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When the Going Gets Tough..

by Asma Abbas Mirza April 25th, 2016


Pakistani Entrepreneurs Share What Keeps Them Motivated in Tough Times

“Failure is success in progress” remarked the renowned Father of Physics, Albert Einstein. Have we ever cared to wonder that the awe-inspiring mind behind the smartphones we carry today or the MacBook, Steve Jobs, dropped out of college? In fact, he was even kicked out of his own company. We all may have a dispositional inclination towards enshrining such eminent entrepreneurs as legendary, but we tend to neglect the fact that they too went through highs and lows in the corporate arena. Their graphs of entrepreneurial success too witnessed steep dips through their lifecycles. And the existence of these negative gradients is precisely why these entrepreneurs learned to pick themselves up, to not fear failure but conquer it, to continue with unflinching conviction and to become the celebrated business magnates they are today!

We see tons of motivational quotes from Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, and they are all amazing (no doubts here) but those are not the only great minds. We have immense talent right around us and that deserves to be highlighted as well. So one day I decided to ask a very important question on one of the startup forums, As an entrepreneur, when you come across a moment of decline or find yourself in a dark place, what brings you back? How do you motivate yourself?

I got many answers but realized that somewhat their essence was the same. The answers could be condensed to form one solution to the entrepreneurial problem. Some of the responses I collected are as follows:

I read books. This time, first 140 pages of ‘The Hard Thing about Hard Things’ helped me”. Madeeha Hassan, CEO Savaree.

Of course, all entrepreneurs face rough patches in the lifecycle of their brainchild, but keeping staunch faith is the key to survival! We came across a particularly elaborate response from the Chairman and CTO of Soloinsight, Farhan Masood.

When I founded my startup with zero capital and no background but just a dream to build a globally significant company out of Pakistan specializing in our own facial recognition systems and the whole world of Internet of People around it, I was declared a maniac and crazy… I was never taken seriously… Everyone laughed but no one helped… I was told the companies who were working on such things were 1) Jewish and 2) have hundreds of millions of dollars as grants and funding. 3) Fingerprint systems had already taken over the world by storm and even if I did succeed in building such technologies which one doesn’t even can find a book or a research paper on, I was way too late to enter and won’t be able to make any difference… I am glad I did not listen to any of the naysayers… I am glad that they did not help me and with persistence I proved them wrong… Today I have a company that is spread across 3 continents… Our 3D Facial + Iris + Palm Vein recognition technology is well received in United States… We have raised a $3 Million seed round and we are on a path to become a globally significant company…”.
Aptly put, even if an entrepreneurial journey witnesses obstruction or any sort of degradation, the conviction to not let your brainchild die, the conviction to push harder and have unending faith would aid you in overcoming that decline but this may only seem plausible if your heart is where your work is, as passion is the sole fuel that drives the vehicle of success.

Another essential tool for success is positive energy and its rightful directional radiation. Furqan Ahmed of elucidates the notion stating, “The only thing that ever lift me up when I’m down and in despair is a walk among other entrepreneurs, understanding their issue and help others while I can. Helping others is the best source of positive energy for me; it works like a charm.

Where some entrepreneurs believe that positive energy and confidence boost equip them adequately to combat the moments of pitfall and decline, others have taken on an entirely different approach on the matter. For them it’s the force of negativity and criticism that strengthens the fibres of their motivation and makes them believe that they have to strive to be the best because the laws of nature only allow the survival of the fittest!

The founder and CEO of Daastan, Syed Ommer Amer says, “The negative feedback and the mockery of the people drives my passion. At one point where it breaks me from inside, it also makes me furiously mad and determined to actually prove myself and shut the mouths of those who ridiculed me. To put it simply, I channel the negative feedback to drive my passion to unlock the hidden potential within myself. By the Grace of Lord, I have always overcome adversity with my resilience and my every achievement, be it of national or international level, has enable me to inspire people and prove the worth of my idea.

Irtaza Ahmed Qureshi, Founder of JaldiSe, also has to offer something on the matter. “I always listen to the translation of Quranic Verses and then listening to some related industry companies story which inspires and motivate me to be great and perform best and bring a best possible outcome. Best part for inspiring myself is that I am hoping for more work from some new and different clients”.

