A talk by Jacqueline Novogratz, an American Entrepreneur, Founder & CEO ACUMEN

A talk by Jacqueline Novogratz, an American Entrepreneur, Founder & CEO ACUMEN

October 7: Jacqueline Novogratz, an American entrepreneur and Founder & CEO ACUMEN, visited IBA this Friday. Jacqueline Novogratz addressed the students of universities from all over Karachi at the G&T Auditorium. The session started as the host briefed about the dynamics of Entrepreneurial studies at IBA. She explained that The AMAN Center for Entrepreneurial Development (AMAN-CED) is envisioned to play a strategic role in promoting entrepreneurship in Pakistan and to create a new breed of youth and professionals, who believe in opportunity recognition and new venture creation. Its primary emphasize is to enable the new generation of Pakistani entrepreneurs to translate their ideas into enterprises. Accordingly, AMAN-CED aims to support the creation of new companies that add substantial jobs, incomes and revenues to Pakistan's economy. Moreover, along with a four year Bachelor's degree in Entrepreneurship, IBA also offers a number of certified courses to enhance the entrepreneurial education in Pakistan.

A talk by Jacqueline Novogratz, an American Entrepreneur, Founder & CEO ACUMEN

Addressing the audience, Dr. Farrukh Iqbal said, "I am really pleased to see the auditorium full of students." He welcomed and introduced the guest speaker to the audience by stating, "Miss Jacqueline Novogratz is one of the 25 smartest people of the decade and we are honored to listen to her today." He went on to say that Jacqueline Novogratz was born in the U.S., a graduate from the University of Virginia, where she studied Economics and International Relations and has an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Dr. Farrukh spoke about how the idea behind 'ACUMEN' is to provide capital to low-income enterprises in order to assist sustainability.

Greeting the enthusiastic audience with Assalamualikum, Ms. Jacqueline Novogratz said, "I believe that we have a chance to build a world in which all human beings can live with dignity, freedom and choice. It starts with imagining that world and then working together," She continued by sharing her journey to Pakistan which goes 15 years back. "This country has influenced me very deeply and it has layers and layers that are not possible for a human being to unveil." She then talked about her change of career from Banking to Social Entrepreneurship and how initially her family wasn't very supportive of leaving lucrative opportunities for a difficult career path. She elaborated that ACUMEN believes in investing in entrepreneurs that benefit and sustain the world such as Healthcare, Agriculture, Education etc. Shedding light on some of ACUMEN's initiatives, she mentioned an ambulance service that started in India with initially 5 ambulances but with the help of ACUMEN, today they have 6000 employees running around 3000 ambulances that have served around 4.1 Million people in India.

She also talked about "Ansaar Management Company" being managed by a man who moved from United States to Pakistan after 9/11 to build a low cost Housing communities for the urban poor. ACUMEN invested 1.2 million in his project to build around 1000 residential plots to cater 6000 people. Lastly, she discussed the off-grid solar game changers acquired by ACUMEN, which began investing in off-grid energy solutions in 2007 and today has the largest portfolio of companies committed to serving the poor. "A story after story is a journey and this is how we have come this far and look forward," she concluded as the floor was open for questions. Students put their queries forward, regarding hurdles in social entrepreneurship, which were responded in great depth.

A talk by Jacqueline Novogratz, an American Entrepreneur, Founder & CEO ACUMEN

Ms. Jacqueline Novogratz e also shed light upon her book, "The blue sweater", which was inspired by an encounter she had while in Kigali, Rwanda. During a routine jog in her early 20's, Novogratz spotted a boy who was wearing a distinct blue sweater that upon closer inspection, turned out to be the same blue sweater she had donated to her local Goodwill a decade earlier. That blue sweater, with its decorations of a snow-capped mountain, two zebras and stripes, had her name on it. This encounter led Novogratz to realize the interconnectedness of our world, which influences her work today. She also emphasized that she believed in the philosophy of learning by doing, by taking initiative and tackling issues head on.

Concluding the session, Dr. Shahid Qureshi, Director CED said, 'Sometimes opportunities are created and sometimes they are discovered and such is Social Enterprise'. He said that the IBA AMAN CED had opened a window of entrepreneurship for people with entrepreneurial skills without any discrimination of religion, class or background. 'People with entrepreneurial skills are more than welcome at AMAN CED and we do our best to assist them and hone their skills through our various programs to strengthen and establish their business ventures' said Dr. Shahid. To show our appreciation for Ms. Jacqueline Novogratz enlightening and heartfelt session, the Dean & Director IBA, Dr. Farrukh Iqbal along with entrepreneurial students presented Ms. Jacqueline Novogratz with some souvenirs to remind her of IBA.

IBA - Leadership & Ideas for Tomorrow