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Editor Shehab Farrukh Niazi Finance Ahad Wazir Art Directors Aleeza Javed Mahnoor Haroon Niazi Operations & Outreach Abbas Khan

EDITOR’S NOTE As Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnab said, “No struggle can ever succeed without women participating side by side with men.” Women are an important part of society – we talk to a few incredible ladies working in multiple walks of life and excelling. Khadijah Shah, the Founder and Creative Director of Elan and her newly established brand Zaha, Ela talks about succeeding in the business of fashion and on building household brand names. Madiha Parvez is an ecosystem veteran, currently Manager Corporate Innovation at Telenor Pakistan talks about the newly launched thematic accelerator program for agri-tech startups by Telenor Velocity – a first in Pakistan. Faiza Yousaf is an ace community builder who talks about the benefits businesses and community builders can reap and impart through Facebook groups. Mentor and trainer, Furqan Qureshi has worked with multiple startups and entrepreneurs and breaks down the importance of unlearning and learning for startups if they want to succeed at innovation. What is impact and how does one measure it? This is an all-important question for social enterprises and impact investors – we offer some insight on the subject. All this and more in our latest issue! Happy Reading!






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FEATURING “Success is not limited to just a commercial return, but a sense of your ideas being so well received and celebrated so as to start a trend” On Succeeding in the Business of Fashion

Cover Story

“We are learning from our members every day and this agility has given us the ability to support and create a stronger network of members and allies”

Faiza Yousuf The Future of Communities

“Dream, Build, Rise is all about innovation – this term is widely misunderstood”

Furqan Qureshi Unlearn & Learn

“For our thematic cohort of agriculture, startups with the most relevant solutions will be offered partnership opportunities with Telenor Pakistan”

Madiha Parvez On Launching the first of its kind Thematic Accelerator Program

Madiha Parvez On Launching the first of its kind Thematic Accelerator Program

Tell us about yourself and your background. While growing up, my mother was an inspiration to me. She was a senior executive at the Ministry of Science and Technology. I admired the confidence and the aura she carried when she sat behind that big desk. I always imagined myself doing the same. I remember I used to mimic her behavior at home, while playing make-belief games (this one called office o office), where I acted the part of a big boss, ordering away my younger siblings (and they did exactly what I told them to do!). My mother always instructed that hard work and perseverance are the most important ingredients to any kind of success. While working at easypaisa back in 2010, I got an opportunity to create innovative financial products and services. I witnessed a revolutionizing impact and empowering people through technologically driven and low cost financial services. The customer journey of the product was a major innovation. This inspired me to further learn about disruptive innovation and entrepreneurship. I disrupt applied for a Fulbright Scholarship. Taking the GRE exam seemed like a nightmare, but eventually I made it. During my two-year stay in the U.S, I was first exposed to the startup culture. It was an exhilarating experience to learn from entrepreneurs, investors and industry experts. I also worked wor as a coach to health related startups. Upon my return to Pakistan, I wanted to fill the gaps and build an effective entrepreneurial ecosystem. I joined an educational institute and established Takhleeq, a state-of-the-art incubation facility, where startups solve Pakistan’s local problems by devising innovative technological solutions. At the same time, I co-founded DEMO, along with my partner, where we provided consultancy, training services and research in impact-driven verticals such as innovation, entrepreneurship, skills development technology and communications. Currently I am heading Corporate Innovation at Telenor Pakistan, where I look after the Digital Accelerator, Velocity, and I am also spearheading an initiative whereby we foster otut-of-the-box thinking by setting up programs to jumpstart creativity amongst employees.