Similar stories came our way when budding entrepreneurs shared their diverse range of pitfalls and the sort of lessons that were learned as an outcome! Asad Memon of Remote Interview adds to the list, “Most startups die from suicide, not murder. Founders should realize that it is supposed to be like that; a rollercoaster ride. The Zuckerburg-like stories they enjoy reading everyday are only blinding them more. The only thing to do is make any little progress they can and live through it. For us, it’s just getting one more user”.

Some entrepreneurs have various mottos or mantras that they religiously follow and believe in. They deem that these mantras or mottos work like a charm for anyone facing a daunting plight. For instance, Sana Khalid (CEO of Minerva) says, “I think entrepreneurs are driven by challenges. A problem or challenge is all the more reason to do better”. Faizan Chughtai, who is the Director Software Solutions – Vexellum Pvt. Ltd, adds, “There is no hard line for everyone to follow for motivation. For me, every morning I say to myself in the mirror. “Is this how I want to see myself tomorrow?” That gives me enough juice to keep going”!

Hence, it is inevitably clear that almost all entrepreneurs follow a particular element of entrepreneurial fuel to aid them in driving onto the road that leads to success. These motivational drivers are exactly what shall turn these startups into huge corporate businesses, if followed with diligence. They may seemingly sketch a canvas of an array of mantras but in the end if condensed, the essence of it all is the same!

Here’s ending this long piece with a light note from Muhammad Shariq, CEO of Taplando: “For me, its food, as a temporary fix. Gets me out of the dark state, makes me feel better and clears my head. It’s like a mental reset button. That’s all I need to refocus. Also, recalibrating”.


LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship welcomes its second batch to The Foundation Incubator

by Farwa Mahmood November 22nd, 2014




After a tough competition between startups scouted fromall overPakistan, 8 teams are selected as the second batch at The Foundation


Lahore: The Foundation Business Incubator at LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship has recently completed the scouting and induction process for its second batch of startups.

The new batch, as usual, was open for aspiring entrepreneurs from all over Pakistan. Over 35 short-listed startups were considered for incubation or acceleration at the Foundation and about half were presented to the illustrious Foundation Council for final selection. The selection involved founder interviews and evaluation of the business models by leading entrepreneurs and businessmen of the country.

With the new batch, a few changes have also been introduced based on the feedback from the first batch of entrepreneurs. The program is now following a weekly theme of topics, objectives and activities. For the first two weeks, the startups completed an intense Entrepreneurship Development Program which gave these startups a much-needed initial boost. Following this has started the regular program with weekly milestones, sessions by mentors and other activities.

This time around, five startups have been inducted in the incubation program and three start-ups have been selected for the accelerator program. The incubated startups include, H&O Solutions which is a one-stop shop for home maintenance and repair services. AutoGenie offers auto maintenance service at doorstep or nearest workshop. P for Plan is a comprehensive marketplace that connects individuals, event planners to venues by procuring event management related services. Scontly is a discount-based, hyper-local, digital marketing solution for businesses and Jewelry Design Pro is an online marketplace for trading digital downloadable designs of jewelry. Among the three accelerated startups, Fictive Labs offers smart home solutions that bring the control and management of electric appliances in homes at the consumers’ finger tips through their mobile phones; Appify Systems offers ease of browsing and ordering food online, food delivery services and customer order tracking; and A.H Paper Products provides recycled paper and packaging solutions for businesses.

Talking about the second batch, Khurram Zafar, the Executive Director of LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship said “There was a lot of IT focus in our first batch and I am pleased to see the startups and entrepreneurs are choosing to diversify into other sectors also. Seven out of the eight businesses from first batch are operational and several are negotiating with investors for funding. We have similar high hopes from our second batch as well.”

The second batch is due to graduate in February, 2015 with a coinciding investors summit as before.



LUMS introduces the first batch of The Foundation incubator at LUMS Center of Entrepreneurship

by Rafaeel Akbar Chaudhry June 20th, 2014

LCELUMS Center for Entrepreneurship, recently inaugurated by Pakistan’s leading businessmen, including Syed Babar Ali and Mr. Abdul Razzak Dawood, has already inducted its first batch of startups into The Foundation business incubator.

LUMS, the nation’s most prestigious higher education institution, built the Center for Entrepreneurship with the vision to make it the largest breeding ground for sustainable, high-growth and high-impact businesses in Pakistan.

