Never give in, never give out. The mantra of a Pakistani entrepreneur that who defied odds and with her new venture virtual business card management solution has shown that it’s never too late to dream. Amna Shah, a Pakistani living abroad founded i-Card, a mobile application which allows users to share contact information by scanning a QR code that the app creates. Nowadays, where many of the mobile apps are boosting the productivity of people, e-card’s idea is welcoming thought.
Belonging to a conservative family, Amna knew that only way to achieve dreams and to become someone in the world was to fly high. With that in mind, she left for the American dream and consistently with one venture and another, kept her entrepreneurial fire aflame. After years of working in freight forwarding, international logistics, and finance Amna launched her own company AHS Consulting Inc. in 2009. Like most entrepreneurs, while searching for change she incorporated a mere thought
Like most entrepreneurs, while searching for change Amna incorporated a mere thought into an enterprise, with providing e-solutions for business cards. One day while sitting in an airplane she realized that the business card that she needed was sitting at her home desk and all the efforts to find the person online were in vain. This experience made her ascertain that aside from paper, there is no information exchange mechanism for the professionals. This epiphany led to the mobile application for exchanging contact information that is now available to all.
How i-Card Works?
i-Card is a simple and user-friendly mobile application where users can have their own electronic business cards. The users who wish to exchange information like this needs to make their profile at by signing up. The app has both individual and corporate options for the signing up. If one register as an individual then he/she can make their own e-business card, but if one signs as a corporation they can have a standard layout for all of their employees.
The mobile application is free for all of its users. i-Card generates a QR code, which the users can scan to get each other’s information. For corporate e-cards, businesses can even seek the help of the company to set up business cards for all its employees. Currently, the company has a single layout for all of their users and Amna has shared that she aims to incorporate live chat into the applications where the businesses can talk to their employees while using the single app.
Many companies are nowadays trying to end the reign of paper cards with different IT solutions but, Amna Shah relayed that she doesn’t think i-Card has any direct competitors. She further revealed that the e-business card solution provided by their business has a patent pending in the US and it doesn’t remotely resemble any other of the mobile application model.
The biggest challenge for i-Card according to Amna was making people understand the basic idea. She described that it was hard for people to contemplate the electronic business cards which caused a bit of nuisance in the start. This challenge was later overcome by the company as they developed different tutorials to demonstrate how i-Card works.
The i-Card user base has been growing ever since it went live. In the first month, they had around 50 users who grew into 200 in the second and third month. Currently, the mobile app has around 600 users without any marketing activity initiated by the company. Also, the business contacts are stored in the cloud, so if someone loses their smartphone, they can get their business cards back.
Amna has described that the biggest challenge for a woman entrepreneur is to conquer the boundaries and restrictions laid by the society and families in Pakistan. She is passionate about working towards social entrepreneurship and aims to make a change in other people lives through making education possible for others. In Pakistan, many new programs are also being offered by different institutions like ITU to bolster entrepreneurship spirit.