9others dinner in Karachi with Entrepreneurs of circumstances

9OTHERS-logo Another short trip to Karachi with a full on agenda; a conference to speak at, SCRUM & Kanban trainings to deliver, a Mini-MBA curriculum to review, patrons and board members to catchup with, bureaucracy to on-board, politicians to win over and plenty to catch up on.

All of that aside the most interesting engagement had to be hosting 9other’s second dinner in Karachi, a dinner with a difference. The usual suspects at any 9others’ global dinners are tech heads, startups, lawyers, soon to be movers and shakers of a multitude of sectors, most using technology platforms as the basis of their empires to be… all meeting up with the common goal of gaining the aid of others for their own successes and of course extending their assistance to aid the success of others.

9Others is undeniably an awesome concept and over the years has created a helpful and powerful community, it is about time the power of the network was introduced to entrepreneurs who need it the most; entrepreneurs of circumstances that Peace Through Prosperity (PTP) is engaged with.

Mobilising was a challenge, for our guests were alien to the concept of 9others as well as networking to help grow their businesses, these are individuals who work 12-14 hours a day, 7 days a week plying their trade on street pavements as cobblers, hawkers, fruit and vegetable vendors or street barbers. They get little time if any to network with their peers and have little appreciation for peer sourcing solutions to their business challenges.

Having said that Nasir Shah the SCRUM Master and team leader for the PTP field team and Abdul Rasheed the project manager for the Mini-MBA project did a superb job at convincing and gathering 9 entrepreneurs of circumstances for the dinner.

9others dinner in Karachi with Entrepreneurs of Circumstances - Peace Through Prosperity On arrival our guests were amused at the principle of the invitation, it is rare for them to be invited to a restaurant without occasion, more amusing the notion that it will be beneficial for their businesses, most of whom have been struggling with for years if not longer. There was some element of mistrust since unlike the usual 9other dinners as hosts we were picking up the tab, and if anything these folks know there is no such thing as a free dinner.

Nasir who also happens to be a linguist with 5 local languages in his tool kit did well to set the scene and explain that we wanted nothing more than them to attend, try it out and at worst they will be dined at our expense and at best they will gain a peer network.

The trades we had in attendance were,  four fruit vendors, one vegetable vendor, two juice vendors and two street cobblers all from Qayyumabad in Karachi, Pakistan. To begin with our guests were  trepidatious, then shy, Shehzad Khan a 50 year old fruit vendor found the whole thing a little amusing though there was more scepticism there than amusement. The rules were laid down, share your recent successes, your upcoming challenge and lets help each other overcome the challenges and learn from the successes of others. It was a struggle to irk out successes since they saw none worthy of being shared until Anwar a 33 year old street cobbler broke the ice saying he had a bumper day a couple of weeks ago when he managed to earn 400 rupees in a single day (that’s £2.40 / $4) and with that we had a benchmark for success and the rest followed with their own tales of awesome successes they had had over the last week, month and more.

Peace Through Prosperity 9others The challenges part had to be curated, some of our guests assumed since there was free dinner on offer there might also be free capital on offer too, we had to interject and make it clear we were there to help them help each other and there was no capital on offer, we could assist them in obtaining micro-finance loans but only after they had completed the Mini-MBA program and there too proven that they were capable of growing their businesses, cutting down on expenditures, developing new services and increasing their margins. With that done the nature of the challenges being aired changed, though they may seem insignificant to us they are mammoth if we stand in their shoes.

With Katie and Matthew’s blessing Peace Through Prosperity shall be hosting a 9others dinner in Karachi every fortnight across the seven neighborhoods  the Mini-MBA program is being delivered for the six selected street based trades. You can learn more about 9others here, and about Peace Through Prosperity here.

One more option to look on her packing at it levitra vardenafil it of course to take not so simply because a form another and there is a wish to hold in hand her not so strongly. You can carry by me on a wide field.

Peace Through Prosperity a year on…

Peace Through Prosperity Almost a year since a few of us set off in hope of bringing peace through prosperity, almost three since fewer still woke up to take tiny steps towards an elusive goal in a sh*t storm of hate, what seemed beyond reach seems further still, the reality of this struggle has set in and strengthened our resolve even more. OooRah.

We have learned a great deal, taught a little and stumbled a lot. Have fought hard for a beach head, dug our first trench and set our sights on the banks and beyond. There are moments where it all comes together, then falls apart only to come back together again.

We have found friends amongst strangers and strangers amongst friends, found cowards amongst giants and brave amongst the meek, been hope, found hope, saw hope; the mojo of audacity; tangible, delivered, promised or illusive… it keeps us going in all its forms. We have come across more than our fair share of asses on all sides in all guises and have built up an apetite to claw past numerous more.

Banded together a team; a year travelled and a ready for a 100 more.

It could have been harder, could have been short lived, could have been many things less than it is if not for you… who have supported us thus far in many ways all awesomely enormous… Thank you.

@BringPTP #Peace #Prosperity #Poverty #PovertyAlleviation #Enterprise #Entrepreneurship #Founders #Hope #Development #WHAM

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Inspiring street cobblers – entrpreneurs at the sharp end

As entrepreneurs we believe in the power of ideas and ambition to change markets and economies, but what about entrepreneurs at the sharp Peace Through Prosperity end, our peers many borders, timezones, cultures and life-styles away, those who are entrepreneurs not by choice but by circumstances, like the street cobblers in Pakistan that Peace Through Prosperity (PTP) is working with.

