The Link Between Heritage Preservation and Social Enterprise

The Link Between Heritage Preservation and Social Enterprise

The idea for Reimagining Pakistan (RPK), a heritage preservation initiative by SEED sprouted from the passion we had for our heritage, specifically architectural heritage. To have a comprehensive approach and work simultaneously on restoration of dilapidated heritage sites of the country, documenting them, creating sustainability and awareness programmes made logical sense and appeased the emotional side of ours too, one that made us disappointed at the rapid detachment of people with the past and our origins. If we wanted this to turn into a movement, then this was the path to take; not leaving any aspect of heritage preservation unattended and creating an atmosphere along the way where throngs of people joined the brigade. What made even more logical sense was to turn it into a social enterprise. We have been asked numerous times why ‘Reimagining Pakistan’ could not be a not-for-profit organisation. The answer was simple. We wanted to scale it up so that it would give us the liberty to reinvest into far more wide-scale heritage projects that we could save from deterioration and destruction.

RPK COVERWe at SEED, have a simple modus operandi: we come across an idea or come up with an idea that has potential and has a social impact, we invest, we multiply/scale up! The more we escalate in number, projects or ventures with a social impact, the more people are positively impacted. This does not end here; we believe in making the community self-sufficient hence creating a cycle. Even more than that, we strive to encourage our youth to explore and discover their entrepreneurial streak, and encourage and promote them to broaden the entrepreneurial spectrum.

Reimagining Pakistan (RPK) is a social venture in the true sense and we envision a more culturally enriched, and architecturally and historically preserved heritage in the country as a result of this initiative. From an idea to reality, RPK has successfully managed to form strong ties with the architect and conservationists fraternity and has brought the public and private sector on the same platform. This in itself was no mean feat but one that was imperative if we wanted to create a massive impact. What started off in Karachi soon created a stir in other parts of the country where people from all sectors showed strong faith in the intentions and performance of Reimagining Pakistan and SEED. RPK now has interesting projects coming up in not just Karachi but also in Lahore. On the semi-urban and rural side, interior Sind and historically significant towns of Punjab are next on the agenda. From there Khyber Pakhtunkhwa must also be considered as a large part of it is covered with a lot of heritage buildings, all of which need to be listed or documented if not completely restored before a substantial part becomes prey to urbanization.

Faraz Khan Speaks at OPEN London Conference at Imperial College

Faraz Khan Speaks at OPEN London Conference at Imperial College

Sunday, 20th of October marked the launch of OPEN-London – a resounding success! 240 individuals came together to bring about an evolutionary leap for the London Chapter of OPEN-Global, a not-for-profit organisation, whose focus is promotion of entrepreneurship and professional growth. A secular and non-political organisation with prosperity and growth as its Raison d’être.

On day zero in June 2011, it was four near strangers at Smith and Nephew’s offices on Adam Street in London; this past weekend it was 240 representing technology, finance, social entrepreneurship and the healthcare sector. From industry leaders, rising stars, established, growing to wobbling entrepreneurs, a former prime minister to a Hollywood star, the entire spectrum was covered. Though LA, Washington DC, New York, Manchester, Bristol, Brighton, Birmingham, Canterbury were all represented, it was mostly a London affair.

Keynote speakers included Seema Aziz of Care Foundation, educating 150,000 children studying in 225 schools; former Prime Minister of Pakistan Mr Shaukat Aziz, Faraz Khan, CEO & Co-Founder SEED and Faran Tahir, of StarTrek, Elysium, Iron Man and most recently Escape Plan fame. There were four separate breakout sessions covering social entrepreneurship, technology, finance and healthcare with an equally impressive line up of panelists. The Alexander Fleming Building of Imperial College, London where the launch event was held, was a fitting venue for pioneers of sorts – named after an epic pioneer himself.

OPEN-London – to learn, share, connect, improve, seize and grow; individually, as a community in London and beyond.

To learn more about OPEN-London please visit the website on and follow us on @Open_London.




FK Squared – The Revival of Reading and Writing!

 FK Squared - The Revival of Reading and Writing!

Many ask how a publishing house claims to create a social impact. There is a difference between a socially responsible publishing house and one that brings a positive change in the society. While there have been ventures that have been around for decades, catering to different sets of readers and dealing in specific genres of books; FK Squared, the publishing house by SEED is set to revive the reading and writing culture in Pakistan and showcase local writers globally. The concept is simple yet has many aspects that might have been overlooked until now. The realization that almost in every other house, there exists a writer if not more, and many produce written content in some form or the other, regardless of age, or class; led to the beginning of a literary drive. Children, teenagers and adults, all want to be published if they find expression through writing. However, there was a dearth of opportunities to do so until recently.

