There’s a difference between entrepreneurship and businessmen. Entrepreneurs are risk-takers and are passionate. Once they have the idea and the burning fire in their heart, they did everything to make it a reality. Even if they failed for the first time, they don’t back off. Today, in this blog, we will list the most successful entrepreneurs of Pakistan who neither have a business background and nor initial support to launch their venture. But they did it and became successful with their hard work and dedication.
Let’s see who are these successful entrepreneurs and how they made their journey possible.
Inspiring Stories of Successful Entrepreneurs of Pakistan
Imtiaz Abbasi, Founder Imtiaz Super Market
Imtiaz Abbasi is the founder and MD of Imtiaz Supermarket which is Pakistan’s most popular supermarket. It operates a chain of supermarkets all across the country. Abbasi founded Imtiaz Supermarket in 1955. The idea originated from his father who opened a small Kiryana store in an obscure lane in Bahadurabad.
In 1978, during his trip to Singapore, he came across the world’s largest chain Al-Mustafa Store that was selling every kind of quality product at cheap prices. That became his motivation to continue his father’s store. Upon arrival in Pakistan, he added more product categories to his father’s store and it sold out. Within a few years, he bought the adjoining shops to expand his setup.
Now, Imtiaz Supermarket is the pioneer in the retail industry. It not only has stores all across the country but also delivers products online. The best thing about Imtiaz is that it aims to facilitate the middle-class people of Pakistan and it was Abbasi’s objective too. Due to having their own rice and flour mills and extensive in-house space for grinding, cleaning, and packaging, they are able to sustain lower prices than the average market prices. The yearly turnover of Imtiaz Supermarket is between Rs 40 billion to Rs 1000 billion. The chain operates successfully with more than 8000 employees nationwide.
Hakim Muhammad Saeed, Founder Hamdard University
Hakim Muhammad Saeed was born in 1920 in New Delhi, India. His forefathers were associated with the field of medicine that also inspired him to join medicines. He got his Pharmacy and Bachelor of Science degree from the University of New Delhi. After the independence of Pakistan, Saeed moved to Karachi with his wife and a daughter. He was a great scholar, medical researcher and philanthropist. Hamdard medical products are still a household name and have also kept his legacy alive.
Hakim founded Hamdard University in 1948 where he also served as vice-chancellor and professor. Not only this, but he also wrote over 200 books and edited different research journals. For his long and marvellous services to Pakistan, he was also awarded Sitara-i-Imtiaz and Nishan-e-Imtiaz in 1966 and 2002 respectively. Hakim Saeed was so fond of reading and educating that he even founded Hamard Nounehal for children.
He always wanted children to receive quality education and that was his objective behind founding the Nounehal. Indeed, it was a great initiative and I must say my childhood would have remained incomplete without it.
Khalida Brohi – Women’s Rights Activist and Founder Sughar Foundation
Like the other innocent girls who are chained under the title “Honour,” Khalida was also affected by the same. She was born in 1988 in a small village in Balochistan, Pakistan. She was a child when her grandfather decided to marry her in close acquaintances. But she was lucky to have a supportive father who escaped the village and moved to Hyderabad. She then started her education and became the first woman of her tribe to receive education.
Later she came to know about her cousin who was murdered for choosing someone to marry. Khalida launched a campaign for her cousin’s justice and left no stone unturned. Soon, she joined ‘WAKEUP’ an international organization that fights to end domestic violence. Step by step, she expanded her social work and launched her own foundation to help women of her tribe.
Now, Sughar Foundation is the hope to many tribal women who want to earn their livelihood and unleash their potential. She married David Barron (Daud) in 2015 and moved to the USA. And there also, she launched the ‘Chai Spot’ to represent Pakistan and to give people the true idea of what Pakistan actually is and what’s the culture about. Forbes also featured her in 30 under 30 for her social work and standing against the honor killing in Pakistan.
Read more about her story in her book “I Should Have Honor.”
Seema Aziz – Founder Sefam (Bareeze), and CARE Foundation
Seema was born in 1951 in Lahore, Pakistan. She completed her B.A from the college of Home Economics and LLB from Punjab University. She also went to Harvard Business School to complete her Executive Educational Program. At the start of her career, she founded Sefam with her brother with the mission to create high-quality fabric in Pakistan. She launched it in 1980 when there were no local brands who were working on creating quality fabric to export.
By the mid of 1990, Aziz’s brand gained recognition and became popular as the first textile producer to export high-quality fabrics internationally. From the challenges in retail to building the company culture and finding her target market, she worked hard to grow her brand in the global market.
