Karachi may lay claim to being the financial and economic capital of the country, but Lahori entrepreneurs appear to have taken the lead over their southern rivals. Lahore-based firms dominate Allworld Network’s Pakistan Fast Growth 100 list with the 41 companies to form the largest contingent from any single city, handily outdoing Karachi which has 33 companies featuring on the list.
The list is not – nor does it claim to be – an exhaustive compilation of Pakistan’s fastest growing entrepreneurial firms, but simply a collection of the most impressive from amongst the hundreds of companies that applied for the competition. But the dominance of Lahore firms on the list – which earn well over half the $1.4 billion in combined revenues of the 106 firms – suggests that perhaps more Lahori entrepreneurs are interested in the visibility and exposure to investors that comes with being part of the list.
The Pakistan 100 list is compiled by the Allworld Network, an initiative of three Americans, including Harvard University professor Michael Porter, to increase the profile of small, rapidly growing firms in emerging countries.
The concept behind the lists is called “visibility economics”: the hope that the additional visibility of being named as one of the fastest growing companies in the country will allow these companies to attract more investors and more talented employees, increasing their ability to create jobs and effectively compete around the world.
In addition to compiling country lists, such as the Pakistan 100, the organisation also compiles regional lists, such as the Africa 500, Asia 500, Eurasia 500, and Latin America 500. Pakistani firms did well in the Arabia 500, constituting about 14% (70 companies) of a list that included firms from at least 14 countries. Pakistan was second only to Turkey in representation on that list.
“The Pakistani companies that were part of the Arabia 500 are among some of the most sophisticated and impressive firms we have seen anywhere around the world,” said Deirdre Coyle, co-CEO and co-founder of the Boston-based Allworld Network.
The Pakistan 100 list will officially be announced on Friday and Saturday at the Pearl Continental Hotel, Lahore.
For instance, Faisalabad, the third-largest city in the country and ranked number one by the World Bank’s Doing Business in Pakistan report, has absolutely no representation on the list. Neither does any city in Balochistan. Islamabad has 12, Rawalpindi eight, Peshawar seven, Sialkot two and Sargodha, Kamoke and Multan one each.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 7th, 2012.