Amjad Pervez: Chairman of JumpStart Pakistan

What has been a highlight of your career?
The highlight of my life was the moment I decided to leave my  secure job in financial services and take the plunge to start our very humble family business,a  typical corner shop.
This was the beginnings of a wonderful journey of learning creating wealth abundance and employment and above all economic freedom that allows one to truly live your passions

What advice do you have for British-Pakistani entrepreneurs?
I don’t think I’m in any position to advise, all I can do is present my experiences of my journey of enterprise and if people feel they can adopt and learn from those failures or successes then that’s an achievement on its own.

So depending on where one is on the lifecycle of enterprise will determine their possible learning needs.

At the Startup stage it’s all about testing your idea over and over again. What problems are you solving for the customer? How are your solutions better than your competitors and above all What  is your unique value proposition that will give you your competitive advantage?

For those who have taken the plunge and have started  their company, please get your foundations in order I know how tempting and urgent it is to acquire customers and sales but you must be clear about your vision, mission, values and culture.

Get that right and you will have strong foundations to grow with confidence and focus to deliver your vision for those companies who have been established for a while who have regular income and customers and who are clear about their vision mission values and Culture before they begin the journey of scaling it’s important to get your business model right and above all have an excellent team based on experience, knowledge and skills. I know how difficult it is for family businesses to over ride family members in favor of merit based appointments but then it’s about making the right choices for the business needs or making a fudged decision that you know is wrong. The final stage is all about having a strategic plan to create the value chain that will give the company it’s competitive advantage locally nationally and at a global level

You’ve previously spoken about an ‘Eco System of Enterprise’ – can you go into more detail about this?
This concept came about when I was asked to join the government’s new institutions called Local Enterprise Partnerships. These institutions were given the task to create competitive regional economies. I chaired the task group for 2 years and our conclusion was that the new industrial landscape was that of life learning and continuous disruptive change through the ever increasing influence of technology.
This meant that our education system and our skills policies needed to change and that change meant teaching entrepreneurialism from the very early stages.

This is now part of the UKs industrial strategy delivery tools delivered through the LEPs and Growth Hubs. We are also delivering a similar concept through Jumpstart Pakistan, you can find out more about it here.

What do you do to unwind? (i.e: any hobbies?)
I enjoy learning new stuff so I’m doing a lot of on line learning in different spheres of human creativity
I love the company of dear friends who are global foodies, music and poetry play a big part in my life especially Punjabi folk music, but above all I like to spend quality time with my family especially my grand-kids who are the best teachers of how to dream and dare

Why is it so important for you to give back to your community, given your presence on a number of boards and trusts?
I suppose I’m an old school boy I came to this country at the age of 9 in 1969. I saw, lived got tutored and mentored by the first generation of pioneering immigrants who with hardly any formal education or the understanding of this community or society  facing humongous challenges achieved fantastic success upon those strong foundations we now all stand and benefit

They did it through sheer hard work determination but above all else they cared holistically for the wider family and friends. It;s easy to take care of your self and your immediate family,I suppose that is ones primary duty but for me the fact remains that irrespective how educated I am or how rich I am or the profile that one has, one thing is absolutely clear; I will be judged in the wider society by the collective identities that I belong to: a Muslim and a Pakistani origin British citizen
Unless this community does not progress to be recognised as a valuable indispensable stakeholder, our collective work of giving back to empower must continue.