I interviewed many people from Pakistan to encourage Entrepreneurship, Literature and Art. Starting from today, I’ll be posting interviews every week. If you know someone who has done exceptional work in Pakistan or in any country and deserves to be noticed, Please email at irumzahraofficial@gmail.com and we will get back to you.

Here we go, First interview is of Sana Khalid, a renowned Pakistani Business woman. I have known her for over 3 years and The projects she has done and the work she is doing is beyond exceptional. Here is what she had to say:

So tell me,

  • How would you define ‘Minerva’?

Minerva is a social enterprise that offers a flexible, creative community space for learning, networking and entertainment.

  • How big is your team?

The only permanent member of my team is me. All other team members come for a 4-month period during which I train them, groom them and then let them find their way up the professional ladder.

  • When you started your journey, did you expect Minerva to come this far?

I actually expected a much different outcome but Minerva has evolved in more ways than I could imagine. The direction I had planned at the start was much different so it is hard to really quantify. If I was to be brutally honest with myself, I expected much better.

  • Which was more rewarding: making your startup a success, or being able to continue keeping it successful?

The entire journey is equally rewarding – one’s business venture is like their baby, every little step counts.

  • And how much did your family contributed in this time?

I think I can attribute more than half the success to my family without a shred of doubt – they have contributed in every way possible – they’ve pulled me up every time I fell; never for a minute have they doubted me even when I wasn’t doing very well and I can never repay them back for all the support. And when I talk about family, I am not just talking about my siblings and biological parents but my husband and in-laws too. Can’t thank God enough for blessing me with the most amazing people.

  • How do you conquer those moments of doubt that so often stifle or trip or stop so many entrepreneurs with great ideas…what pushes you through?

I believe no success comes easy and so I’ve had my ups and downs. There have definitely been times when I’ve wanted to move back to Dubai and never come back but my biggest strength, which frankly comes naturally to me without any effort, is my ability to find opportunity and hope in the bleakest of times. It probably also has to do with how I was raised. I have always come out much stronger and do much better after my lowest dips.

  • Can you list some of the most exceptional things Minerva has done?

Minerva has hosted thousands of individuals in these 4 years. It has helped some become excellent photographers. Others associated with Minerva led on to running successful ventures of their own. Most significantly, Minerva has shaped a community of very strong, creative professionals and entrepreneurs who have the potential to be future leaders and impact makers.

  • If you could time travel back to day one of your startup and have 15 minutes with your former self to communicate any lessons you’ve acquired with the intention of saving yourself mistakes and heart ache, what would you tell yourself?

It would have to be two things:

  1. Learning to network and build relationships even before launching
  2. Spending money more wisely
  • Other than deciding to work for yourself, what was the single most important decision you made that contributed to your success?I would love to answer that once I reach my definition of success. But if an answer is truly necessary at this point, I think it is probably the decision to keeping the venture small and personal despite options for funding. The family-like feel has always made us a lot of people’s first choice.
  • What was unexpected?

Oh Lord – everything. A lot of good things; a lot of bad things came unexpectedly. Friends backed out on commitments, opportunities popped out of nowhere. Expectations from the market turned out completely untrue.

  • Which opportunities should you have followed; what pitfalls would you have avoided?

I don’t think there is any – or I probably didn’t know an opportunity existed. Because when there is an opportunity, I don’t let it go as long as it is in compliance with my underlying philosophy, values and vision.

  • Which organizations are inspiring to you?

It may come as a surprise but I avoid reading too much about what other people or organisations are doing. So while a brief idea of the market is definitely important, I feel too much information limits one’s imagination and makes it difficult to think beyond. It also influences your timelines, speed, thought process. So, I take my inspiration from problems around me instead because if a problem persists, a solution must exist too.

  • What projects does Minerva have for this year?

Lots of them but I’d like to talk about projects only once they have materialized.

  • Are you satisfied with what you’ve accomplished so far?

Not at all. Definitely not.

  • Where do you see Minerva in the next 3 years?

Changing and touching far more lives than it has in the past 4 years.

  • If you could meet one entrepreneur from the whole world, who would it be and why?

Com Mirza – From a lemonade stand to a billionaire – he must be doing something right.

  • How much has Minerva changed you?

Oh man, it has changed me in more ways than I thought anything could. It has definitely taught me patience, particularly in terms of dealing with people, accepting their ideas and beliefs.

It has also made me fully accept competition. I am a very competitive person and for very long I have hated competition. Now, I take it as a given. I have come to accept that if I fail or if someone does better, I can’t blame anyone but myself and must work to improve.

  • What message would you like to give to the future entrepreneurs?

Most entrepreneurs feel very passionately about their product, service or venture. This passion soon turns into an obsession and we so closely attach ourselves to it that it clouds our judgement. A better approach is to attach yourself to the problem you are solving or the people your product or service is solving a problem for, rather than the solution you have in mind.

  • Please list Minerva’s social media links.

www.facebook.com/minervites

www.minervites.org

www.twitter.com/minervites

Here are a few events and workshops  Minerva Organized. You can see the rest of the details from their Facebook Page given below.

Google developers meeting

Google developers meeting

Filmmaking workshop

Filmmaking workshop

ludo Tournament

ludo Tournament

visit to oldage home

Visit to oldage home

wordpress 101

wordpress 101

Thank you! Sana For this lovely chance.

Sana Khalid For Beyond Sanity Publishing

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