Preston University is conducting one of the biggest event of Business Plan Competition in the arena named Preston Entrepreneurial Challenge. Teams in PEC are participating from all over Pakistan. Event have achieved a huge acknowledgement from all circles.
Team Avengers with Team ID PEC-077 participated in PEC15. Three girls in a cut throat competition proved that the girls aren’t less than anyone.
I conducted an interview with the winners o and would like to share an overview of their experience in Preston Entrepreneurial Challenge 15 and about their motivation to pursue entrepreneurship.
- Why did you choose to study Business subject and what are your future plans?
Well when girls of my age played with toys and dolls, I dominated amongst them by selling my toys to them against toys or the paper money made by me which shows my affiliation with business field at a very early age. It was groomed and further polished when I chose business subjects in Intermediate. Since my father is a business man and I always wanted to be like him. So, the selection of business field was the astute decision made on my part.For future studies I am planning to start my MBA program from one of the well reputed and prestigious institutions of Lahore but there is two years industry experience requirement to get admission in MBA. So I will be fulfilling this requirement and will go for masters afterwards. That is my plan but Allah is the best planner He definitely has better plans for me.
- From where did you get to know about the Preston Entrepreneurial Challenge, PEC15?*
On March 19, 2015 I, along with my team member Sumbal Tahir went to college early morning to attend the lecture ofInvestment Portfolio Management and our teacher finished 1.5 hour lecture in an hour so we were very glad about it. Walking happily in the corridors of the college we glanced at our notice board on which the advert of PEC’15 was displayed. We stopped and read the competition details and decided immediately that we will take part in this competition. Another friend standing very next to us came to college without having breakfast so she just forced us to stop starring at the notice board and to join her in the cafeteria. So we took the picture of that advert and went to cafeteria with a mind to have a detail analysis of the competition activities afterwards without noticing the fact that the competition will be held in Islamabad.
- What were your motives to participate in a Business Plan Competition?
I participated in this event to:
- Enlighten the minds of students and help them in career selection through innovative business idea. This area is underserved. So my motive was to fill in the loop holes and to make people aware about their passion and to follow their subject of interest.
- The idea is beneficial for both the people and the welfare of society. So my motive was to do something for my country.
- To check whether the industry’s professionals believe that the idea is viable for implementation
- How much time did you take to register for PEC15?
The last date to register for PEC 15 was 30 March, 2015. I filled the registration form on the last date because I wasn’t sure that I will get the permission to go to Islamabad or not. When I started filling the requirements of the form at 8:30 pm I realized that the registration won’t be possible without minimum three members and I called my team member Sumbal and informed her whole scenario. The only name which came to our mind was of Laraib because she is highly competent and a reliable person. I called her and told her all the details of the competition she agreed to join us. That’s how three team members turned out as “Team Avengers” with PEC Code- 077
- How did you conceive the business idea which you took to the Preston Entrepreneurial Challenge?
When we look around ourselves we see majority of the individualswho have been the victim of wrong career selection at the matriculation level. They wanted to be something else from what they have actually become today. So after observing the societal problem we came up with this idea which is for the welfare of the people. The root cause problem was underserved so that’s how we came up with this idea of career counselling.
- Was your university administration interested to send a team of theirs to PEC15?
Actually we told our business plan to one of our favourite teachers at Kinnaird. She really liked our idea and asked us to participate in the competition. When we were shortlisted for the Grand Finale of PEC’15 on the basis of executive summary then we went to our vice Principal and showed her the business proposal. She is such a nice lady. She admired our work and gave best wishes to us. Her words were “Whenever kcites participates in any event, they always return as winners. I hope you will come to my office as winners after the competition”. We are glad that we followed the tradition and didn’t let down the expectations. Kinnaird has given us many things and in return the wining title which we have given to our institute before graduation is the best ever gift from us.
