Rafi Imran Amjad – A Seed of Pakistan’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

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10383551_10206483488466651_1712503382025291979_nEntrepreneurship seems to be a new fashion among young individuals all over the world. It seems as if every 22 year old puts on his hoodie and sets out to become an entrepreneur, becomes a Startup Founder and loves to call himself the CEO. “It isn’t that simple”, explains Rafi, one of the striving entrepreneurs from ‘Pakistan’s Tech Startup Ecosystem’.

Rafi Imran Amjad was born to a small family of four in Islamabad. His teachers say he was one of the smarter kids during his school times. Rafi found hard to learn and reproduce what was written in the book but tried to make some innovation out of his own; he was fortunate to have his parents and teachers realize that and they helped him polish his skill set.

“People told me that getting good grades during school was important to land a good job later in life. When I was young, I wanted to solve problems, innovate something new, sell that passion of mine and earn a living. Today, I am on the same track.”

IMG_8719 (1)Rafi is the Founder of Papafund, a Startup that makes online fundraising for personal desires to be more fun and less embarrassing. He has just launched the platform after 10 months of hard work. Rafi holds the prestige to be the winner of Startup Weekend, an entrepreneurial boot camp powered by Google. His previous Startup, TalLee, was among the World’s Top 50 Startups for 2014, as listed by the Kauffman Foundation in their GEW50 2014 list. He has been working pro-bono for the American Pakistan Foundation as the Communications Correspondent. These days, his pro-bono participation is with the Ambassador’s Youth Council, in affiliation with the US Embassy Islamabad.

“It was February 2015 when I was selected to attend a conference at Harvard University. I was incredibly delighted but had to face a hard time arranging finances for my air travel. Being an innovator by instinct, I came up with a solution to my problem; it didn’t exist anywhere on the internet. I wanted to make online fundraising for personal desires to be more fun and less embarrassing. I came back from Harvard and set off to make Papafund.”

It is not an easy job being an entrepreneur. You have to remain passionate, work long hours, face challenges and never give up. Rafi’s striving hard to make his platform spread in the US millennial market. And this is only one of the challenges in the journey.

10734229_10204969836866307_3279079300362573621_nRafi has a code of life that he follows with discipline. One of the things he always sticks to is helping fellow entrepreneurs out. “Entrepreneurship isn’t something you can go through all alone. It is a journey that becomes easy to travel if you help others out in your network; in his own words “it’s all about social learning”. He believes that the best way to give back to the country is to help put fellow entrepreneurs, spread goodness and help build the local entrepreneurship ecosystem. This is the sustainable way to give back.

The best investment in your future is to invest in yourself, just as Rafi is doing, along with hundreds others of his kind. Do something you are passionate for, as it is the best thing you can do for a living. Pakistan has a lot of potential; we have the best brains and our ecosystem is in the primary phase of evolution. It isn’t wise to depend on the government or the industry to dive in and make it boom; it is the local passionate entrepreneur who has the potential to drive the evolution of this country’s entrepreneurship ecosystem.

“To fellow entrepreneurs: Just do your own part and do it well enough; in the next 5 years Pakistan will be coming up with a Unicorn (a Startup with +1$B valuation). Although becoming a unicorn isn’t the only depiction of success, the world just tends to see it this way.”

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