In 2004, Pakistani born Ahmed Khattak arrived in America, his intentions – to play squash for Yale University and take an advantage of the full academic scholarship which the university offered. Arriving at a new territory, Khattak’s prime concern was to buy a cell phone through which he could keep in touch with his family in Pakistan. He was however disappointed that no one would sell him a cell phone, reason – Khattak had no Social Security number nor established credit to get a cell phone service contract.
Fast forward a few years, in 2007, the Yale student stayed briefly in London United Kingdom for an internship. While in Europe, Khattak observed that Europeans had the alternative to use cell phones free of contracts. He compared this to what applied in American – “I thought, why can’t America be like this?”. That right there was his eruka moment!
In March 2010, Ahmed Khattak launched GSM Nation with friend Junaid Shams, a student at George Washington University. They started with $150,000 of their own and families’ money, plus free office space and support from the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute. In the first year of operation, GSM Nation grossed almost $9 million and in its second year over $35 million. For 2012, Khattak expects to gross over $50 million in sales!
Pakistani universities too should offer their students & alumni free office space and accounting support. We’ll also then see lots of home grown innovation.