Google defines an entrepreneur as “a person who sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit” but it fails to recognize the soul of the said entrepreneurs who become a success story and our heroes on the basis of their sheer will and courageous decisions. One such success story belongs to a Pakistani serial entrepreneur Faiza Yousuf, who continues to manage an enterprise and is also building a community for the women in tech.
Faiza is very ardent when it comes to supporting women entrepreneurs in technology or industry as a whole, which inspires her to continue forward with her work. Talking about her entrepreneurial ventures with MORE, Faiza revealed that her path towards being a serial entrepreneur started with Frontal Labs, a software development company that was later closed because her partner left the country.
The next step in her entrepreneurial career led to OuttaBox, a consulting company that provides two basic services; one is helping small businesses (focusing mainly on women-founded businesses) get digitized and integrating IT into their operations. Secondly, OuttaBox also helps small businesses test out their applications and products and advises them if there are to be any improvements.
Faiza described that the Pakistani startup ecosystem is still in its initial developmental stage. She explained that, unlike the developed countries, we are yet to explore different entrepreneurial options and opportunities, whether they are related to technology or any other sector. Pakistan sees growth and expansion in its IT sector, and Faiza is optimistic about the future it seems to promise.
Pakistan sees growth and expansion in its IT sector, and Faiza is optimistic about the future it seems to promise.
Apart from being an entrepreneur, Faiza is also a community builder and has a founded TestersTestified, a software testing community focused on bringing together professionals, who evaluate the quality of software products. Under this umbrella, Faiza has been involved with organizing different workshops and programs designed to encourage young people to get into this profession.
For Faiza, the idea that she can make a positive impact in someone’s life drives her as an entrepreneur
For Faiza, the idea that she can make a positive impact in someone’s life drives her as an entrepreneur. While talking about her passions she said: “What drives me towards my work is the knowledge that what I am doing is making a little bit of difference. So when I see someone starting their own company or someone whom I’ve helped doing something good, it is bound to create a ripple effect towards change, which is all the motivation that I need.”
Faiza is passionate about creating a community for women in tech and wants to empower the women with technology in their businesses
She is passionate about creating a community for women in tech and right now is taking a pause from TestersTestified to focus on new opportunities to empower the women with technology in their businesses, and also hopes that she can combine the two communities in the future. Faiza relayed that one of the barriers to a woman’s entrepreneurial career is that many women don’t speak up for themselves. This is also a reason why she wants to create a community for women where they can interact.
Faiza described that two main challenges tested her entrepreneurial ventures; one of them was the lack of awareness among people about what a consultation service is supposed to be and how it will work. The second one was that; for a company that starts the conversation about helping women entrepreneurs, people assume that the company has developed a gender boundary and does not cater to any other businesses.
From a perspective of a woman entrepreneur, Faiza said that there are three prevailing challenges that women have to face in a battle to create their own identity in Pakistan. These include; family support, particularly parents who can give women the ultimate confidence to conquer the world. Secondly, people in the industry tend not to take women seriously and have a perception that her career is not something that she’ll pursue later on in life and finally, there is a lack of resources available to women in our society who seek entrepreneurship, as compared to the men. Women get fewer mentors and sponsors, who can help them towards achieving their career goals.
In addition to being an entrepreneur and a community builder, Faiza also loves to teach and takes time out of her entrepreneurial ventures to teach others about her specialized skills. Faiza advises all the young and budding entrepreneurs, first to run their ideas by someone who is an expert in the related field before spending a massive amount of time, energy, and money on a venture. Secondly, she relays that it’s very important to communicate to the young graduates that entrepreneurship is not for everyone and it is okay because if everyone can start a business, no one would be available to work in the said enterprise.