Muhammad Nasrullah, founder of, takes obstacles in his stride. In every challenge, there is an opportunity for the entrepreneur to capitalize upon and take advantage of.

Q: How do market conditions affect the entrepreneur?

A: The economic environment has a key impact on how people perceive risks, innovation and business.

In developing countries, the majority of people are more concerned with surviving the month, the week or the day, and are essentially living from hand-to-mouth. The more troubled a place is, the more opportunity there is for the entrepreneur to capitalize upon by solving those problems.

More innovation, however, occurs when baseline needs are met. Thus more innovation takes place in the developed world where political instability, poverty, power cuts are not hindering innovators.

Q: Where does external support fit in, in the scheme of things?

A: In recent years more help has been coming from academia by the opening up of their resources for startups: office space, lab usage, internet access, computers, consulting. Private organizations are active in this area but generally because there is almost no funding for startups in Pakistan in terms of venture support, funding from this source remains generally underdeveloped.

Q: What obstacles do entrepreneurs face when trying to turn their ideas into products and services?

A: The most common issues are:

Finding enough resources to reach proof-of-concept of the idea

Monetizing the idea

Lack of trust for small companies by potential clients

High turnover of employees

Lower quality talent due to brain drain (talented people leaving Pakistan)

Lack of liquidity in the market

Q: How do entrepreneurs foster new ways of acting and thinking. Has this led to any mindset changes? Have you seen any official thinking changes as a result of entrepreneurs?

A: Entrepreneurship essentially is about challenging the status quo by doing things that have not been done before. It is about challenging conventional thinking. Most great ideas always sound dumb at the outset. But once successful, everyone thinks it was obvious. Eventually, this will cause mindset shifting; however, this critical mass has not been reached in Pakistan. Next-door-neighbor India has enough middle-class entrepreneurial success stories to have created a sizable innovation industry with companies like FlipKart raising US$100 million in funding.

Q: What supporting institutions/initiatives help innovators to succeed – private and public sector, big and small?

A: In Pakistan in particular: IT tax holidays, academic institutions generating quality candidates, banking loans (though they barely are available for startups) help.

Q: What challenges are faced when entrepreneurs are trying to expand their business?

A: This depends upon the business. The current biggest common problem is lack of an easy payment platform like credit cards in Pakistan.

Q: What are the best success stories?

A: One story is, a Pakistan-based company competing with giants like all from Islamabad with funding from abroad (Adobe). Another is TRG, a Pakistani company acquiring US and other international companies.

Q: What tools or institutions do entrepreneurs need to grow small businesses into larger companies?

A: Entrepreneurs should be self-reliant but the following are very useful:

1. Incubators
2. Academic Institutes
3. Venture Firms
4. Investors (private, friends)

About Muhammad Nasrullah
Muhammad Nasrullah hails from Lahore, the second most populous city in Pakistan. Muhammad Nasrullah’s company has recently been named as one of Asia’s top 100 most innovative companies by Red Herring:
Pring is Pakistan’s largest social network with more than 4,500,000 users.

Author's Bio: 

About Susan McKenzie
I am an English specialist with I CAN READ. I have worked for major British institutions: British Council, British High Commission, British Railways Board and Linguaphone. I am a London-trained lawyer and have been the public affairs officer at the British High Commission, Singapore, as well as an editor in an international book publishing house and a national magazine. I am also co-author of two law books: English Legal System and Company Law, published by Blackstone, Oxford University Press. I am an Ambassador of Peace (Universal Peace Federation and Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace). Connect: Email!/abetoday