Azhar Rizvi, CEO
Author, Serial Entrepreneur, Consultant, Trainer and Coach
Azhar Rizvi is an author, consultant, trainer, coach and master strategist who helps people and organizations achieve high growth targets. He has helped more than 450+ firms redefine business strategy to scale up operations, from few hundred thousand to multi-million dollars’ global operations.
He started his career marketing IT services, with leading firms, including NCR, AT&T and Unisys and rising to Director Sales & Marketing from Sales Executive in a short span of 10 years. During his career, he managed and grew the sales portfolio, handling major multimillion dollar relationships with major accounts like PTCL, GHQ, Habib Bank, UBL, ABL, Federal Ministry of Finance, ABN Amro, Standard Chartered Bank, MSD, BASF among others. In 1999, he decided to enter the entrepreneurial world and launched two highly successful IT firms which serviced which grew to over 1500 strong workforce with largest BPO Services serving major banks like HBL, UBL, Emirates Bank with multimillion-dollar operations.
Since 2007, he has been working as an ecosystem enabler and has trained 10,000+ student teams, faculty, start-ups and mid-size organizations to develop their business plans and growth strategies and launching successful ventures. He has been instrumental in cultivating an environment of promoting entrepreneurship at various universities through business plan competitions, hackathons, innovation cups, startup weekends and other forums. He has served as Chairman, Standing Committee on Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FPCCI). He is also co-founder of MIT-Enterprise Forum of Pakistan, Pakathon Global, OPEN Pakistan amongst others. He also advises the government and many universities in their entrepreneurship initiatives. He is currently he is the CEO of Cambridge Advisors Network and on the board of several social initiatives including Women’s Digital League and Pakathon International.
He has authored the book, “Entrepreneuring Pakistan- 27 stories of struggle, failure and success” which details the challenges of 27 mentee organizations – in the technology, social, research and students- which have broken the barriers and achieved exponential 10X+ growth per annum.
Azhar also pays an active part in philanthropic and social circles and has implemented several key initiatives in the healthcare, education for normal and special kids, law and order, Disaster Relief Management System during Earthquake and Flood Relief as part of Rotary Global.
Syed Saqib Hasan, COO & Consultant
Syed Saqib Hasan is a career IT professional and has an extensive experience of more than 45 years to his credit in Development, System designing, Project management, Operations management, and Consultancy etc. During his long spell in the field he attended various management seminars and certification courses locally & overseas. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Karachi University and a DIPL. In IT from Control Data Institute of Technology Frankfurt Germany. During initial stages of his career he worked for American Express Bank Frankfurt and Fresenius KG(a pharmaceutical co.) in Germany as programmer.
After shifting back to Pakistan in 1980 he joined HBL and during his long span with bank he handled various challenging assignments in IT Group as Sr. programmer, Sr. Systems Analyst, Project manager, IT and branch manager of bank’s Srilanken operation, head of the bank’s largest IT center at Karachi and as the SVP and Head of bank’s entire IT operations. As operations head he supervised ten IT centers countrywide, responsible for the formation of IT infrastructure policy and implementation strategy, development of infrastructure, deployment of software, procurement and deployment of hardware, maintenance of branches and Head office IT infrastructure and operations of Bank’s local and international Data center catering pan Pakistan, Middle East and Far East branches. He was also responsible for the marketing and maintenance of Bank’s in house developed Shares and Inventory packages which produced large amount of revenue for the bank. He led the operations team to consolidate and convert the data of 1450 plus branches to a single data base, paving the way for implementing the currently in-use banking package (MISYS).
After working for the bank till 2011, he joined a large IT company as Group Head operations for one and a half year and then persuaded to work as an independent IT consultant, rendering his services to help organizations in streamlining their IT setups. During the last five years he has provided his expertise in implementing HIMS and ERP solutions in health and trade / industrial sector organizations like Civil Hospital Karachi, Altamash Dental Hospital, Trading Corporation of Pakistan, Alshaheer Corporation etc.
Shazia Zia Yaqub, General Manager
Shazia Yaqub is a consultant and General Manager at Cambridge Advisors Network (CAN). CAN works with Industry and Academia to support entrepreneurship initiatives throughout Pakistan especially in developing university entrepreneurship ecosystems.
Prior to working at CAN, she was associated with Wadhwani Foundation, as an International Program Consultant at National Entrepreneurship Network. The National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN) is launched in Pakistan to provide a systematic and structured strategy towards building an entrepreneurial ecosystem. In Pakistan, NEN is a joint collaborative between Wadhwani Operating Foundation, the USA who initiated this movement, and MITEFP. The scalable model of NEN, its resources and IP are contextualized for emerging economies like Pakistan and deployment of these will facilitate the development of entrepreneurship. We established a network of E-Cells in several universities and a repository of mentors & supportive organizations as well as introduced a focused program for training and coaching of early stage entrepreneurs.
