She Loves Tech!
The whole idea of this global startup competition is so inspiring and motivating because it provides an opportunity to the most innovative and promising women-impact startups. This platform brings a thrilling opportunity of exhibiting ideas to global investors and the tech community and offers a unique chance of interaction with creative minds at both national and international levels. The competition is to be conducted in 8 countries including Pakistan with the finale to be held in Beijing, China. CIRCLE, a social enterprise working for women inclusion, is hosting the mega event in Pakistan with the support of the leading players of the entrepreneurial ecosystems like NEST i/o, Peshawar 2.0, and our very own NED Office of Research Innovation and Commercialization (ORIC) amongst many others. If you are wondering where we come in, well, NES is the student branch of CIRCLE at NED University, so yay us because we got to host one of the most enlightening sessions with a panel full of awe-inspiring personalities.
When I was forwarded the document of the agenda and the bio data with which I was supposed to introduce them, well girl, was I stumped. A panel with a range of experience and stories, from amateurs to full-fledged professionals, it was worth it. For those who missed it, I am sorry but I’ll try to sum up the crux of their messages here.
The ambassador of innovation and entrepreneurship in our university, Dr. Syed Mehmood Hassan, expressed how firmly he believes in empowering women and appreciated CIRCLE for the opportunities it brings for them. He strongly urged students to take part in the competition.
Sadaffe Abid, the co-founder of CIRCLE, added how initiatives need to be taken to increase women visibility in business’s circles so they aren’t taken for granted or forgotten. With women being about 52% of the total population, their inclusiveness in progressive endeavors is imperative.
Currently the marketing and strategy leader of IBM Pakistan, Madeeha Omer, shared how her focus on her passion drove her to success. She also said that women have better intuition which breaks barriers and creates more customized and user friendly experiences for people and businesses.
The only He amongst the She panel, Sameer Khan, the CEO of Social Champ, emphasized how faith in one’s own dreams and facing failures head on paves way to success. He tipped students to exercise collaboration with peers.
We were proud to have Arifa Mehfooz visiting her alma mater, sharing her journey which started as a programmer at Techlogix Pvt. Ltd. to now being the Software Development Manager there. Her message was to create a ‘can-do attitude’ to overcome obstacles. She emphasized how defining our goals and priorities and having patience above all leads to job satisfaction that leads to success.
Sana Farooq, the CEO of E Learning Network, a globally recognized platform for vocational training, who became the first Pakistani woman entrepreneur to get selected by Blackbox Connect, Silicon Valley. She is a true supernova who juggles being a mommy, a mentor, an educator and a chartered auditor. Among the load of messages from successful and struggling women from around the world which she conveyed, the most important of all was how women need to support and facilitate other women to become independent and achieve their dreams.
Shanza Khan, the CEO of BoloTech, the world’s first Urdu Speech therapy platform, shared how her unheard and exceptional FYP at Jinnah University for Women, was at first, considered absurd. With so much opposition surrounding them, NEST i/o found potential in them and decided to incubate them. She emphasized on the importance of breaking stereotypes and not losing hope when facing challenges.
After the initial wave of embarrassment, which comes with my candid ways to chitchat instead of just cordially hosting the event, had passed, I was mighty grateful to have the opportunity to attend such an event.
I’ll not sprout more colloquial words and end with a quote of Kavita Ramdas for women who need support, motivation, who are experienced or unexperienced, that:
We need women who are so strong they can be gentle, so educated they can be humble, so fierce they can be compassionate, so passionate they can be rational and so disciplined they can be free.
Author: Javeria Munaaf