2It was this thought that gave birth to the idea of a publishing house that would provide a platform to writers of all genres to get their work published either online or in print. We believe that creativity is strongly aligned with effective learning and thinking. In particular, if we want children to learn to cope with uncertainty, economic and technological changes; attention needs to be diverted to the potential of creativity. In an educational setting creativity is designed to bring new, different and unexpected responses to a situation and enhances fluency, flexibility and originality in students. Creative tasks motivate students to develop social and interpersonal skills.

FK Squared has a multi-fold approach to accomplish this mission: the first is to cater to a market of young readers in Pakistan by publishing books written by children for children. This objective will be achieved by providing an opportunity to young writers to have their work – both poetry and prose to be published.

The initiation of ‘Lailamah’s Story Writing Club’ is the second strategy that will further help this mission. The aim of this club is to give young children an opportunity to submit their work to be published online on FK Squared website.


FK Squared is also initiating a ‘Creative Writing Drive’ across Pakistan, starting from Karachi. The objective of this creative writing drive is to explore and encourage the literary talent present in children within the age bracket of 8 years to 16 years. The work submitted will be judged on the quality of the writing and the literary prowess these young writers have. The winners will be awarded with scholarships and the 50 best stories from the competition will be printed and published in the form of an anthology of short stories.

FK Squared has recently published four titles: Pukh Theory - Pakistan’s first business parable that brings to attention the power of succession planning in an enterprise; Midlife and Naked - a biography of two entrePakineurs and their ongoing journey laced with hurdles, success, failures, and the simple joys of life; The Hajj Journey of Lailamah Giselle Khan and The Euro Journey of Lailamah Giselle Khan - the first two of a series of travelogues by Pakistan’s youngest author. The books were also launched at Kinokuniya Bookstore, Dubai. There are a number of other interesting and diverse titles that will soon be published and range from fiction, books on management and poetry. FK Squared continues its mission to create an environment where literary activities are not just revived in children but all those with literary intent and expression, are given an opportunity to be published and read.

Potential Enterprise Mapping Strategy (PEMS)

Potential Enterprise Mapping Strategy (PEMS)

When we talk about untapped potential, we often forget our microenterprises operating in Pakistan and possessing the potential to contribute between $70-90 billion to the country’s GDP. However the owners of these small businesses are largely unaware of the fact that even at this scale, they can create a strong innovative business model and as a result, reap the benefits that come with it.

All around us, these small-scale enterprises including setups run by cobblers, carpenters, tailors, drycleaners, flower shops as well as thaylay wallas (street vendors/hawkers) and chai dhabas (tea houses), are operating and serving their customers on a daily basis.

Potential Enterprise Mapping Strategy (PEMS) started as a research project by SEED with a team of two young individuals Faizan Quadri and Talha Nadeem, who had a face-to-face interaction with 400 microenterprise owners during interviews designed to uncover the operational difficulties encountered, nature of business acumen possessed and the future potential growth of theses businesses. Although most of them keen to work hard and invest a lot of time and effort in their businesses, unfortunately a vast majority of these small business owners lack a long-term vision and find it difficult to stray from their day-to-day mechanical activities.

421468_301865763273914_1070427777_nHence, SEED brought forward PEMS, to unlock the hidden potential of these microenterprises and to bring about a change in their mindsets and revolutionize the business landscape overall. PEMS team has now developed a training programme not just for the microenterprise owners but also for those who might want to take this cause further by training these small-scale business owners themselves.

Any cause that is taken forward by a large segment of the society always has better and a more noticeable impact.  A forward-thinking model for this particular part of our working population and helping them stretch their minds beyond their short-term goals is the core of this initiative. It is important to understand that whatever information or knowledge that has been accumulated for this purpose, must be such that is easy for these microenterprise owners to process, make use of and restructure their enterprises.  It is not just them who will benefit form this exercise, but society at large and the economy of the country will also reap the fruit. Microenterprises form a large proportion of the country’s labour force mostly operating in the informal sector (outside the tax net). If these enterprises grow with time and start maintaining formal records and paying taxes, society as a whole will receive the benefit of a greater tax revenue and a more even distribution of the tax burden. Moreover, with the growth of these microenterprises, more employment opportunities will be created with an inevitable decline in street crime that is partly associated with the rise in unemployment. The dynamics of our economy can change to a large extent, provided we find innovative solutions to problems that we might have been oblivious to until now, and to implement these ideas with full force.

