So let's talk about the recent startup explosion to hit Pakistan.
Having spent the majority of my early working years in the banking industry this has been a substantial shift in career for me. From being a tiny little spec in multinational financial corporations I am now managing a business from start to end. For me personally, it’s been a much-needed positive shift. The feeling of creating something and helping it grow and seeing the business evolve with each passing day fulfills my soul like no other.
My first inspiration has to be the founder of the startup I work for i.e. Secret Stash. Her vision to build on her idea and create something that doesn’t exist in the Pakistani market is admirable. As a woman in Pakistan, I think we all know, its no easy task starting a business, and more importantly, building it into a household brand. This is a task, I believe, Nazish has managed to fulfill through years of unwavering perseverance, resilience and hard work. A quality necessary for anyone who is planning on building something from the ground up!
My second inspiration would have to be the Pakistan startup ecosystem. Pakistan has built the startup ecosystem from scratch regardless of the adverse political struggles and our ever-devaluing currency. As a nation, we have managed to encourage and inspire the youth of this country (which is our majority) into feeling safe to take steps toward building phenomenal businesses from scratch. We have startups using AI and AR technology in the health, education and developments sectors and then we have startups building e-commerce, ticketing, and sanitation platforms. The wave of young entrepreneurs, especially those focused on creating social enterprises has been an inspiration.
In all these developments, Nest I/O has been a supportive facilitator for all those eager to enter the startup ecosystem as well as for those already involved in it. The Nest’s latest venture 021Distrupt has managed to provide a platform for educating and engaging young prospective entrepreneurs, investors from across the globe, and industry specialists. The platform brought together a myriad of professions who were able to provide a wealth of information and lessons learned from their experiences. For me personally, some of the most inspiring content came from the panel discussions that were held. It gave us an opportunity to hear each industry specialist’s point of view and projection for where they think the market is headed.
From Paul Papadimitriou reminding us to love our customer not just our idea, to a panel discussion making us aware of the importance of having a co-founder, to Saba Gul giving us tips from her own experience of building her startup. During the panel discussion on relevant digital content creation we got the opportunity to hear the viewpoints from the likes of Mahira Khan on her latest venture ‘Mashion’ and during the panel discussion on the importance of social enterprises and how impact and profit go hand in hand we were blown away by Samar Hasan, the co-founder of ‘Epiphany’ and her passion for bringing about positive change in enterprise, finance, and governance! We heard about the future of wireless innovation, got a wealth of investor pitch tips and heard live pitches from aspiring entrepreneurs looking for investment. All in all, I’m going to have to say the event was called Disrupt for a very good reason!
A recurring theme of the event seemed to be the rise of the female market as well as the focus on female entrepreneurs. We here at Secret Stash are a female-led start-up (which is not to say we discriminate against men in any way) and cater mainly to the female market. So here’s to the women of Pakistan and to Nest I/O for providing this wonderful platform to us!
Written by: Mesha Sayeed (In-house startup newbie and counselor in the making)
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