- Planning to travel to another city, what was your parent’s reaction when you asked them? Were they supportive, if not how they were convinced?*
Talking with the parents today, in the 21st century I believe one should be prepared for sarcastic responses. I still remember the day when I told my mother about the competition her words were: “Nida! I know you will nail it” and she just pointed at the side table and said here we will be placing your winning trophy. I hugged her and went to my room thinking how supportive my mother is. But after two days when I actually started working on my business idea she called me to help her in the kitchen. When told her that Iwas working with my project. She was like which project? I said the one for which you gave me permission. Don’t tell me you took it seriously just leave your laptop and come to the kitchen right away.As I persuaded she threw different bombs of questions at my face. You are not going to Islamabad. Aren’t you aware about the country’s situation? How can we send our youngest child to a strange city knowing the fact that your college is not taking any responsibility? Basically she was having security concerns. I convinced my elder sister Farina, who is very cooperative and helpful to join me. She took an off from her university and decided to go with my team. We are highly thankful to her. After much buttering and flatter, my parents gave permission. My other team members Laraib and Sumbal got permission from their parents easily because they knew that my elder sister is going with us. She talked with their parents and convinced them that’s how we got permission.
- How was your experience at PEC 15?
It was a wonderful experience. Presenting in front of people all over the Pakistan having diverse backgrounds, norms and culture boosted the confidence of all the participants. The whole team of PEC’15 was so much cooperative, their hospitality, constant support was really up to the mark. They were ready to help all the teams with a smile on their faces. The whole event was well organized and the management team was excellent. I am sure that in the upcoming years, Preston University will produce many young and successful entrepreneurs of Pakistan InshAllah.
- Any interesting incident of PEC which you would like to share?
Did you ask any? Well I have many interesting incidents of PEC. Starting off with the very first day on 7thMay, 2015 we went to the Daewoo station knowing that the bus will leave Lahore at 10:30 am. We went to Daewoo station at 9:30 am and got to know that the route has been cancelled and we will reach Rawalpindi via Lahore to Peshawar route. When the bus started there were four talkative Pathans who communicated in Pashto and two Chinese boys talking in Chinese behind our seats and next to them there was a middle aged man who read the interview of Indian Actress Aliya throughout the journey and he didn’t talk with his wife who was probably knitting a sweater for him despite of a hot weather. We reached Rawalpindi at 5:00 pm with extreme headache. The management team was there and they hired a taxi for us to reach the hostel. We started talking in English and planned and discussed almost everything in the taxi. When we reached the hostel the taxi driver said “Baji! I think the main gate of the hostel is closed due to some security issues and we have to enter through the back gate”. He started reading the name of the hostel. We were totally shocked by his fluent English accent. Yes! we reached second largest beautiful capital of world, Islamabad. When we entered the hostel we were expecting that now the workers will talk with us in French: p
On 8th May, 2015 we were allotted with an industry for launch pad competition. We had to cover all the important aspects to present our idea timely. We all were exhausted. We made the presentation breakdown and divided the tasks. We went to the washroom for ablution and saw three snails dancing and enjoying in the cold water. We went outside the room yelling and screaming. Farina said that Sumbal you weren’t satisfied about the work division. Three snails are here to lessen your work burden and to give you some presentation tips haha.We went to the management team and asked for salt to kill those snails. After ten minutes they knocked the door and gave us two large packets of salt to kill the generations of snails so that they won’t disturb the participants starting from PEC 2015till PEC 2051 ever.
- You won the event and Junk Yard activity aswell, so how did you get the idea for making A Shelter for My Heart Melter?
When Sir Humayun announced that the junk yard activity begins. Initially we weren’t interested in taking part in it because we were very tired that day. So we casually went to the cafeteria and ordered our meal. Laraib took a big box of super crispfrom the dustbin of the cafeteria. I randomly started collecting empty water bottles of various sizes from the college campus. We sat near the window and started eating our meal. From the window we could hear the sounds of different participants shouting and making productive items in a hurry. From there we got an inspiration that why we are wasting our time. It was a rule that only two team members can take part in this activity. Farina and Sumbal went to auditorium. I, along with Laraib started thinking what innovative product we can make in a limited time.
We went to another building of Preston which was under construction in search of something useful. We saw different pieces of rope lying in an uncomfortable fashion. We started combining those pieces and planned to make a swing for kids. We found a big rod with sharp edges with which we made different holes in the box through which rope easily passed than we went inside the building and saw a big bone besides the staircase, which we were sure wasn’t of any animal. Now that was scary. But after watching that bone we instantly decided to make a shelter for puppies. I started making wheels of the cart with two empty water bottles to make the cart moveable while Laraib was decorating the cart by pasting printing papers around the cart and we decided the name “A shelter for my heart melter” for our puppy cart. Management person came to us and informed us that we were left with ten more minutes.