Having worked in the entrepreneurial ecosystem for a while, what are your thoughts on the current landscape? The entrepreneurial ecosystem in Pakistan was given a tremendous boost a few years ago with the emergence of National Incubation Centers, across the country. There are 22 incubators and accelerators educating, supporting and guiding entrepreneurs. Private institutions, giving exposure and institution networking opportunities, hold many startup events and competitions. Over the past few years, an increase in smartphone usage and Internet penetration has opened up tremendous opportunities for startups. A decade ago, an average Pakistani wouldn’t have thought of using an app to order food or making an online purchase on a Nokia device. The increase in digital penetration assures achieving scalability for a startup, which is a critical component for an investor to examine before making an investment. be The demographics of our country play an instrumental role in economic growth. 61.4% of Pakistan’s 200 million population falls in the working age group, and about half of this group is below 30 years of age. Many students and fresh graduates are pursuing startups of their own, hence considering entrepreneurship ent as a viable career option. I have always believed that the word problem is synonymous with opportunity when it comes to startups. That said, there is an immense opportunity in the agriculture sector, where startups can offer innovative solutions to the problems Pakistan is facing.

In your opinion, what are some key elements we need in the ecosystem in order to increase the success rates of our startups? Fostering a conducive startup ecosystem entails a harmonious working relation of key stakeholders; the government, academia, and industry. This is seen in top notch entrepreneurial ecosystems around the world with some of the highest number of startups per capita. In order to achieve this, these governments ensure tax cuts; thi promote high tech incubator programs, which are more than just real estate deals and a strong venture capital industry. In Pakistan, the startup ecosystem really needs improved policies and procedures

On the other hand, founders also need to assess the validity of their business model and must keep an eye on any changes in the business environment that may indicate a strategy pivot and identify new growth to tap into. Startups may evaluate any acquisition opportunities, leading to identification of o adjacent opportunities faster than trying out the organic investment route. Startups may also consider selling their companies to larger players who can give them the funds in terms of technology infusion. However, with the right strategy and a focused approach to products and markets, there is approa no reason why existing entrepreneurial companies cannot add scope and scale to their operations and new and scaling companies show success and raise the level of their ambition. It can and must happen!

Through our Digital Accelerator, we have our finger on the pulse and work closely with entrepreneurs; they feed off of the innovative culture and spirit of our accelerator. Robust ideas sprouting from this platform become the foundation of co-creating future digital services/products.

Pakistan’s platform/digital assets and enhancing customer experience through innovative offerings. For our cohort, we actively seek startups that can add value to our existing 6 million+ Khushaal Zamindar user base in addition to creating engagement on mAgri services. By the end of the program, startups with the most relevant pr solutions, aligned with mAgri’s strategic objectives will be offered partnership and revenue sharing opportunities.

I always al wanted to design a startup programme around thematics, since I believe a lot of synergies can be created within the same cohort. Through the agri-tech programme, our main objective is to convince the next start-up generation to scale their service offering by utilizing Telenor

I am also excited to announce that no equity will be taken from the startups. We will help them scale their innovative offerings through our digital assets and providing access to our digital and GSM customers. This is an open innovation initiative and we encourage startups to create, experiment and pivot.

Telenor Velocity has recently launched the first agri-tech program for startups in Pakistan. Tell us more.

Given that we’re an agrarian economy, how important do you think it is for entrepreneurs to work on ideas that merge agriculture and technology? Agriculture is the largest sector of Pakistan’s economy with a majority of the population being directly or indirectly dependent on this sector. It contributes over 20% to Pakistan’s GDP with over 40% of the labor force involved and with such scale of involvement, this sector has a huge opportunity for increased contribution towards the national economic contri progress. I can’t emphasize enough the significance of technology in this field, as I believe it is through technology we can offer scale; can increase customer engagement and offer products and services at a lower cost. Technology also helps in designing better products as it provides pr actionable insights, provides personalized guidance (IoT) mapping lands (using Drones) and digital satellite images, providing personalized information.