The Story Behind SEED Incubation Centre

The Story Behind SEED Incubation Centre

The reality? There is no story behind it! There was a need and no solution, so it was no rocket science to initiate a project where aspiring entrepreneurs and startups could benefit from office space and facilities at subsidized rates. But the most important feature that makes us the first incubation centre here of its kind is the mentoring that is provided to the entrepreneurs.

We as a nation, are not only extremely resilient but very enterprising too. With time, we see a larger number of young people taking the road that was supposedly ‘less travelled’ till some time back. The entrepreneurial spirit is rapidly becoming more prominent. What was held back by inhibitions and myths, is now ready to take a plunge. However, these young enterprising individuals do need a direction and are often bound by the fear that they might be taking the wrong path rather than the conventional ‘applying for a job’ option. It is true that being unconventional in this regard is always risky. But with it, there are rewards once the venture takes off.


SEED Incubation Centre is a joint venture with fnck ventures and was launched on September 21, 2013, with Mr. Sarfaraz Rehman, CEO Engro Foods present there to support the initiative. With mentors who will provide their expert insight on developing business strategies via one-on-one meetings and email/Skype communication, it would be several steps forward in further developing the business acumen of  these enterprising minds. Mentoring will also include guest-speaker sessions with leading entrepreneurs and webinar coaching by specialists who will provide pro-bono tips.

Once a seedling has been appointed a mentor, they can ask specific questions and look for guidance regarding their business. Those with specific queries which are confidential in nature, pertaining mainly to business plans, can contact our in-house experts directly by emailing us on

The mentor panel is diverse, with mentors ranging from the UK, Australia, India, besides Pakistan and includes: myself, Khusro Ansari – Director & Co-Founder, SEED; Farhad Karamally – Trainer/Consultant; Nadeem Chawhan – Founding Director & CEO Navitus, Sarfarz Rehman – CEO Engro Foods; Kalsoom Lakhani – Founder/CEO Invest2Innovate; Tommy Hutchinson – Founder & CEO i-genius; Prajakt Raut – Vice President, Indian Angel Network and Founder, The Hub for Startups; and Kelly Anne Hutchinson – Director, Khonex.

SEED has the same ideology and method for this initiative as it has for many of its other, now strongly established ventures; start small, multiply, scale up! The idea behind it is to have a far better reach in as many areas of the country as possible to help startups through their initial hurdles and to promote entrepreneurship all across the country. SEED however focuses mainly on Social Entrepreneurship as is evident from all of our ventures and initiatives that are based on one core belief – create a strong social impact. Hence, business ideas with the potential of having a social impact are encouraged and promoted by SEED.

With the launch of our incubation centre in Karachi at the strategic location, Zamzama, we are taking this forward to other major cities of Pakistan very soon. For updates, check the website and our facebook page.



Faraz Khan and Khusro Ansari featured in Khaleej Times as the ‘Dynamic Duo’

Faraz Khan and Khusro Ansari featured in Khaleej Times as the 'Dynamic Duo'

Khaleej Times

Faisal Aziz / 27 September 2013

For the top executives of a fast growing company, the office in Karachi is highly informal. In the basement of a small building, Faraz Khan and Khusro Ansari sit on their chairs a few yards apart, and hardly will you find the feel of a corporate environment, where peons and secretaries move around every now and then. Instead, it’s as casual as it can get.

While Faraz talks to Khaleej Times about his humble beginnings and ambitions, marketing guru Khusro continues with his work, engaging in serious discussions with visiting guests as well as staff members. The two young men are the characters around which the soon-to-be-launched book, Midlife and Naked, revolves. “This was our first office, and we started from here, and now we don’t feel like moving out of this place,” explains Faraz.

Their company, Social Entrepreneurship and Equity Development (SEED) was founded in 2009 and has since expanded significantly. The duo is a strong believer in the potential of social entrepreneurship and their company serves as a platform for the development and ?the facilitation of entrepreneurship in Pakistan.

It also acts as a repository of knowledge, creating a sphere of a diverse range of information — academic, theoretical, practical and experiential — for visionaries and entrepreneurs, particularly those with a social mandate.

According to the dynamic duo, development is an important part of SEED’s agenda. This approach emphasises on creating and providing equal opportunities for people in the community to help them dev-elop and enhance their skills and talents. They also believe in contributing to the development of a viable business idea so that the road from opportunity to outcome has lesser hurdles.

“Business viability and social impact are the two most important things. SEED invests in that idea, thus creating an environment conducive for transforming ideas into reality,” said Faraz. “You need to educate the huge masses here about entrepreneurial acumen and social entrepreneurial acumen. We will put in money in any initiative but it needs to be sustainable as well.” The writer of the book, Shaista Ayesha, has spent seven years of her life teaching university students, and her expertise includes subjects like entrepreneurship.