The management of the center, headed by Mr. Khurram Zafar, an entrepreneur himself, as well as an independent council of leading entrepreneurs of the country scout for promising upstart businesses all over Pakistan and inducts the most promising ones into this four month program. The Foundation offers co-working space, utilities, internet, and other administrative support to the startups as well as access to a network of world-class mentors, business leaders and investors who guide and groom these young, passionate entrepreneurs. The center is also collaborating with investors to put together a seed stage investment fund for the startups as well as collaborate with business center developers to offer subsidized office space to the graduates of the Foundation program.

The teams that have been inducted as the first batch of The Foundation includes, Cognitica which develops augmented reality based mobile and marketing solutions. Beed, based on research done at LUMS, this team is working on making all broadcast content interactive with the aid of smart phones. Savaree, this company is building a trust-based, ride share social network that allows drivers to monetize the free passenger seats in their cars by posting routes and connecting with riders that share that route. Bugdev Studios, a team of very passionate mobile game developers and designers that build and publish creative, fun, action-packed games that make people think, feel and enjoy.

Other start-ups include BizClout, a one-stop solution to fully e-commerce enable SMEs with-in 15 minutes using a proprietary content management and ecommerce platform. The company offers value-added products to promote and market these online brands as well. MARO, oven baked bread (tandoori Roti and Naan) is one of the most commonly consumed food item in Pakistan and MARO aims to setup a network of ‘Tandoors’ that provide healthy bread and an immaculate consumer experience at the same price as traditional ‘Tandoors’. Appography, the company aims to improve the customer experience by introducing a visual navigation IVR (Interactive Voice Response), in a clutter-free, simplified and more consumable manner on customer smart phones.

Speaking about the Center, the Executive Director, Mr. Khurram Zafar said “Entrepreneurship is the future of our country and LCE aims to scout the best entrepreneurs from all over Pakistan and provide them everything they need to succeed and turn their dreams into realities.”

The Foundation is one of the many innovative projects under the LCE banner with other centers in progress such as the Skills Commercialization Centre and a Corporate Innovation Center amongst others.



Blue, Red, Yellow, Green

by Samar Haider September 13th, 2013


Last Sunday, as most of LUMS either enjoyed its day off or spent the morning – and half the day – catching up on some much-needed sleep, SSE brimmed with activity from early in the morning to well after sundown.

The wheat-and-rust facade of the Syed Babar Ali School of Sciences and Engineering, or SSE as it is commonly called, is the first building that swings into view as you pull up to the university’s iron gates. A towering structure, it stands serenely against the azure morning sky. The calm in the early morning breeze did not carry itself inside the building though; in a few minutes, the much awaited Google DevFest Lahore Conference would soon begin, and there was much to look forward to in the rest of the day. 2

Past the pane-less glass entrance to the School, Luminites sporting lanyards around their necks and wearing the stylized chevron symbol T-shirts hurried about, registering attendees and guiding them about the building. Since it was nine in the morning, a cosy tea room had been set up in the Computer Science department to give the guests a few crucial minutes to drink up and anchor their eyelids safely to the top of their sockets. Once the conference began, however, we soon realized that this was not needed at all.

Room 301, where the action was to go down, looked, to put it simply, very Google-y. And by that, I mean absolutely gorgeous. The carpeted, stepped classroom was decorated in Google’s signature colours; LED strips lined the matrix of six sliding chalkboards (on which were pinned the aforementioned T-shirts); balloons had been moored to the panes of the windows on either side of the room; bright ribbons had been painstakingly tied around each seat’s backrest; spotlights washed the rear wall with multi-coloured light; and around the room were plastered logos of the search engine giant’s many products and services. Soon after we settled into our seats, the microphone crackled to life and, after an intro to the event, its proceedings, and its rules & regulations, the different sessions planned throughout the day kicked off in order. 3

Sarmad Gilani and Madiha Chan, two Googlers joined us all the way from Mountain View for a Hangout in separate sessions to discuss Google’s powerful yet highly flexible App Engine and creating Android apps, respectively. Sarmad, after announcing how dearly he misses Pakistani food, went on to educate the audience on the many aspects of App Engine, detailing its enticing features and giving examples of famous products that utilize the service. Madiha talked about the basics of Android app development and, following some confusion with the slideshow, effortlessly adlibbed on and taught the audience all they needed to know to kick-start their Android development endeavours.