She has also been a founding member of a number of startups including ePatterns Software Solutions, Active Partners LLC, Carbon Care Pakistan and more recently, Baby First Pakistan. She has also been associated with a number of companies for including Wadhwani Foundation, USA, The Citizens Foundation, E-Commerce Gateway, Netpace Systems, and the Institute of Business Administration Karachi.
She is a graduate of FAST-NU and MBA from IBA Karachi. Her expertise are program management and development.
Zainab Hameed, Consultant LMS (Learning Management Services)
Zainab has extensive experience of technology-enabled transformations, innovation and technology management. Having spent 20+ years of developing business and IT strategies, setting up governance structures, nurturing teams and transforming ideas into reality, she has created value for businesses. She has led cross-cultural, virtual and matrix teams across MENA / CIS (Middle East, North Africa and Russia / CIS) and has also worked in UK and USA. Her varied experience and passion to find solutions to real-life problems, has won her international accolades for innovative and transformational work including APICTA and the Computer World Honors program for Economic Development.
Zainab is a Certified IT Governance professional and has worked as CIO in leading organizations in Pakistan. She has led Engro Foods IT team for 5 years from inception where she developed the IT team and their IT strategy and digitization strategy to help the young organization leverage technology to achieve its aggressive business goals. At GSK Pakistan, when she joined in 2013, she developed the IT strategy for the local entity including the multichannel marketing strategy. Later when they worked on a regional strategy she aligned the local strategy with the global initiatives. At GSK she was also the IT lead for regional initiatives like deployment of Veeva and Gross to Net programs which were both very critical for business. At GSK, she was also part of the global business process advisory group who was responsible for developing Global Commercial Operations Roadmaps and Strategies. She also led strategy and execution of key regional initiative for HCP engagement to develop sales force capability of 2500+ medical representatives across MENA markets for use of digital tools and enable them to support webinars for their customers.
After working for a Big 4, top global Pharmaceutical, leading FMCG, teaching university students and failing at entrepreneurship once, she has recently moved on from her role as Head of IT for GSK Pakistan & Iran to pursue another passion, another idea and set up her own Education Technology venture. She is also working as an Independent consultant for IT Governance and Security projects.
She is a graduate of Computer Science, with an MBA, along with certifications of CISA, CGEIT, and PMP. She has also attended courses at the Technology Leadership Institute, UC Berkeley.
Sarah Ashraf, Manager Programs
Sarah Ashraf is Manager Programs at Cambridge Advisors Network (CAN).
Prior to working at CAN, she has worked with different companies including Mobilink and TRG (The Resource Group) in operations and sales & customer services. In 2012, she joined a social enterprise Naya Jeevan and worked in the healthcare sector for the marginalized communities in Pakistan including a USAID project in Sultanabad for 5,000 low-income residents. She has also participated in ASP- LUMS training sponsored by USAID. She was also responsible for managing healthcare services for corporate clients third-party contractor staff. She was responsible for liaison with different stakeholders including clients, health insurance companies and beneficiaries. She held major accounts like Shell, HRSG among others. She also has experience in fieldwork and community mobilization.
In 2015, she joined healthcare startup as an operational lead. She developed various partnerships with healthcare providers and pharmacy chains all over Pakistan. She has been part of various national and international incubators and accelerators including NEST I/O, Telenor Velocity and Start Up Chile. She was the first woman co-founder to represent Pakistan in Startup Chile in LATAM region. She was also runner up of MIT enterprise forum Pakistan in women-led startup category. Her expertise includes operations and program management.
She has done her O & A level’s in business and is an Arts graduate from Karachi University. She has also attended various start-up training programs both locally and internationally.
Manal Mohtashim, Content Associate
Manal Mohtashim is an Associate Content Writer at Cambridge Advisors Network (CAN). She develops blog/articles for CAN on topics related to entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial ecosystem in Pakistan.
Prior to working at CAN, she was associated with Telemart, as a content writer for Telenews (Venture of Telemart) . Telenews is a blog/news website, covering the areas of technology, business, sports, crypto, automotive, startups and recurring trends of fashion, lifestyle and online shopping in Pakistan.
She is a BBA graduate of Iqra University. Her expertise includes writing and graphic designing.
Nimra Parvez, Web Developer
Nimra Pervez works as a Web Developer at Cambridge Advisors Network (CAN). She is responsible for developing and managing website and web portals. Before working with CAN, she was working as a Research Associate at a consulting firm named, Al Ali Consulting.
She has a degree in computers systems from Dawood University of Engineering and Technology (DUET). Her skills include Web Development, WordPress Development and Graphic Designing.