn’t understand where will all the graduating students of BBA and MBA will go, especially since all institutes taught us to seek job rather than create jobs. Just a lousy course named “Entrepreneurship” was taught just for the sake of teaching and the institute would consider its job done; now it is left up to the student to utilize the learning of that one particular course or the 43 other courses he/she studied during the program.
In recent years the need for self-reliance has grown and surprising number of people have decided to open their own ventures rather than seek jobs. Back in 2010 I covered the exhibition of Ash Lamour, a handbags brand started by my good friend Ayesha Akram. Now, a couple of former classmates of mine from school and university days have also started their own brands. Arete by Aliza is a clothing brand while B by Bushra is a footwear brand. Continue reading
Karachi Literature Festival 2012 was fortunately organized at a time when I had no clash with anything except one extra class on Sunday morning. Having missed the first event on account of being out of city visiting my sister and getting stuck there due to PIA strike, I was looking forward to attend interesting sessions. I was not disappointed and the two days had gave me a lot to think on.
Here are some of the sessions that I attended.
Manto and Partition
The first session that I attended was on Manto by historian Ayesha Jalal and it was moderated by M.R.Kazimi. After introductions, Mr. Kazimi spoke at length that made me yawn but I tried to keep up as much as possible. When Ayesha Jalal herself took the podium, the real fun began. I never read Manto but heard a lot about it and hearing about his life from AJ was a treat. Some of the cheeky statements made me laugh, such as:
“Manto was a heavy drinker, he became alcoholic after coming to Pakistan”
“Manto never fell for Ismat Chughtai, his wife did”
The perspective was new and gave a lot of insight into Manto’s life before and after partition. Continue reading
Some time ago my good friend Hifzah virtually browbeat me into “Like”ing a Page on Facebook, called Kachee Goliyan. It was recently created and one of its creators, Ramish Safa, used to be her student. When I checked it out I groaned,
“Not another cartoonist-wannabee”
It wasn’t anything against Kachee Goliyan or its concept creators. I was a fan of Jay’s Toons, especially because of its “Jinnah Returns To Pakistan” Stick-figures comics that starred none other than founder of the nation, Mohammed Ali Jinnah. Later on I felt that the comics are not in the direction they should be and losing their touch. More than that, a few wanna-bee cartoonists started making comics just to garner similar fame that Jay’s Toons did and failed miserably; I thought K.G was another of the Wannabees. Continue reading
I survived TEDxKarachi. Not because of any bomb blast or Imran Khan’s speech (to me one politician is just like any another politician but the philanthropist Imran Khan is highly respectful personality for me) but the fact that I volunteered for the event despite strong fever, saw it to the end … I consider myself a proud survivor who was part of the TED factor.
It was a surprise for me when I received email that I was selected as a volunteer and reported on 26th at the venue for introduction and instructions. I received TEDxKarachi T-shirt with a “Made in Pakistan” tag and got the chance to hear Fasi Zaka, Dr. Quratulaine Bakhteari, Sarmad Tariq and Noori rehearsing before I returned home. Continue reading
I had the good fortune of visiting Dawn Lifestyle exhibition at Expo Center Karachi this year. The last I visited this exhibition was back in 2006 when I was a volunteer to organize and manage the exhibition. Handling thousands of people daily for 3 consecutive days was enough motivation for me to not visit again for these past years, but the launch of Ash Lamour forced the lazy me to step out from my comfort zone and enter the hustle and bustle of Dawn Lifestyle. Continue reading