To teach us some more about Android and its highly customizable nature, Faryaab Sheikh, a young Android pro, ran a quick video tutorial of his own making on creating Custom ROMs for the OS. Currently an O Level student, Faryaab has been tinkering with Android devices for over three years now and is a recognized developer and contributor at XDA Developers, one of the world’s largest mobile software development communities. With numerous successful Custom ROMs to his name and hundreds of thousands of downloads under his belt, Faryaab is the perfect example of how you don’t need to wait for college and Computer Science courses to start working on Android devices. 4

Another whiz-kid, Salman Hijazi, an energetic and articulate freelancer from Islamabad, shed light on the underrated profession of freelancing and its increasing relevance in creative fields. A Computer Science junior at FAST-NU, Salman first stepped into the world of online freelancing over five years ago and has since racked up a stellar record on many websites, most recently on Elance – his preferred choice, of which he is the official representative in Pakistan. His secret: an ability to write catchy project proposals.

The half before lunch break ended on a sombre albeit intriguing note: hacking and mobile security. Battling a sore throat and the visibly decreased attention spans of the audience, Hassun Mujeeb, a network security expert, after receiving an unexpected round of applause upon revealing his profession as a hacker, explained how hackers break into apps and where the Cloud – a popular model for mobile systems – comes into all of this. A white hat with a wiry build and ponytail, he clearly looked the part, and answered some participants’ queries about protecting their online presence with a few simple measures, the best being a swift removal of any plugins/widgets/addons that are not absolutely essential.

With strong winds whipping our tags around, we made our way towards LUMS’ Pepsi Dining Centre, while the overcast sky above showed clear signs of an impending downpour. And sure enough, after lunch (which was a splendid affair in itself), the sky was pouring hard, drenching the entire campus and leaving it looking even more beautiful than before. A short dash back to SSE, skipping across puddles with our heads held down, and we were brushing off water droplets and settling down for the second half of the conference to commence. 5

Goodie time. It was that time of the day when a few lucky chaps from the crowd got to claim some of the mysterious colourful boxes stacked on the table since morning. Correct answers to questions, both trivial and not-so-trivial, were rewarded with Google goodies. Even those who couldn’t manage to raise their hands in time for Q&A had their chance at winning one. The catch: they had to be the youngest in the room, or the oldest, or the owner of the worst phone. Despite disassembling my phone to qualify for the last of the three, I was told that my humble Nokia needed to be even more bashed up to warrant a prize. The fun activity played its part in picking up the energy level in the room, and soon the conference got back to business.

In a room filled with code-wielding developers, usability of a product is barely talked of. Ahmed Shuja, himself a pre-Y2K era COBOL developer, was there to set the balance straight. Dismayed by how inconvenient programs were to use, Ahmed switched over to the user experience side of things, and has founded his very own design firm in the process. After clarifying the much argued upon difference between UI and UX, he schooled the audience on good design practices and answered some questions that trouble designers in the industry. His golden piece of advice: follow the conventional design guidelines for the OS you’re targeting and keep it simple.

6 Nelson Mattos, Vice President of Engineering – EMEA Region of Google, was the chief guest of the event. Having touched down in Pakistan only a few hours before, this was his first time in the country and he was as thrilled to be among us as we were to host him. He briefed the audience on Google’s many programs being carried out in developing markets, which included Google Student Ambassadors and Google Developer Groups. Pakistan is home to some of the most active chapters of these, he said, and Google looks forward to more partnerships in the country. Even Pakistanis not directly affiliated with such programs had contributed much in the online space in the form of edits on Google Maps, leading to some local cities like Faisalabad being mapped in even more detail than most American ones. The highlight of his talk was the Google’s Innovation Punjab promo, a video that featured Pakistan’s national anthem as background music. Barely a minute into it, the entire audience rose from their seats in a surge of patriotism, right on cue with the electric guitar solo that resonated throughout the hall. The room may have been decorated in many colours, but at that moment, it bled green to the core.


After a quick prize distribution ceremony of the previous day’s programming competition and group photographs of the winners and the speakers, the conference got on to its final leg: entrepreneurship.