“For our thematic cohort of agriculture, startups with the most relevant solutions will be offered partnership opportunities with Telenor Pakistan” What are you currently excited about for the future? For our thematic cohort of agriculture, startups with the most relevant solutions will be offered partnership opportunities with Telenor Pakistan. This is first of its kind proposition. We are also working towards building other thematic verticals for our Accelerator around exciting digital initiatives, such as gaming, content and fin-tech. su

SOCIAL INNOVATION “Socia innovation is the process “Social of developing and deploying effective solutions to challenging and often systemic social and environmental issues in support of social progress. Social innovation is not the prerogative or privilege of any organizational form or legal structure. Solutions often require the active collaboration of constituents across government, business, and the nonprofit world. A social innovator may be an employee in a company, part of a government organisation, or a participant in a hack-a-thon. Furthermore, social innovators tend to use the structure of open innovation. Social Innovations do not necessarily have a business model or financial sustainability” SOCIAL ENTERPRISE Socia entrepreneurs are driven Social by two factors – the purpose and the business. In an interesting debate, the issue of intentionality was very important. A social enterprise MUST have the purpose as part of its mission and strategy. (i.e a businesses creating social (i. impact, are not considered a social enterprise if the purpose was not clearly stated at the onset of the business). Both Purpose and Profits must be measured and reported regularly.

Measuring Impact- Is it really necessary? For the past few years, social entrepreneurship has become a path of choice for many entrepreneurs who are passionate about bringing about a change and creating impact. More often than not, entrepreneurs are relying on using anecdotes or proprietary metrics to describe the impact they are creating. The describ very essence of social entrepreneurship lies in making positive impact, but how can we be sure that positive impact has indeed been created? And created in a way that is cost efficient? Are social enterprises the only enterprises that create a “social” impact? impact Can you really Measure Impact? Whether it’s for entrepreneurs or investors, everyone agrees that measuring impact is important to gauge if the social, environmental and financial targets are being met effectively. Unfortunately, there is yet no ONE agreed upon system for measuring that Impact. The most common Impact measurement systems in use currently by Impact Investors include the us Social Audit Network (SAN), Logic Models and Social Return on Investment (SROI). After using these and other metrics over the years, impact investors and social entrepreneurs acknowledge that a one size fits all is not effective. Keeping this in mind, GIIN (Global Impact Investing Network) has created one of the most holistic Network

standardized measurement metrics for measuring impact effectively, called the IRIS. The IRIS catalog of generally accepted performance metrics, are used by leading impact investors to measure social, environmental, and financial success, evaluate deals, and grow the sector’s credibility. The IRIS catalog currently consists of 400 generally accepted performance metrics, which acc can help create a strong Impact measurement plan. However, metrics on their own are not enough. It is important to understand that in order to truly measure impact, one must understand the entire impact value chain, what needs to be measured and why.

Source: https://360impact.ch/en/sdgs-and-impact/

Master Brand Builder

Khadijah Shah

On Succeeding in the Business of Fashion “Success is not limited to just a commercial return, but a sense of your ideas being so well received and celebrated so as to start a trend�

You have built and transformed various fashion brands. In your view, what are the most important aspects for building and sustaining a brand? I feel to build any fashion brand the foundation should be based on a clear fashion philosophy. It also has to be a very balanced mix of aesthetic and business. Once you have that established, you can incorporate trends as and when needed. I have always infused my inherent fashion sense into every brand I've launched and thankfully, so far it has been very well received. What is your take on the fashion business landscape of Pakistan? With a very young and vibrant population, I feel the business of fashion can only grow and prosper in Pakistan. However, the customer is very discerning, as they are now very clued into global trends, so brands must remain current. Wh do you think it takes to succeed in the What business of fashion in Pakistan? You have to be able to marry your ideas and fashion philosophy to a clear sense of business direction. In this sense, you have to develop a very sound marketing strategy. The best of products can escape recognition if presentation is poor. Hence, design is as important as packaging. For a design house particularly, you have to have a clear vision pa and strategy to translate that into a solid product. Business of fashion involves introduction and selling of ideas, not necessarily completely new, but definitely freshly executed. Sustainability remains another cornerstone in this business. You cannot be a flash in the pan phenomenon, hence a long term business plan must be in place with an intent to stay the course.

