MEET THE GAME CHANGER OF THE MONTH M. ABDUL AHAD UL KARIM (AHAD WAZIR), ACCA
Ahad Wazir is an ACCA member and an Acccountant by profession who describes himself as a big data and fintech enthusiast. He is an avid mountaineer who is currently working as a Specialist – Women Ventures and Innovation Challenge Fund at Karandaaz Pakistan which helps promote access to finance for small businesses through a commercially directed investment platform focusing on financial inclusion for individuals by employing technology-enabled digital solutions. Ahad is passionately working and investing in the startup community of Pakistan and aspires to create a venture capital and private equity fund to help support the ecosystem throughout Asia. He is a big advocate of dversity and inclusion and believes that it is integral to rise beyond the narrow confines of our individual concerns to the broader concerns of humanity by surrounding ourselves with people of diverse perspectives who can express themselves without the fear of judgment or retaliation.
'I aspire to create a venture capital firm to support startups not only in Pakistan but Southeast Asia'
Tell us a little about yourself.
I am an ACCA member and an Accountant by profession but my true passion is entrepreneurship.
Tell us a bit about your early days growing up, your education and your family.
I grew up in a joint family living in one of the oldest cities of Southeast Asia – Peshawar. My ancestral village though is Waziristan. I received my early education from Edwards College School. As a kid growing up, my mother played an integral role in teaching me how to stay curious and to learn by asking the right questions. My father on the other hand made sure I was not handed down luxuries of the world and that I was raised tough. An example of this is how he would make me walk two kilometers from the house and go on a bus to my school while all the other children from our home would be driven in a car. This combination made me one of the brightest students in my school but also really made me the most headstrong one. Since I would be independent in going to school, I used to wander through the streets of the bustling city, meeting random strangers and encountering people from all walks of life.
How did you choose this profession?
I think it chose me. I still remember vividly driving with my father and he asked me which university I would be choosing for my admission and when I would be applying. I immediately called a friend and asked him regarding the dates for admissions to different universities. During our conversation, he asked me if knew about The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. I went on the website and explored what ACCA is and what this profession would entail. For me flexibility in how I wanted to educate myself was key and entrepreneurship ran in my blood. I came to the conclusion that this is exactly what I wanted to study. With no previous education in business studies till my Advance Levels, the Foundation in Accountancy offered by ACCA was my best route of entry and to understanding the business world of numbers.
What does a day in your life look like?
No one day is the same, but I keep myself disciplined by keeping two things constant, 1- waking up at 5 am and 2- going to bed at 10 pm.
What’s the most interesting thing you have seen or read?
One of my highly respected mentors gave me two books to read that changed me and how I look at life completely; The Art of War by Sun Tzu and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. I would recommend everyone to at least read them once in their life preferably early than late.
What are some non-work-related activities that keep you busy?
I love mountaineering and motorsport so at least one time during a year I go to different areas of Pakistan on a road trip that spans mostly 1.5 to 2 weeks. This is also the time when I relax, meditate, introspect, reflect, and connect with God.
'I was part of the founding team that built the first National Incubation Center of Pakistan where I worked in my capacity as the Head of Investments and Partnerships'
What does the word aspirational mean to you now?
For me, being able to add value to somebody else’s life gives meaning to my life.
If your life were a story, what would the title be?
The Great Gatsby.
Who has been that one person that you have always looked up to in your life?
My father – always.
What’s been your biggest workplace achievement? How did ACCA contribute to that?
I was part of the founding team that built the first National Incubation Center of Pakistan where I worked in my capacity as the Head of Investments and Partnerships. During this time I was also selected as a super scout among a batch of five in the ASEAN region for Amazon Web Services. Through both these roles, I was able to work extensively with startups and SMEs, coaching them on financial literacy and framing their business models. This would not have been possible without stepping into the ACCA journey myself.
What’s been a life lesson for you?
Always learning, un-learning and re-learning.
Any advice for those who look up to you?
In the words of Abraham Lincoln, ‘Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.’
What impact would you like to make in the industry/legacy?
I have and I am walking the journey of an entrepreneur myself and at the National Incubation Center every day I was surrounded by innovators with a mission to change the world and to disrupt the traditional business value chains. One of the biggest challenges faced by most of these innovators and entrepreneurs has been the lack of access to finance. There has always been a dearth of money for young innovators and entrepreneurs from people to bet on their business ventures in Pakistan and as such I aspire to create a venture capital firm to support startups not only in Pakistan but Southeast Asia.
INTERVIEW: H! PAKISTAN
PHOTOGRAPHY: BASIT ALI