DevFest organizers had clearly saved the best for last. The first of the three sessions centred on entrepreneurship was a panel discussion with Pakistani entrepreneurs. Nabeel A. Qadeer (Program Manager, Plan9), moderated the discussion between local industry gurus Zafar Khan (CEO, Sofizar), Zia Imran (CEO, VahZay), Sajjad Kirmani (CEO, Infogistic), and Amer Sarfraz (CEO, Olaraound). With scores of years of combined experience in the IT industry amongst themselves, the panelists did not need the aid of any microphones to get the audience’s attention, choosing to speak freely instead. The attendees, almost all of whom were developers themselves, could be felt leaning forward in their seats as Nabeel asked each of the panelists some common questions regarding the IT sector that plague the minds of graduates and students alike. After all, this was everyone’s best shot at getting a glimpse into the minds of those who know how the industry works, and who work it themselves as well. The panel even debunked some common myths associated with Pakistan’s IT industry. After a few rounds, Nabeel opened up the floor to questions from the audience, and the room was instantly a complete show of hands. While some inquired about entrepreneurship, others inquired about trends in the job market. While other panelists spoke plainly, Zia Imran’s brutally clear-cut answers to the questions sent waves of laughter and applause through the room.

Much to the audience’s dismay, all pending questions had to be cancelled and the panel discussion cut short as DevFest had a schedule to maintain. And so it was on to the next session: an intro to Plan9 by Nabeel A. Qadeer – its manager. 9

Although quite a few people in the audience had already heard of Plan9, the majority did not know about incubators and how immensely useful they can be for a struggling entrepreneur in search of his big break. Nabeel introduced Plan9 by starting off with the very basic needs of an entrepreneur: workspace, mentorship, legal advice, investment opportunities, and even electricity, to name a few. These are hard enough to come by in real life, let alone getting them for free. But Plan9 does just that and even gives its incubatees a monthly stipend to help them along. It sounds too good to be true, but there’s a reason all this is possible: the Punjab Information Technology Board. It is only because of it being a government project that Plan9 is able to offer all this and more to entrepreneurs. With all the hardwork that has gone into bringing the incubator so far in its very first year of operation, the international technology industry has started to take interest in it, too. Plan9 now brings together mentors and investors from other countries as well as from Pakistan itself to help its incubatees make the most out of their startups. By this time, everyone in the room was thinking the same things: so how do we get into Plan9? The answer: a series of exhaustive Launchpads held in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad from where the top teams are awarded incubation at Plan9.

As Nabeel ended his talk, someone from the audience asked if Plan9 took any equity in their incubatees’ startups – a perfectly valid question, since that is the model upon which most incubators function. The answer was simple: Plan9 asks for nothing in return – no equity, no nothing. If the room had not already been sold on Plan9, this answer made sure that it had.

The last session of the conference would be a story – a success story. After all, what entrepreneurship talk is complete without a good ol’ narration of how someone made it big? And so it was to be LUMS’ very own Ali Rehan who would tell his tale of starting up. His startup Eyedeus and its inaugural product Groopic have been making all the right headlines in the media, both abroad and at home, but few know how it all came about. Ali chose to tell his story through the unparalleled awesomeness of stick figures. His journey started off when he quit a stable job at Telenor and returned to SSE’s Computer Vision lab. No strangers to using Computer Science to have fun with photographs, Ali and his mates entered their group photography app – then simply called ‘Group Photo’ – into Startup Weekend Lahore last year. Winning the competition instilled a fresh spirit in them, so, they applied to Plan9 for incubation – and got accepted. Six months later, they emerged from the program with a brushed-up product, revamped business plan, and loads of new industry connections. After the incubation cycle had ended, Plan9 funded their trip to Startup Asia 2013 in Singapore, where they got even more exposure than before. They finally hit it big when Eyedeus Labs got selected to the highly exclusive BlackBox Connect in Silicon Valley, where they were one of only eight startups from across the world. Ali and his teammates managed to make the best of an initial inferiority complex and ended up winning an extended acceleration program. While all this was happening, Groopic got featured on top notch technology blogs like TechCrunch, CNET, Gizmodo, and Cult of Mac, to name a few.

Looking back at it all, Ali believes that the only way you can trace a meaningful path through all of Groopic’s achievements is, well, by looking back at them. “You can only connect the dots looking backwards,” he quotes Steve Jobs. The best he could’ve done at the start of it was to trust his instinct, and that’s pretty much what everyone looking to start up should do. If you believe your gut to get you to the right place, more often than not, it will.

To wrap up, the man himself, Haris Nadeem, Community Manager of GDG Lahore (and the one to blame for the event) took to the stage to thank everyone for attending, participating and enjoying. Evening tea was set up in the same room as earlier in the day, and shirts were handed out to all the attendees.

It had been a long and tiring day, but every minute had been well worth it. I thank Haris and his cronies at GDG Lahore and LUMS for planning and executing a terrific event, and for making the last day of my summer vacation one to remember.


