9 out of 10 ways of Rizq can be found in business - Prophet Muhammad

Mentorship: The Quintessential Element of Entrepreneurship

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Meet the person who helped launch 206 successful startups; Mr. Tahir Mahmood Chaudhry. He is also the CEO of PIE (Pakistan Institute of Entrepreneurship) and the president of Computer society of Pakistan.

Startup had the honor of discussing the importance of mentorship with him. Page 05

Difference Between A Mentor And An Instructor

Practically he’s different. When we talk about entrepreneurship and startup, the mentor must be from the industry.  A teacher is someone who teaches you how to swim, but he/she hasn’t been into the water before. Those who dive in the water are the ones who can be better for mentorship. A lot of business models are applied worldwide. For Pakistan, my motive is to arrange mentorship problems for my students according to our local ground realities and market dynamics. We have to survive while living with problems of political instability, terrorism, flood, energy crisis etc. Some of the companies are still growing (like the telecom sector). So it means that there are success stories.

Significance Of Mentorship In The Life Of An Entrepreneur

It is necessary in all cases! The books are there in the market. You might be able to study them on your own but the interface provided by a teacher is something unmatchable. You might not be able to get far ahead without any proper guidance and teaching.

Mentorship in Pakistan also varies from city to city.

Role Of PIE  In The Development Of Entrepreneurship

The first problem we identified is that there is no concept of teaching entrepreneurship here in Pakistan. Although it is taught at university level, yet the teachers would just teach. They are not from the industry. They have PhDs but no exposure.  The second problem is that there is no link between the industry and the academia. Industry has the requirement and the university has the factory where the students are polished. But the industry requirement is missing. And how do we know get to know their requirement? The industry and the university want you to go to them but the student is missed.  Sadly, the three of them are compromised. They are not getting the information required for quality and the students don’t gear up themselves towards the industry. Page 05

The Inspiration To Coach The Students

Since childhood, it was my in-built nature that I would help those around me. I got this from my father. He always advised us to help people. If I know something worthwhile, I like to spread it around, so that maximum people can benefit out of it.

Who Is Your First Customer?

My philosophy is quite simple. I always think out of the box. When an aspiring entrepreneur comes to me for mentorship, the first question I ask him is, “Who is your first customer?”. We have a training program that lasts for 5 days. We charge a minor fee for that, as there is a complete team of 10 people who address different aspects. In this program, we give practical exposure to the aspiring entrepreneurs. It involves a lot of workshop and field exercises.

We don’t charge students who approach us for any sort of guidance. We only charge our corporate clients in this regard.

We are now also teaching “turnaround management”.

Motivation For The To-be Entrepreneurs

Believe in yourself! The potential you have and genetically the area of the world we live in; it’s the best in the world. Our doctors, engineers and architects are famous throughout the world. We have talent but we don’t diligently work for it. We waste our time on social media and smart phones. Instead of benefitting from them, we are abusing it. In terms of productivity, we rank 170th out of a total of 180 countries! We generally get to hear that the production cost is cheaper is Pakistan. This is other way round. Anything you produce here in Pakistan, the cost goes up as we don’t have that productivity! We don’t take things seriously. If we hold any technical position, we are not trained for it. We have to work not just as entrepreneurs, but as Pakistanis. We need to have faith in our fellow men. But most importantly,  we need to have trust in ourselves.