An exhilarating day
As I walked around nervous as hell that something would go wrong, all I saw was people who were there to make a difference, people who were there to seek and offer employment, people who were there to learn, people who were there to share. It was truly an amazing atmosphere.
Without the sponsors none of this would have been possible so thank you BearingPoint and Rodney Rahman for coming to the fore and being the lead sponsor of the event nationally. The active BearingPoint team provided counseling, held a lucky draw every two hours, and offered tea, coffee and snacks through the day … not to mention offered jobs to the kids.
PixSense was the other sponsor who was there with a large team – in the lead was our friend Adnan Agboatwalla who manned the booth with his colleagues and was an active member in the workshops, panel discussions and of course the SI event which was sponsored by PixSense.
Our other sponsor Intel was there with a strong team too and a huge kiosk to spread the word regarding the Intel Youth Network. And last but not least we also had Microsoft as a sponsor.
The Ambassadors from Mohammad Ali Jinnah University and CBM, who were in the black P@SHA branded t-shirts, were all over the place, offered help to exhibitors and assisted wherever necessary. They were terrific and no amount of praise that we shower on them will be enough. They were really so motivated and handled everything to perfection.
The speakers & panelists were also out of this world. They presented, they shared, they answered every question with extreme patience and in as much detail as was required.
Thanks to Nauman Sheikh for running an amazing Resume Writing session. All of us learnt something from it, and the kids surrounded him for long afterwards asking him all sorts of questions that they couldn’t ask during the session. He was available to them all day although I had to throw him and his adoring fans out after about an hour when the next session was about to start.
The second workshop was on Presentation Skills. I was the speaker and thought I was doing very well until Jawwad Farid and Adnan Agboatwalla walked in to heckle. Well i can be one smart cookie at times, so as soon as I saw them I asked them to join me on stage. Such brilliant presenters would indeed add value, I said. They are smarter still and threw the ball in the court of the audience asking them all sorts of questions. At this stage the session turned into a very interactive one. It got even better when Ashraf Kapadia and Adnan Lawai joined the panel. I must admit that it was a more valuable experience for the attendees than would have happened if I had been the only one presenting. Thanks guys!
If the panel thought they were now off the hook, they were wrong. The next session was what they had actually been invited for. It was on Choosing a Career – whether to join an MNC, a local startup or start your own venture.
Ashraf Kapadia, having put in 30 years at IBM, was asked to hold the fort for the MNCs while the rest of the panel was expected to push heavily for local companies or new ventures. The discussion was very balanced with the advantages and disadvantages of each being covered. Lots of interesting questions helped to make it an extremely stimulating experience for the panel as well as the attendees.
This was followed by the Startup Insiders session. Most of the participants stayed on for this although we had to throw them out for a while in order to change the setup of the room and make it more conducive for an SI session.
The theme was “How to develop a Business Plan”. We had thought we would make it a hands-on session with young people bringing in their ideas to get help with the initial stages of the Plan. Unfortunately that didn’t happen because it was a much larger number of people – a lot of them first-timers so we had to pretty much keep it a question-answer session. Not as much fun as previous Karachi sessions, but nonetheless a lot of useful points came through and loads of questions were answered. The panel from the previous session stayed and more members were added. So Hassan Basharat of Goodcore Software and Nauman Sheikh of Credit Chek (nope he didn’t leave – he was on a high and just stayed on) joined the rest of the panel to field the many questions that were put to them. Some playacting (or role playing) also took place as can be seen from the picture below.
A few of the regular SI attendees who wanted to discuss a Business Plan were asked to get in touch with us offline so that they could be given dedicated time. It’s scary but some have actually left their jobs to start ventures. Are we sowing the seeds of entrepreneurship or are we just showing them the possibilities and letting them discover their true potential? Maybe a bit of both.
What pleased many of us most was the participation from younger executives. They not only helped with the counseling efforts, they also ran the Special Interest Group sessions and helped fresh graduates with their CVs and I even made sure that some of them faced the cameras and spoke to the media. This kind of participation from them gives us all hope that we are indeed part of a growing and vibrant industry.
As usual, the Counseling sessions were a great hit and people like Dr. Zahir Syed, Azhar Rizvi, Jawwad Farid, Ashraf Kapadia, Adnan Agboatwalla, Arshad Khalil, Arif Irfanullah, Yusuf Jan, Sajid Hameed, Hassan Basharat and lots of others sat and chatted with the kids and helped them clear some of the confusion regarding their career
It would be remiss of me not to acknowledge the active role played by Rabia Garib and her team. They have become an integral part of our activities over the years and have actively promoted our successes and the issues facing us. Thank you Rabia and Salaina. It is great to have you on our side.
There were lots of people who helped to make this event a success and my thanks go out to all of them. Official thank you letters will be sent out but this appreciation comes from the heart.
More photos and videos are available on netxpress.com.pk.
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