KARACHI : Engro Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ghias Khan has said that large companies cannot continue to operate like they used to as ‘disruption is hitting everyone’.
He was addressing the audience at 021Disrupt, the region’s premier technology and entrepreneurship conference, taking place at Movenpick Hotel in Karachi on Sunday.
Reminiscing about his journey as an entrepreneur, leading an enterprise technology company, Inbox Business technologies and now a CEO of a major industrial conglomerate, Ghias highlighted that access to capital is a big challenge for entrepreneurs.
Enlightening an audience filled with budding entrepreneurs with his experiences, he said, “It is important to have faith in yourself, work hard and bringing your A-game to the table every single day.”
Ghias pointed out that entrepreneurs need to be resilient, and advised the audience that, “Don’t bother becoming an entrepreneur if you’re not resilient.”
‘An exciting time to be a startup’
“Entrepreneurial startup revolution is not driven by unemployed youth or people without job, rather it is driven by those who understand problems and bring solutions to the table,” said Atyab Tahir, the head of Digital Transformation at Habib Bank Limited.
Addressing the audience in a session titled “An exciting time to be a startup,” Tahir claimed that in Pakistan’s context, a bunch of problem solvers are needed given the challenges facing the country in various sectors such as education, healthcare and financial inclusion.
He also stated that problem solving requires three core elements — support, resources and will power.
“Pakistan will soon realise its true potential and takeoff … entrepreneurial startups are the fuel needed for a country to takeoff.”
Entrepreneurial scale ups
Speaking later in the day, Allen Taylor, the managing director of Endeavor Catalyst, a company which invests in emerging companies and entrepreneurial ventures, claimed that, “Entrepreneurs can change the world”, adding that one can form ‘billion dollar companies’ from anywhere.
Addressing the audience on a session titled, “Why scale ups matter”, Taylor said, “High impact entrepreneurs are the building block of a healthy economy.”
Talking about scale ups, the Endeavor Catalyst MD stated that entrepreneurial scale ups really matter, and “as you start to form a company around your product and service the challenges relating to scale ups arise.”
However, Taylor was optimistic and claimed that only “few big success stories can have a big impact on a country’s entrepreneurial ecosystem,” adding that these success stories can help entrepreneurs think big and inspire the next generation as well.
Highlighting three ingredients for successful scale ups — markets, talent and capital — Taylor said that successful scale ups require the right people as it is a ‘team sport’ and getting the right people and creating the right environment is key to successful scale ups.
In addition to this, forging long term partnerships with investors, “who also think of themselves as mentors’” is also pivotal for young entrepreneurs aiming to scale up their ventures.