EO reaching out to female entrepreneurs in Pakistan

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The Entrepreneurs Organisation (EO) is all out to expand its ‘peer-to-peer’ global network of more than 10,000 young entrepreneurs in Karachi, said EO Karachi President Ali Ahmad in an exclusive interview with Pakistan Today at his office, Nizam Energy.

The EO is an international forum that was launched in Pakistan in 1987 with Karachi-Lahore then being its combined 12-member chapter. Having been split into two separately “grown” chapters in FY07, Karachi and Lahore now has 58 and 56 respective entrepreneurs as EO’s members.

Being a majority shareholding thus decision-making business owner is a prerequisite for becoming a member of the organisation. Averaging on $37.66 million per member, the total sales of the organisation’s members stand in excess of $ 2.108 billion.

The industries EO represents in Pakistan include advertising, publication, apparel, accessories, chemical, computer, consulting, computer, hardware, computer, services, computer, software, distribution, diversified services conglomerate, electronic services, food, beverages, health, medical services, import, export, investment services, legal services, manufacturing, media services, recycling, retail, scientific services, security and investigation, travel and transportation.

The EO member entrepreneurs employ at least 61,242 in Karachi only.

At present, the expansion focus of the organisation is women entrepreneurs, “many” of whom, the EO official says, are doing a host of businesses but in a humble way. Conceding that EO’s 114-member network in Pakistan had no female entrepreneur, Ali said his side was looking for women entrepreneurs to join and benefit from his vast network.

The EO, he explained, facilitates its members in all facets of life: personal, family and business.

This end is achieved through holding various learning and social events throughout a calendar year wherein the “most sought-after” speakers from and outside Pakistan are invited to share their entrepreneurial experiences with the members.

“A council of seven to eight leading entrepreneurs talk about their successes and failures in life and draw their conclusions,” says Ali.

“The Federation (FPCCI) and the Chamber (KCCI) have their women wings and have given us enough hints about our potential female members,” Ali says, adding that some of the females businesswomen had also approached him recently.

Also, the young entrepreneurs are due to organise a social networking gathering at MohattaPalace on January 24 to showcase EO to the city’s non-member entrepreneurs.

“Karachi is a great city which’s dept we are yet to tap to become a diversified organisation,” the EO president viewed.

Making its members “feel valued” being EO’s primary objective, the organisation, Ali said, had “really improved” his entrepreneurial journey.

Under the Organisation’s learning events, the members’ personal development “Being an EO Board member, I feel that I have really developed in all three facets of my business, personal and family life,” the young businessman commented.

“As an organisation, we would continue to give value to our members,” he added. Ali is the chief executive of M/s H Nizam Din and Sons that is related to businesses like tents manufacturing, hospitality services and renewable energy.

Asked about his opinion on the prevailing business climate in Pakistan, he chose to use words like “handicap”, thanks to the ever present “political uncertainty” that, the EO chief lamented, was still keeping the foreign customers and investors at bay.

“To me, the Pakistani entrepreneurs are the most dynamic businessmen who are doing a good job despite all the odds,” opined he.

Negatives like increased cost of doing business, energy crises, lack of infrastructure, an uncertain law and order situation and the resultant closures of businesses, he said, had offset Pakistan’s comparative advantages like a highly competitive labour force. “Here businesses are struggling. Strikes cut your productivity the losses run in billions,” Ali said.

Illustrating, he said, a recent dispute between the customs authorities and goods transporters and the consequent week-long strike at seaports had inflicted a huge loss of Rs 20 billion on the country’s fragile economy.

“No cargo was handled at the country’s ports due to the strike,” he added.

To a query on “pro-business” government policies, the young entrepreneur lauded the current PML-N government for its ability to bringing the rupee-dollar parity to a “healthy level”.

“Though there is no ease of business in Pakistan. The business climate is out of control. But blaming the PML-N government only would be unfair,” he observed.

Ali went on to give credit to the new elected government for its seriousness towards developing the country’s infrastructure and resolving the long-standing issue of energy crises.

The Karachi president of EO urged the local entrepreneurs to come forward and get enlisted at the Organisation that, he said, would connect them with EO’s strong global network.

“We have 150 chapters in 46 countries. Every chapter holds international interactive events for EO members besides extending each and every facility they can,” the entrepreneur said.