Seven out of the nine Pakistani innovators recognized by Forbes in its 30 under 30 list for 2019 have made contributions in science and technology.
These Pakistanis figure in six out of a total of 13 categories by Forbes which highlight innovators from across Asia.
Zainab Bibi, who has been listed under the “Industry, Manufacturing & Energy” category, is the founder of the Pakistan Society for Green Energy. The society was established in 2013 to develop new methods of renewable energy. Her company has successfully developed a bio-fuel from waste tissue paper, and introduced Camelina Sativa, a drought-resistant plant that can be made into bio-diesel. Bibi has previously received a Queen’s Young Leaders Award for her efforts in creating public support for environmentally friendly initiatives in Pakistan.
Listed under the category of “Enterprise Technology” is Roshni Rides — a women friendly carpooling platform for commuters based in Pakistan. Founded by four classmates from Rutgers University in the United States, Hanaa Lakhani, Hasan Usmani,Gia Farooqi and Moneeb Mian wanted to create a reliable transportation service for refugees in the country. Their company arranges affordable rickshaw rides along designated routes between a refugee camp and common destinations such as markets and hospitals. Roshni Rides was also the winner of the $1 million Hult Prize in 2017.
As adaptation to climate change becomes increasingly important for developing countries, water specialists like Laila Kasuri are playing a vital role in sustainable development. Named under the Forbes “Healthcare & Science” category, she has led research on climate-smart irrigation, flood risk reduction, and river basin planning at organizations such as the World Bank, the US Army Corps of Engineers, and the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences. Kasuri is currently a water analyst with Global Green Growth Investment’s Policy Solutions Division.
Ahmed Rauf Essa is making waves in the e-commerce sector of the country. While still in business school, he co-founded Telemart, one of the largest e-commerce platforms in Pakistan. The company also has an extensive wholesale channel which caters to more than 500 dealers online, and is an end-to-end solutions provider for major firms such as Procter & Gamble, Lucky Cement and Ufone. Essa has been named under the “Retail & Ecommerce” category of the Forbes list.
Besides science and technology, the work of Pakistanis has also been recognised under entertainment and sports as well as social entrepreneurship.
Karishma Ali from Chitral is the only female football player from her hometown playing at a national and international level. She has represented Pakistan at the Jubilee Games in Dubai, and her team was the first women’s team from Pakistan to participate in the Australian Football International Cup. Ali has also founded the Chitral Women’s Sports Club.
Zain Ashraf has been recognised in the list of social entrepreneurs. He is the founder of Seed Out, Pakistan’s first crowdfunding platform that works to end poverty by connecting entrepreneurs with interest-free micro financing. According to the company, Seed Out has a 97% repayment rate and has helped 538 local entrepreneurs raise funding. In 2018, Ashraf won the Commonwealth Youth Award for his efforts in development work.