I still want a goodie, though.

The author can be contacted at and tweets at @TheSamarHaider


Plan9: A Vision and A Will

by Rafaeel Akbar Chaudhry August 6th, 2013

“Roofi, in our meeting with Mian Shahbaz Sharif, it has been decided to set up a Government Technology Startup Incubator. Dr. Umar Saif has been asked to make a proposal regarding it.”  A friend informed me over a phone call when I was in Canada. He was amongst the people who attended the first public meeting of IT professionals with Punjab’s Chief Minister last fall at Arfa Software Technology Park. Though I am no longer an ardent fan of incubators after experiencing various startup ecosystems, but a country like Pakistan where there are no government grants and incentives, I thought it was a right move provided it being executed well. Some of us had seen the PSEB experiments in the past so my only concern was that they need right people in the team to make it a successful program. Therefore I immediately wrote a note to Dr. Saif with few suggestions and he was quite kind to reply promptly.

If there’s one industry in Pakistan where entrepreneurship is erupting nowadays, it would be none other than the technology sector. The low startup capital required for a technology company as well as the general appeal of computers to young minds make it the go-to industry for anyone hoping to make their mark on the entrepreneurship landscape. And in that sector, if there’s any one organization that has emerged as a hub for tech entrepreneurship, it would be Plan9 – PITB’s Tech Incubator (more…)


The Social Media Experts, Transforming Entrepreneurial Dreams Into Realities | Coffee Shop Gurus

by Rohan David Emmanuel August 27th, 2012


Team | Coffee Shop Gurus

Team | Coffee Shop Gurus
Back L-R: Hasan Talal, Momna Chaudhry, Buraira Gerwal, Jaiser Abbass, Muhammad Asid
Front: Rohan David

Coffee Shop Gurus (A project of Green & White Pakistan) is a Social Enterprise of Social Media Experts. It is Pakistan’s First Real Entrepreneurial Incubator platform that promotes entrepreneurs working in any domain. Yes! It does not matter that whether you are starting a Home Bakery or making some Mobile App, Coffee Shop Gurus incubates them all from the grass root level. Here young entrepreneurs join hands with experts and bring to reality their entrepreneurial ideas. Promoting women entrepreneurship in Pakistan is a high priority.

During the incubation process the entrepreneurial ideas are put through strict process that polishes the idea. Due to a number of gurus attached to single idea, the attendees of the program get various view point about the same thing which helps in building a true market analysis. Coffee Shop Gurus aims to establish Pakistan’s first true incubation center that nurtures number of businesses all together in one place. We strongly believe that future of Pakistan is in the hands of youth and promoting youth for entrepreneurship at the time of economic depression is the best contribution to boost the development of Pakistan.
Making to the training process takes a lot of scrutinization of the entrepreneurs. After the nomination of the entrepreneurial projects and the interview process, the projects that make out alive are ready to be the part of Coffee Shop Gurus training process. To make the entrepreneurial projects successful, they go under rigorous training for 5 weeks. The meetings are held every Saturday, during the training session, which are mandatory for the entrepreneurs to attend. The week breakdown is: Week 1: Idea Tailoring & Branding, Week 2: Business Planning, Week 3: Marketing on Social Media and Internet, Week 4: Sales & Networking & Week 5: Reviews.
The syllabi and training process of Coffee Shop Gurus has develop after almost 2 years of research work on environment of incubation on the Pakistani Culture. The process has been exactly tailored to the requirements of this region. With a great deal flexibility with in the program, it can also be replicated around the world with almost no changes. The project holds the honor of conducting various country wide researches on social media and its behavior in Pakistan.
Coffee Shop Gurus is also building a knowledge base on entrepreneurial content by transforming the foreign content on entrepreneurship according to local requirement on research basis. Coffee Shop Gurus’ Blog can be visited at and do not forget to look for our Social Media case studies. Don’t forget to like Coffee Shop Gurus on Facebook.


Coffee Shop Gurus @ TEDxSummit, Doha, Qatar

The Lighter Side of Coffee Shop Gurus


My Biz Pakistan Initiative

by Rafaeel Akbar Chaudhry August 16th, 2012

While we are different personalities, there is one vision that brings both Nabeel Akmal Qadeer and myself on a common platform i.e. “Educating, Motivating and Inspiring Pakistani Youth”. Both of us want students to follow their passion and field of choice after graduation.

