When did you first decide to become an Entrepreneur? And what study or skills you gained to become one?
I decided to become an entrepreneur when I was 12 years old and we had date and mango farms that our family owned. I used to wake up at 6 am for the day and had to feed breakfast to all the labourers.
Then I would go to the local wholesale market, to sell ripened mangoes. There I would talk to the customers and learn their
demands. After the sale is over, I would then instruct my labourers to peel a specific type of mangoes as per the market demand. Then I would get them to store the mangoes and wait for mangoes to ripen which would take 2-3 days. After this work, I would again arrange lunch for my labourers. We will again all go to the market and thus I learned the cycle of business as part of farming. I learned skills like
resource management, reading the market demand, managing employees, and managing finances by record keeping of how many mangoes were sold and how many could be used to make oil or be used for other products.
My parents made me go for further studies. I failed subjects in matric, in FSC and graduated with a 2.8 GPA (C grade) in Bachelors. I could not get into Bachelor of Business because I did not have enough marks, so I got into Bachelors of Telecommunications. For 8 months I used to study, the rest 4 months I ran my family business often wearing a “dhoti” and no one believed that I had a Bachelors.
What kind of services/products your business provides?
KNSTEL stands for Karamullah Noorjahan Sons Telecommunications which is under my father’s name Karamullah and mother Noorjahan. The business was seeded in Pano Akil, Sindh and officially launched in June 2015. KNSTEL provides consulting service related to the radio frequency (RF) of the mobile network globally. Our other services include IT Support, Resource Supply and Web Development. I turned the skills I learned in my Bachelor of Telecommunications into a business while my classmates were looking for jobs. Some of the countries we have served include Australia, Bahrain, Pakistan and United States.
What was the most difficult challenge of being an Entrepreneur?
Contrary to popular belief, we did not worry about electricity shortages in Pakistan as there were generators available. But getting our first assignment was the hardest as we were competing in the global market and gaining trust of the clients was particularly important. Once we got our first client, then the client chain followed through referral and recommendations of our services and trust was built.
What are the 3 successful highlights of your career and business? Is there any philanthropic work you are part of in Pakistan?
- I achieved my dream through registering KNSTEL in 2015.
- Expanding our business abroad and establishing our first overseas branch in Bahrain.
- Moving to US with my family and expanding the business further, giving my children a better life.
Some of the philanthropic work we did in Pakistan include:
- Setting up a technology centre in a small village in Balochistan in 2018.
- Founded Digital Sindh which platform to exchange digital ideas and skills and guide the people of Sindh and Pakistan to learn more about the digital world and its opportunities in 2020.
- We hope to set up an IT centre for rural women in Pakistan by 2023.
What messages would you like to give to Pakistani youth and other aspiring Entrepreneurs?
Message for Pakistanis: “Manzil Usko milti hai jiske sapnon mein jaan hoti hai”
“Pankh se kuch nahiin hota, hauslon se uraan hoti hai”- Only those reach their destination, whose dreams are kept alive. You do not need wings to fly, if you have the courage you will fly high.
Message for Aspiring Entrepreneurs: “Dollar Kamane keliye Mulk se Bahar Janay ki zaroorat nahiin hai- ap jahan ho, jidher ho, ap dollar ko wahan la sakte ho uskeliye apke paas eik digital gadget aur internet connection hona chahiyay. Because we are now living in a global village.” – You do not have to go abroad to make dollars. Wherever you are, you can bring the dollars to you. All you need is a gadget and an internet connection because we are now living in a global village.
Message for Youth: “Jab apko chand pe jana ho tow sitaron pe ruka nahiin karte, kyunki wo tow khud girtay rehtay hain.” – If you want to reach the moon, then do not stop at the stars because they fall anyway. “
Author: Rida Aleem Khan
About the Author: Rida Aleem Khan is an Australia-based Multicultural & Youth Advocate. She believes that sharing success stories of Overseas Pakistani entrepreneurs will encourage and inspire other Pakistani youth and guide them towards global enterprising trends.