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When the Going Gets Tough..

by Asma Abbas Mirza April 25th, 2016

Tough

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 AliffIqra.com 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 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.

 

 

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