Today, Bareeze is a globally recognized brand serving a wide array of products. But Miss Seema didn’t stop here and started her philanthropist work by founding CARE Foundation in 1988. Her organization aims to educate children in Pakistan. It runs over 900 schools where 275,000 children are enrolled across the country. With the focus on quality and consistency, she has added to the country’s progress with her lifetime efforts.
Mian Muhammad Fazal – Founder Orient Group of Companies
Mian Muhammad Fazal is a prominent name when it comes to highlighting successful entrepreneurs of Pakistan. Like the above inspiring stories, he also started from scratch. Muhammad Fazal was born in the small city Misri Shah in Lahore, Pakistan. He belonged to a poor family. His dad used to run a tea stall near a railway station. But Fazal wasn’t satisfied with it.
He wanted to do something instead of serving tea to passengers. In that era, the photography business was at its peak. He saved some money, bought a used camera and started clicking photos for people.
Since the camera wasn’t of good quality, most of the time people would reject his prints. But it didn’t discourage him and he continued his photography. He would spend all day clicking photos and at night, he developed film rolls and print photos at a small storeroom. After working hard for five years, he expanded his shop from a footpath to a studio and later bought a photocopier machine for additional income. Later with his work experience, he joined Mitsubishi company and started selling their products.
Within a few weeks, he sold over 500 Air-conditions. In 20025, Bao Fazal purchased land in the outskirts of Lahore and started a plant with the name “Orient Group” to sell air conditions in Pakistan. In 2007, Orient Group became huge and started making their own air conditions.
Today Orient Group of Companies is one of the largest consumer electronic manufacturers in Pakistan. It has a huge production setup and a sprawling dealer network all over the country, selling its own products including Air Conditioners, Refrigerators, LED TVs, Microwave Ovens, Water Dispensers, and Washing Machines. This is a great example of a passionate entrepreneur who studied till 6th grade only but built a company that employ many qualified candidates on a regular basis. Isn’t that amazing?
Salim Ghauri, Tech Evangelist and Founder Netsol Technologies
Salim Ghauri also known as the “Bill Gates of Pakistan” was born in the small city Bhawalpur. From his early life, he was a disciplined guy but was never fond of studies. At the age of three, his family moved to Lahore where he started his school. He studied till eighth grade in Linzer Day High School and when his matriculation exams were near, his mother decided not to enrol him because of his lack of interest in his studies. This hurt him a lot and he decided not to embarrass his mother more. He appeared in his matriculation exams and passed them with flying grades as well.
Since his father was a businessman, he had strong ties with Romania. The Romanian government offered scholarships to his children for his dedication and hard work for the company. Salim then moved to Romania to study engineering at the university. There he explored his interest in computers and upon returning to Pakistan, he launched, Netsol Technologies in 1995. It was started with a small office and now it’s one of the leading software companies in Pakistan. It’s the only CMMI Level 5 organization in Pakistan. And also the first to be listed on Karachi Stock Exchange.
Although he belonged to a business family that doesn’t stop him from launching his own venture. Today, Netsol has made more than 25 years as an IT company and is still on its way to add more value to Pakistan with its incredible efforts.
Read more about Salim Ghauri in his book “From Nothing to Everything.”
Monis Rehman – Founder Naseeb Network
Monis story is different from the above successful entrepreneurs in Pakistan. He’s from Lahore and already belongs to an educated family. His father is a PhD degree holder while his siblings are highly qualified doctors. So, like his family, he also has limited career choices like doctor, engineer or lawyer. And he chose to become an engineer. He went to the University of Wisconsin at Madison and then joined Intel to help develop microprocessor chips.
In 1999, he along with his partners started a company called Edaycare.com that installed cameras in daycare centres. A year later, the company ran out of money which let Monis sell the company less than its worth. Inspired by the success of Friendster.com, he started a social networking site for Muslims in the United States and the United Kingdom. He named it Naseeb.com. The idea attracted LinkedIn cofounder and he invested $25,000 in it. Rehman then moved to Pakistan after registering his company in the US and used some money to buy eidmubarak.com to help Muslims send electronic greetings through Naseeb Network.
Sooner, he started running out of staff and found the need to expand his team. But when he came to know about the Dawn classified ads which were above 8 lakh, he decided to launch his own job posting site. It was a new idea at that time. Other companies started showing their interest in it and the platform expanded. Named Rozee.pk, today the company is one of the biggest and oldest job searching websites in Pakistan. He also launched a platform similar to this in Saudi Arabia called Minhati.com. Naseeb is the parent company for both Rozee.pk and Minhati.com. Also, it’s one of the fastest-growing companies in Pakistan.
The world-leading magazines like Forbes, CNN, NewYork Times, InfoWorld has featured Monis for his remarkable ventures. Read his story on Forbes “Into the Fray.“
Now, are you going to be the next successful entrepreneur of Pakistan?