IFC Helps Entrepreneurs With First Steps

Learning how to start and run a business often needs a guiding hand. For twenty-one year old Usama Hamid Khan, an IFC-backed Diploma in Entrepreneurship put him on the right track.

Usama HamidIn his native Pakistan, a country of 180 million people, Khan’s choice to start his own private business – has helped him create a job for himself and a small team of employees. In a nation where over 90 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) originates from the private sector, nearly 70 percent of that comes from small firms. Khan borrowed capital from his father, yet was anxious about his ability to manage the risk. Luckily, the diploma offered by Management Development Institute (MDi) in collaboration with IFC’s Business Edge program taught him how to budget his investment, giving him a boost of confidence to take the leap and become the first person in his family to run his own business.

The course taught me how to be my own boss, how to plan my own business, and how to start an entrepreneurial venture,” he said. “The trainers had hands on experience and were entrepreneurs themselves.”

Backed by IFC and delivered by certified local trainers, Business Edge is a world-class training system that strengthens the management skills of owners, managers and staff of small and medium-sized enterprises (SME’s). Youth, hungry for these skills, are a growing target too.

Management Development Institute (MDi) joined the Business Edge program in January 2010 and has already trained over 1,350 participants in 65 Business Edge workshops, offering them practical management tools. The Institute developed and launched the Diploma in Entrepreneurship in January 2013, drawing on a package of different Business Edge modules.

Khan, one of over 50 participants who have successfully completed the diploma so far, learned how to understand the market and identify its needs. He discovered resourceful ways to find suppliers. Six months after completing the course, he partnered with a friend to launch an interior design and construction start-up Emarat Interiors.

He knew that for a small firm, publicity would be a challenge. But the Diploma had shown him creative ways to use word of mouth, budgeted, social media marketing that has brought him customers. In one example, Khan’s Facebook page lured in 30 percent new customers, he said.

With unemployment reaching 6 percent in the last year in Pakistan, the young and enthusiastic Khan has found a welcome way to create an income for himself and others. He is now employing one full-time and five part-time staff members.

Khan knows he still has a long way to go and believes this is just the beginning.

“While attending this course, I developed the blue print of the business idea,” he said. “If anyone wants to start a business and is lost on how to take the first step, this is a good place.”


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