Tell us about Zaha. Where did the idea originate and what is your vision for the brand? As you know I had already helped launch a high street brand in conjunction with Sapphire Group, which had become a household name within a short time. Unfortunately my partnership in that venture ended, but it gave me the impetus to venture into and realize my original dream. dr The name Zaha was clubbed together based on the first two syllables of the names of my two sons as well as my daughter’s middle name. The Zaha philosophy is based on incorporating a playful young vibe while following current trends. The label ostensibly will cater to a much wider range of customers and offer them a taste of high fashion at high street prices. Eventually, I would like to add accessories, kids and home goods to our repertoire, thus offering a complete lifestyle experience. In your view, what is the secret for establishing a customer base and gaining customer loyalty? Customer base and loyalty l both are dependent on consistent quality and being able to gauge the market sentiment. In our case, it is also being able to present consistently avant-garde trends, which satisfy the needs of our discerning clientele. What does success mean to you? Succes first and foremost means a deep Success, sense of satisfaction. This success is not limited to just a commercial return, but a sense of your ideas being so well received and celebrated so as to start a trend. On so many occasions Élan has started trends, which were hitherto missing on the local fashion scene. scen In bridals, we made a shift to use of pastels as opposed to the traditional

red or deep shade bridals – a shift that then became a trend. The feeling that I have been able to translate my ideas into reality and that reality is being acknowledged widely is very uplifting. What would be your message to aspiring women entrepreneurs? My message mess is to believe in yourself and persevere. Also, never be afraid of change and movement. Look beyond the safest point towards something challenging and you won’t be disappointed. The road to success is steep and full of obstacles. However true talent will always find a way to overcome these hindrances. ov

FURQAN QURESHI UNLEARN & LEARN Startups on the Path of Innovation

Every week a tall, grey haired individual walks in at the NIC in Islamabad. One wondered what he is doing at a place full of millennials in a fast pace environment. We decided to catch up with him and find out.


with Startups As a Mentor in Residence at the NIC, I indulge in training, coaching and mentoring the startups. I conduct trainings on design thinking, business model generation, value proposition design, selling skills and pitching. Selling and pitching being a crucial skill as it is the key for any startups to learn how to represent itself sta to their audience. Working with the Community Manager, Cynia Ejaz, we have been working on developing a totally customized curriculum for startups in Pakistan. We have done extensive research with startups to gauge their needs and requirements; the skills they need consider important. From people who run incubators to other stakeholders and startups, we have taken into account their feedback. Done an in depth review of, why startups fail and succeed, both in Pakistan and globally. This is probably the first NIC and possibly the first incubation firs facility, in Pakistan to have a totally customized curriculum for startups. As we speak, we are prototyping the curriculum with the 4th cohort at the NIC.

“Dream, Build, Rise is all about innovation – this term is widely misunderstood�

Mentoring and Coaching

Idea to Execution There are ideas galore out there, the key is in execution. At the end of the day, a startup is a startup for a short time, eventually it becomes a business entity. You need plenty of business acumen and strong domain knowledge of the industry sector to run a business successfully, and this acumen comes from running a business or from having worked in a corporate busines environment. Transferring that skill to the startups is the goal. I keep reminding startups that the only way for them to make their startup go big is to Think Big, Think Global. In order to adopt that mindset, startups need mentoring and coaching, to open them up to new ideas, possibly pivot, improve their business models and sell their value proposition. With training, mentoring and coaching, the objective is to not only develop startups’ business and technical prowess, but also to equip them with the skills they need to become better human beings, because eventually, that influences the way they conduct themselves in influence business.

