Development of entrepreneurial culture in Pakistan needs some time to set its roots. Most of the public believe to get involved in an already running business with a handsome salary to avoid the maximum risk of any loss.
People who want to set up their new business have to fight a lot for an initial investment and for its scope.
Today I am going to share the start up story of a foreigner student here in Pakistan who is from Nigeria.
His name is Atobatele Abiola Mashood and he is just 22 years of age. His interview is as follows:
Bakhtawar: Hello Abiola! Thank you for your kind cooperation.
Abiola: My pleasure, thanks.
B: So for my first question, from which city/ country do you belong to?
A: I am fromLagos, Nigeria.
B: Why did you come to Pakistan?
A: I initially came to Pakistan for studies with my dad.
B: What is your qualification?
A: I am aBS Computer Science Graduate from Preston University Islamabad.
B: Considering you are an IT student, why did you step in to entrepreneurship and why did you think of starting your own business?
A: It would be fair to say there was a need to and there was an opportunity aswell, and hence it was utilised. In addition I wanted to do my own little business. I started with a job, then another job,then another job then I resigned to start my business.
B: I see. So what exactly is your business?
A: Well it spans into two parts one is VoIP credit reseller, while the other is web development. These two have been a source of income for a while now.
B: What were the initial hurdles you’ve faced? And how did you manage enough money to start up?
A: Initial hurdles, well yeah it is always true that every business needs enough capital and cash but I believe a business needs more of an idea than capital.The opportunity was there, the problem was felt and a solution was applied.
For the VoIP credit, making international calls is quite expensive for foreigners here using various telecom lines. But with VoIP application calls to same location costs a lot cheaper sometime with better quality sound.
Looking at the minority population of foreigners here, they were targeted and they were my customers, especially theNigerians here.
Q: If you would have planned to start you business in Nigeria,do you think it wouldhave been much easier? How do you compare the two possibilities?
A: Well if I was in Nigeria I probably would have found another problem and then propose a solution, that’s how business works
- How would you like to take this business further? Or do you want to start a new one?
A: Well my dream is to have 50 successful businesses. This business of mine not so fully established, but it is a good start.
I would also go into the area of acting. I don’t want to call that a business so Idonot want to call it a job. So I guess that would remain the same. I plan to have a software house,then a travel agency, a UK travel agency here in Pakistan to be specific.
- 50 businesses? Wow you sure are motivated. What is your message to the new entrepreneurs?
A: Well entrepreneurship needs belief. You need to believe in yourself, and you need to make sure your business is actually giving, for only then you would get.If your business is not giving then it is not getting.
B: These are some quality thoughts. Do you think your business is important for Pakistan?
A: Yeah I think my business however small is important to Pakistan economy. Because when foreigners can effectively communicate their businesses progress better and that in turn helps the economy as a whole in one way or the other
And one thing is Pakistan should make good policy that allows foreign students to get a work or business visa after completion of their degree
- I hope the visa policy makers will get your message through this interview. How do you struggle with competition?
A: I usually don’t worry about competition. I worry more about if my business is still giving and how it can give more. I believe in customer satisfaction. That is like oil for the engine of your business
- Well yes the customer is always right they say. Do you have plans to venture into multi-national organisation?
A: Yes, venturing into multi-national organization is where I see myself in the future. I really would love see that happen
- What are your future objectives for your business?
A: Future objective is to complete my 50 businesses target
50 businesses! You sure are motivated Mashood. Thanks for all of your time. Hopefully you will soon achieve your goal with ease.