Entrepreneurship is the need of the hour. Especially in third world countries like India and Pakistan where new avenues of employment have to be constantly created to cope with the ever surging population. We as members of society have the duty of encouraging the spirit of entrepreneurship. Unfortunately, in our country entrepreneurs are frowned upon for their unconventional and ‘risky’ career choice; we must not forget that the billion dollar multinational corporations most of us aspire to work for were build by some forward thinking, visionary entrepreneurs. Society can’t function without them.
A surge in entrepreneurship says a lot about the state of modernity in a country. Entrepreneurs cannot thrive in a conservative, orthodox, and patriarchal society. To truly eliminate the stench of medieval times, men and in particular women entrepreneurs must be encouraged to follow their passion and realize their aspirations and ambitions.
We take this opportunity to tell you about some of the bravest and most talented female entrepreneurs under the age of Twenty Five in Pakistan. Warning, after reading this you’ll feel so inspired that nothing will seem impossible!
1. Komal Ashfaq, 24 years old
Her love for comics was cultivated early by her mother who used to read comic books to her when she was young. She is the brain behind the extremely popular Facebook page Komal’s Comics where she takes a sarcastic dig at the political scenario and the poor state of employment in the country.
But since 2015, Komal has been working on something far more serious. She’s part of the team which is developing an app, Sabaq, which makes the primary school syllabus more engaging and she’ll be supplying it to the poverty stricken children free of cost or at a much-subsidized price. Through the app, she’ll try to exterminate the misconceptions and stigmas that are propagated from generation to generation via the conventional education system.
In the fag-end of 2015, Komal launched an online clothing store, The Warning Label with a friend. Now, she’s planning to release her own comic strip based on a superhero who likes in an alternate version of Pakistan.
This socially aware entrepreneur sure knows how to keep herself busy!
2. Mahoor Jamal, 21 years old
Very few of us have the courage to take a leap of faith and pursue what we actually love at the cost of financial stability. Mahoor Jamal is someone who has the gumption. She was a very bright student and her parents wanted her to become a doctor. She studied very hard but missed the merit list by 0.2%. She took a gap of one year to try again but realized medical profession isn’t really her passion; she wanted to pursue it just to please her parents. Her story could’ve ended here, but it didn’t. She took a leap of faith and got enrolled in Fashion Designing at Iqra University, Peshawar. The gamble paid off. Now Mahoor runs a very successful Facebook page where she posts her creations. She’s using her talent as a source of income too; she made a 5*7 inch portrait for a friend and since then there’s been no stopping her.
The display of her talent on Instagram attracted a lot of attention. She was approached by many designers for whom she did fashion designs and wall mural poster designs projects. She is a testament to the fact that if you’re truly passionate about something and take your work seriously, you won’t encounter any difficulty in making a living. Excel at what you love; it’s a much better alternative to being mediocre at something that doesn’t interest you.
3. Ayesha Babur, 18 years old
Ayesha and her two brothers hadn’t attended a conventional school; they were home schooled and believe that the traditional education system suffocates the creativity that’s lurking inside every child. But instead of just despairing over the state of things, they decided to do something about it.
They’ve developed Teddict, an online peer to peer learning platform. It provides young learners the flexibility to decide what they want to learn and they can share their knowledge with their peers. This creates an environment of equality where everyone’s a teacher and a student, doing away with the boundaries imposed by syllabuses.
Teddict bagged the Best School Project Category award at the P@SHA ICT Awards and Asia Pacific Awards this year. And just so you know, she’s 19. We can only marvel at her sensibility and maturity.
4. Arusha Imtiaz, 25 years old
Arusha left her full-time job to co-found and lead as the COO of Edjunction, a platform that allows parents to be connected with teachers at school and receive instantaneous updates about their child’s progress.
Edjunction was incubated at Plan9, during which she managed to rise seed funding of $2m. The team is collaborating with the City District Government Lahore to test it out at government schools. The platform has received encouraging responses so far from parents and teachers in Pakistan and abroad.
Edjunction was also incubated at the Microsoft Innovation Centre in Lahore. Arusha is targeting the international market. Edjunction can be the first major breakthrough from Pakistan. Let’s keep our fingers crossed!
5. Sadaf Amin, 22 years old
Sadaf Amin is pursuing a Masters degree in the science of Agricultural Engineering at the University of Agriculture, Faridabad. She has an idea which she refers to as ‘Mobile Agricultural Farming System’ through which farmers can use their mobiles to control their farms from anywhere. Crucial aspects of farming including irrigation control and fertilizer injection systems can be managed effectively.
She has made her country proud by pitching her idea at the annual Telenor Youth Summit. Let’s wish her all the very best!
6. Khalida Brohi, 25 years old
Khalida had witnessed the death of a friend who chose to do a love marriage and went against her family’s wishes. She was one of the innumerable cases of honor killing that the Pakistani government so atrociously ignores every year. But this tragedy inspired her to take action. She’s leading Sughar Foundation, an NGO that aims to support women through education and training workshops. Due to her efforts, many women are surviving independently rather than being subjected to domestic violence and honor killings.
As a social entrepreneur, Khalida has so far helped thousands of women in the 23 villages she’s been working in. She wants to uplift the position of women in the traditional, misogynistic society of Pakistan and has spoken for women empowerment at various conferences, talks, and seminars to highlight the despicable condition of women in some areas of the country. She’s ensuring her voice is not lost in the crowd.
7. Amna Farouk, 22 years old
Anand Kumar, Osama Aslam and Amna were wondering what road they should follow after graduation. They wanted to create something that would actually help people and sought father from Amna’s father – an Urologist. He showed them a Lithotripter, which is a device used to perform a basic urinary stone removal procedure. They found out that since Lithotripters aren’t designed locally, the doctors have to pay a hefty sum to import them.
They found out that due to the amount of money involved, using a Lithotripter makes the procedure very expensive and most patients can’t afford it. The alternative open surgery method has a high occurrence rate. So they were convinced they had to do something about it. And they did. By January 2015, the prototype was almost completed. Getting the wiring correct took another four months and they got their product ISO 9001 certified. They performed a test run in May 2015 and achieved 100% success rate.
The team has won 8 local and 1 International competitions and have developed Lithomatic independently by bootstrapping and using the prize money. These 3 youngsters are the perfect role models for aspiring entrepreneurs. If your product has the capability to solve a real life problem, you’ll succeed for sure.
8. Malala Yousafzai, 18 years old
She’s a Nobel Peace Prize winner and has brought the issues of gender discrimination and oppression of women into global awareness. She’s taken a bullet in her demand for equal opportunity for education for the girls in her country. She’s written a bestselling book jotting down her agony, pain, and resilience.
Malala continues to fight for the liberation of women in various parts of Pakistan. She’s a beacon of hope for the millions of women and girls who are subdued on a regular basis by the society. The world salutes the spirit of this young girl who’s not going to stop, no matter what comes her way.
These outstanding female entrepreneurs have battled huge odds to make a place for themselves in a country where the basic education of girls is neglected and discouraged. They are the bright specks of hope dispelling the darkness of patriarchy. They represent the aspirations and hopes of the modern civilization. We bow down in front of them and wish them all the very best!