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LAHORE – Muhammad Siddique who runs the Pakistani Social Entrepreneurship Academy – a project of Al-Sharif Foundation – has a dream: “I want to train one million entrepreneurs in Pakistan in the next 12 months so they too can support themselves and their families.”
A Pakistani-American, now based in Atlanta in the US, Siddique was recently in Lahore. In an interview with Daily Times, he said that he was doing self-fundraising entrepreneurial philanthropy. “We are not delivering funds to individuals but we are providing financial assistance to young people to learn how to start their work,” he said.
“We are spending about $100 on one entrepreneur for his or her training in his or her field of interest.” The trained entrepreneur is to return the money as soon as possible. “So we are using the returned money on new people to train,” he said. “Basically, we’re recycling money on individuals to enter business world as entrepreneur.”
Siddique said that the Al-Sharif Foundation was providing basic essentials to the poor people like clean water, food, clothing, education, school construction besides cash assistance. In Pakistan, side business becomes much more mainstream, as compared to past years, he said, adding this country needs more people to work as freelancers and self-employed individuals.
“One thing is clear that coming up with a good idea isn’t a static process; it involves a lot of trial and error,” he said. “We are giving training to individuals from choosing their niche to developing their skills,” said Siddique who always wanted to focus on helping people, so he did two things. He said that he would facilitate joint venture deals by introducing and connecting successful people together.
“I learned how to meet influential people, make a good impression by giving first, determine their needs or problems, then help connect them with someone who has the solution. I have done this over 1,000 times,” he said.