In order to achieve these objectives, we launched a startup, went to educational institutes in various cities, and tried whatever we could do at our end to help the ambitious lot. Last year, both of us left Pakistan to pursue higher studies in management that we have successfully completed recently.

So Nabeel recently called me up and shared this initiative “My Biz Pakistan”. My immediate response was “What’s so different in that?” Nabeel said “It has what we were lacking before.” Then he continued to elaborate why it’s different and I somewhat agreed to the root cause why we failed in the earlier iterations of our plans. In short, it was the lack of resources at hand. Though I am not part of this team, the plan discussed by Nabeel totally resonates with how we should support Pakistani Startups. It’s time to mature our angel investment market.

Many of you might know about Amer Qureshi. Amer is a highly experienced Australian Chartered Accountant, Business Advisor and Author. Born in Pakistan, but having spent most of his professional life in Australia, Amer has developed a passion for helping business owners, entrepreneurs and professional improve their lives. This passion has led him to write four books, develop numerous seminars and TV Shows with the aim of motivating and inspiring people. An excellent speaker and presenter Amer has contributed to the development of a large number of professionals and business owners in Australia, Pakistan, Dubai and Qatar.

My Biz initiative has been developed with Amer’s vision to help the young Pakistanis become entrepreneurs and take control of their lives. My Biz Pakistan would provide training, tools, networks and access to Angel funding for starting small businesses. The angels would also act as mentors to these young entrepreneurs. It is not a charity, a micro finance institution, an NGO, a government authority or anything of the sort. This is a setup where few Pakistani Business Leaders are trying to make a difference.

The angel investors will fund innovative business ideas that are considered to have great potential for success. The funding arrangements are negotiated between the investors and the entrepreneurs, however, the organization would provide the framework, ideas and advice and help you through the process. Typically for small startups, the funding will be limited to between PKR 50,000 and 200,000 and will be made in stages on achieving agreed milestones.

Both Investors and Entrepreneurs can work with My Biz Pakistan. Terms for both the parties are mentioned at For students, the My Biz Ambassadors in your city and your university are your first point of contact, and will be able to provide all the necessary information and advice that you need. In the event of any additional assistance, you may also contact one of My Biz consultants. If you want to be the ambassador at an educational institute, you can also apply for that by following the application process at

Moreover, the inside scoop is that some former CEOs of multinationals would soon be joining the My Biz Board, and that the organization has already engaged investors from Australia and Dubai. If you have a good proposal, they can invest right away. So what are you waiting for?  Now you don’t have an excuse that you are short of cash to take the jump.


Ashar Nisar | The .PK Man | Entrepreneur of the month

by Rafaeel Akbar Chaudhry March 27th, 2011

Every day we come across website addresses trailing with “”, “”, “”, “”, “” or simply “.pk”. To land on this site, you also typed “”. However, majority people in my network don’t have an idea who operates this “PK” thing for us. It is sad to mention that even many IT Professionals and Computer Science students in Pakistan don’t know about PKNIC (Pakistan Network Information Center (Pvt) Ltd.), the registry responsible for the .pk country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) for Pakistan since most of the people acquire domain name via resellers with a hosting plan. Those who know about PKNIC are unaware of the fact that it is owned and run by Mr. Ashar Nisar, A Pakistani – American who graduated from UET Lahore in the 80s. (more…)


You still can

by Rafaeel Akbar Chaudhry August 29th, 2010

One of my mentors and colleagues still regrets about certain startups that he should have done a decade ago. He had resources, registered some really good domains back in 90’s and got the portals developed but didn’t launch or market them. Today some people are doing the same business and earning really good money. Recently the following inspirational animated video from Adcom was released to which we both agreed completely.

Pakistan at the moment needs real walk persons instead of real talk ones. Don’t get carried away when gurus advise you that you don’t have a business model or a proper plan, and that there are giants against whom you can’t survive. Just believe in yourself and your idea or product. If its really good, you can eventually make 100 business models out of it. Give it your 110% and Insha’Allah you’ll succeed. If you fail, try again. One day you will.

Don’t wait. Somebody else might have the same idea. Go and grab the opportunity NOW. Even if you’ll let it go due to failure someday, at least you won’t regret that you never tried.


Few famous Risk Takers of the Land of Pure

by Rafaeel Akbar Chaudhry August 29th, 2010

A pictorial tribute to some of our famous risk takers and DOERS who are acknowledged worldwide.