For her, success is generally a highly overrated phenomenon and, as a result, it fails to relate to average people. For her, the task of writing the biography of the two growing entrepreneurs was a very interesting one. “The book is their biography, but it’s not about success alone, as these two are still evolving,” said Shaista, sitting opposite the main characters of her book. “It is their story — a story about their journey as it goes on and this is what makes it real.”

According to Shaista, the book is unconventional because it isn’t written in the way biographies are narrated. The first three chapters of the book narrates how Faraz and Khu-sro have evolved into present-day entrepreneurs. The remaining part of the book discusses why failure is an important part of the learning process, why success is overrated and how passion is the foundation for sustainable ventures.

“They emphasise the importance of ‘we’ in contrast to ‘me’ and both truly believe that development and progress in Pakistan can be achieved if the Pakistani nation recognises its entrepreneurial spark and spirit,” she said. “A combination of this entrepreneurial talent and collective efforts instead of isolated endeavours can help to achieve the goal of progress.” The book is set to rel-ease in Dubai on September 29.

Pakistan’s Global Social Entrepreneur – Blue Chip Magazine (March 2013)

Faraz Khan included in the prestigious ‘Power100 Leader’ in London. He was also a nominee and one of three finalists for the ‘Future Leader of the Year’.

How Shark Tank is Changing Angel Investing

How Shark Tank is Changing Angel Investing

Want to get an angel investor to pony up money for your startup? Better be ready with a snappy pitch that can beat the competition.

Thanks to the popularity of the ABC reality showShark Tank, more and more entrepreneurs are finding that angel investors are open to hearing their pitch if they present it in a quick, contest-style format. Sure, there are still plenty of angel connections happening from networking and pitching individual investors. But the opportunities to get in front of an angel without an introduction at a competition are growing.

Related: The Email That Snagged an Investment from Shark Tank’s Mark Cuban

How does pitching an angel panel work outside of Hollywood? Here’s a look at the setup for a couple of upcoming Shark Tank-style angel pitching non-televised events happening around the country:

Guppy Tank This southern California competition is billed as “Shark Tank without the cameras and drama.” Candidates are encouraged to submit online applications and then the finalists will present their ideas to an investor panel on Oct. 25.

The angel team has $500,000 in funding that it will award in the form of equity investments and loans to between two and ten area startups. Sponsor Super G Funding, which operates the business-loan site BizCash, is facilitating the funding. The angels who will judge haven’t been announced. Applications are being accepted through Oct.15, and this one’s only open to businesses based in the region that are already operating, but need capital to grow.

Shark Tank at FutureM- Also on Oct. 25, $100,000 is up for grabs at a Shark Tank-style pitch event at the FutureM (the M is for marketing) conference in Boston. Funding will be provided byBoston Seed Capital, Atlas Venture, Hubspot co-founder Dharmesh Shah and an anonymous investor.

Making the funding decisions are a shark panel including Katie Rae who manages TechStars’ Boston incubator program, another TechStars mentor, Mike Troiano, Atlas Vdenture’s Fred Destin, and Boston Seed’s Peter Blacklow. This one’s hosted by angel investor Dave Balter of the incubator BzzAgent.

Related: The Shark Tank Effect: Top Success Stories from the First 3 Seasons

These local versions of a Shark Tank pitch challenge may not have the cameras or offer the huge exposure of being on a national TV show, but they do offer some capital and exposure to a group of angels. For some startups looking for growth capital, scoring at a local event may be the next best thing


Remembering Steve Jobs: One Year Later

Remembering Steve Jobs: One Year Later
Time flies. It’s been exactly one year since Apple co-founder, chairman and CEO Steve Jobs died at age 56. But while a year has passed, Jobs’ long, respected list of innovations and accomplishments has not been forgotten.

Apple has posted a tribute video it created honoring Jobs’ life on its homepage today, and CEO Tim Cook also wrote a note, which reads in part:

“One of the greatest gifts Steve gave to the world is Apple. No company has ever inspired such creativity or set such high standards for itself. Our values originated from Steve and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple. We share the great privilege and responsibility of carrying his legacy into the future.”

Indeed, it was Jobs’ vision for a “computer for the rest of us” that yielded a host of products and services that have revolutionized the tech industry. Under his visionary leadership, Apple churned out wildly-popular products such as the iPod and iTunes, the iPhone and iPad. And let’s not forget his return to the Apple in 1997 when he dramatically restructured the company a saved it from the brink of failure.

In more ways than one, Jobs will forever be a leader that future entrepreneurs remember and draw inspiration from.