So we made a cute hut with small box of candy biscuit wrapper which served as handle to move the cart. We started moving towards the main auditorium and I found a tattered green shade near the construction area. I cut it into square shape and made a net cover for cart so that mosquitoes won’t disturb puppy while he’s asleep. Finally we entered the room where other teams along with their items were present. MashAllah all teams were so creative that after watching their creativity Laraib said to me “Yaariskokahinpeeche park kerdety : p” I added “Haankahengeyiska petrol khatamhogyahai” But when we went to the panel. One of the panellists said that she wants to take our cart with her and we won the Junk Yard Activity
- Can you please briefly tell us about your Business Idea?
Our idea was related to the counselling services of students studying in matriculation class of government schools of Pakistan, to help them in selecting a right career for them. InshAllah we are planning to implement our idea soon
- Did you take this idea to any other competition aswell?
No. We presented our business idea for the very first time in the Grand Finale of PEC’15
- Did PEC 15 help you in refining your Business plan?
Yes definitely. Firstly, our counselling service was for the students studying in the matriculation class of government schools, one of the panellists suggested that we should start giving our services to the students of eight standards of government schools. Secondly, the panel motivated us to pursue our venture by telling us the bigger scope of counselling service in Pakistan. So we will be amending our plan accordingly and will implement it.
- How much were you confident about the winning of this idea?
Actually we were hoping for the best but also prepared for the worst. I believe on the famous quotation by Vince Lombardi “Winning isn’t everything, but the will to win is everything.” We really wanted to win the competition. The mother’s day was on May 10th and we wanted to give our mothers the trophy as the mother’s day gift and JazakAllahit happened because we won the competition.
- Are you motivated enough to start up your own business venture?
Yes. We will be starting our business sooninshAllah. I must say the whole credit goes to the judge’s panel that motivated us in a convincing manner that we really want to execute our plan.
- You had a team of 3 members, how do you rate other members’ in this success?
I believe in synergy where 1+1≠2 yet 1+1=11. We won the competition because all the three member of my team gave their 33.3% which after summation made a 100% output from my team. I can’t imagine the success without my team members who weren’t only asset but served as jewels in triumph.
- Preston Entrepreneurial Challenge aims to promote entrepreneurial culture; do you think they are succeeding in it?
Yes. I really appreciate the idea of this challenge. PEC provides a platform to the young minds of Pakistan to present their ideas to the industry professionals. This effort of Preston University togather a pool of talent from all over the Pakistan is remarkable. Yes I believe they are promoting an entrepreneurial culture. My message to all the talented girls of Pakistan is to follow their dreams.
“Girls! You will meet many people in your life who will say that you cannot achieve success. But what you have to do is to turn around and say watch me, nailing it.”
- In your life, where do you rate this victory? *
It is just an excellent beginninginshAllah will have a long way to go. It’s a saying that the journey of thousand miles begins with a single step. I believe people always throw stones in your path and it depends on us that whether we make a wall or a bridge. Since we have the government of PLM-N so chances to make bridges are very higher
- What was the reaction of your college on your win?
Our institute really praised our efforts. They uploaded our picture on the official website of our college; our interview was uploaded on the Humans of Kinnaird page and college magazine. Above all our Principal Dr David said to us that she will be the first stakeholder whenever we will be starting our business plan. Her words really means to us. We are honoured and humbled.
- Anyone whom you would like to thank or appreciate? *
First of all thanks to Allah Almighty for his infinite blessings.We are very lucky and honoured to have so many wonderful people that lead us to accomplishment of this event. It is our glowing feeling to place on record our best regards, deepest sense of gratitude to our parents, friends and the whole management team of PEC’15 for their kindness and moral support during our competition. Special thanks goes to the Chief Organizer of the event Mr. Hassan Nisar for his judicious and precious guidance throughout the competition. The
co-operation is highly appreciated.
“I am really thankful to the winners of Preston Entrepreneurial Challenge 2015 for taking out some of their precious time to share their views, believes and observation with us. I am honored to interview them.
Further extending my gratitude, I would like to appreciate the efforts of Mr Hassan Nisar for helping me to get this interview.”…… Bakhtawar Mahmood