Startups do need plenty of mentoring and coaching. Most founders of startups are from non-business backgrounds and need to learn about building their business models; how to look at the potential market for their business and how to sell their product. A lot of them request time for coaching and mentoring. Training doesn’t solve the problem completely and founders need to be equipped completel with the right skillset to transform their startups into successful businesses. For this, mentoring and coaching is the answer. The key to mentoring, as a mentor, is to take ownership of the startup with the goal to evolve a mindset – changing an existing mindset to developing a new one. Coaching is like changing a skill or developing a new one. Both are important for startups, depending on their unique set of needs.

Innovation: The Driver Dream, Build, Rise is all about innovation – this term is widely misunderstood. Innovation is about change. What we have been doing in this country for a very long time is not innovate, we’re doing renovate – we’re patching up ideas as products at the startups. It is not the product or service innovation that causes disruption in the market, itit’s the business model innovation that creates disruption. The rate at which technology and the world is changing, innovation is the only way to survive. It’s all about survival of the fastest – if you innovate fast, you survive. But is it enough to just survive? We don’t want startups to just survive. We want them to grow, scale and thrive – every startup needs to understand that innovation is sta the lifeline, change is the only constant. The path is not linear and sustainable, it’s iterative and transient. Hence, if they want to succeed, they have to adapt constantly – learn, unlearn, relearn, unlearn, relearn.

13th April, 2019


approach to new ventures. It was the first book to offer that startups are not smaller versions of large companies and that new ventures are different than existing ones. Startups search for business models while existing companies execute them. The book offers the practical and proven four-step Customer Development process for search and offers insight into what makes some startups searc successful and leaves others selling off their furniture. Rather than blindly execute a plan, The Four Steps helps uncover flaws in product and business plans and correct them before they become costly. Rapid iteration, customer feedback, testing your assumptions are all explained in this book.  Packe with concrete examples of what to do, how to do Packed it and when to do it, the book will leave you with new skills to organize sales, marketing and your business for success.  If your organization is starting a new venture, and you’re thinking how to successfully organize sales, marketing and business development you need The Four Steps to the Epiphany.

Why is there a naysayer within? How can we avoid the roadblocks of any creative endeavor—be it starting up a dream business venture, writing a novel, or painting a masterpiece? Bestsellin novelist Steven Pressfield identifies Bestselling the enemy that every one of us must face, outlines a battle plan to conquer this internal foe, then pinpoints just how to achieve the greatest success. Th War of Art emphasizes the resolve needed The to recognize and overcome the obstacles of ambition and then effectively shows how to reach the highest level of creative discipline. Think of it as tough love . . . for yourself. Whethe an artist, writer or business person, Whether this simple, personal, and no-nonsense book will inspire you to seize the potential of your life.

suffer. Bad decisions at the inception of a promising venture lay the foundations for its eventual ruin. The Founder’s Dilemmas is the first book to examine the early decisions by entrepreneurs that can make or break a startup and its team. Drawin on a decade of research, Noam Wasserman Drawing reveals the common pitfalls founders face and how to avoid them. He looks at whether it is a good idea to cofound with friends or relatives, how and when to split the equity within the founding team, and how to recognize when a successful founder-CEO should exit or be fired. Wasserman explains how to anticipate, avoid, or recover from disastrous mistakes that can splinter a founding team, strip founders of control, and leave founders without a financial payoff for their hard work and innovative ideas. He highlights the need at each step to strike a careful balance between controlling the startup and attracting the best resources to grow it, and demonstrates why the easy short-term choice is often the most perilous in the long term. th The Founder’s Dilemmas draws on the inside stories of founders like Evan Williams of Twitter and Tim Westergren of Pandora, while mining quantitative data on almost ten thousand founders.

Profile for Startup Guide

Startup Guide Issue 6  

In our sixth issue, we talk to the master brand builder, Khadijah Shah of Élan and Zaha. The serial entrepreneur was behind turning around S...

Startup Guide Issue 6  

In our sixth issue, we talk to the master brand builder, Khadijah Shah of Élan and Zaha. The serial entrepreneur was behind turning around S...