The challenge is to change their attitudes towards their enterprise of circumstance, to inspire them, to bring forth their self belief battered by circumstance and civil society being considerably uncivil towards them!

I regularly speak to would be and nascent start-up founders, though doing so in London, Helsinki, Islamabad or Dubai is easy compared to the street cobblers, for starters the usual audience is from the tech sector embarking on an adventure of choice with ideas that if not unique are not commoditised.  When I took upon myself to be the first guest speaker at Peace Through Prosperity’s mini-MBA program for street cobblers the aim was to explore what works, what does not and what I can learn from the experience and share with future speakers to tailor the message for the audience.

The experience was humbling, stimulating, challenging and cosmic!

I was in on the 4th evening of the mini-MBA program so the hard part of changing attitudes had already been done by the PTP trainers! the street cobblers were already in ‘bigger ambition’ mode! this was humbling – it threw my preconceptions out of the window!

A short conversation with the group made it abundantly clear the cohort had been well equipped for the operational aspects of running their enterprises, the mini-MBA program had done them good! some were spot on with their new marketing strategies, others had become more adept at convincing their peers towards collective buying – a cooperative of sorts in the making! and some had their elevator pitch perfected! I got pitched a repair I did not know I needed at the end of the session!

What was lacking was uniformity, a medium to long term plan… and it made sense; the mini-MBA is designed to better equip them to work ‘in their business’ as efficient operational managers and not ‘on their business’ as strategic visionaries… and it is the latter that builds empires and the former that ensures the cash keeps flowing in process.

My topic of conversation was planning, dedicated to achieving their ambitions from a personal and commercial context….  and to break down the barriers, to let them know there is little difference between a founder who starts in a bedroom or a garage with a laptop and one who starts on the street pavement with a needle and thread.. circumstance or choice the game is the same.

Inspiring Street Cobblers – Guest Speaker Series from Peace Through Prosperity on Vimeo.

You too can get involved,  tell your friends about PTP’s work, like them on Facebook, follow them on twitter, write/contribute to their blog, do yout part to change livelihoods for the less privileged on the Rock. Its not about giving them a hand-out, its about giving them a leg-up.

On a unrelated note I realised how my  Urdu has taken a slide! came back to Blighty with a few good reads in Urdu and hope to improve my Urdu soon… before speaking to another street cobbler cohort in the future!

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Visiting the Aman Foundation

Aman Foundation Karachi This trip has been in the works for about 8 months, even though my stay in Karachi was super short I finally made it to the AMAN foundation to meet with Dr Rabbani, though we almost turned back having been stuck in traffic in Korangi for about 45 odd minutes on the way there.

I got a tour of the facilities, thank you Usman, it was most informative and refreshing!

Connecting with Dr Rabbani was delightful and given the nature of Peace Through Prosperity’s work very informative, thank you for sharing your experiences.

for those of you who don’t know about the  Aman Foundation, it is a not-for-profit trust, based and operating in Pakistan. At the core is hard skills development, that lead to increased opportunities of employability in Pakistan or in the region. AMAN works in the areas of:

Healthcare – with systems ranging from Emergency Medical Response, Community Health Workers, and Telehealth initiatives to Mother-and-Child Hospitals.Aman Foundation Karachi

Education and Skills – with a Vocational Training Institute designed to transform unemployed and untrained youth into productive members of society. THIS is what got our attention at Peace Through Prosperity (PTP).

Nutrition – with an emphasis to provide nutritious and hygienic food to school children to reduce hunger and malnutrition, simultaneously increasing enrolment and attendance.

I look forward to exploring opportunities where AMAN and PTP  can align our objectives  to be a part of the wider change together.

 

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9others in Dubai – the ups and downs

2013-04-06 20.23.15 OK so earlier today 9others in Dubai, got canned because we did not have the numbers to make it worth while… after it had been canned folks started calling in asking for it to be hosted regardless! so I had to relent and it happened! a good meal with 9others came to Dubai on the 6th of April 2013 with the drama reflected in the days weather too… sand storms followed by rain! summed up the mood!

We had 7 folks attending the dinner (never quite got to ordering food, it was a liquid dinner), the venue was Bar 1897 at the Kempinski – Emirates Mall…. the mix was great, we had finance, alternative & renewable energy (all the way from Germany), new media, media buying, techDubai April 2013 Kubair Shirazee and the local TedX organiser attending! and everyone came to each others aid like cavalry! some of the challenges thrown at the group were strategic… like raising $7 mil for a client in the next 4 weeks to more operational… delivering a project in the renewable sector in the next few months. The locals (if there is such a thing in Dubai!) clicked with the concept and we have a number of hosts to take the dinners forward in Dubai!

Three good meals with 9others in a week in 3 cities 🙂 my work here in Middle Earth is done, off to Blighty in 3 hours! OoRaH

One more option to look on her packing at it levitra vardenafil it of course to take not so simply because a form another and there is a wish to hold in hand her not so strongly. You can carry by me on a wide field.