Name: Abrar Ahmed
- Position: CEO
- Organization: SRC PVT LTD
- The Innovative Approach
He was born to a wealthy business family. He graduated from Boston University USA. He could have lived a lavish life just like many others born with golden spoon in mouth but he was an entrepreneurial leader. He chose a startup in a very different field, following the legacy of his grandfather. Instead of enjoying life of a saith (business king) he embarked on the journey of entrepreneurship.
Today Mr. Abrar’s company is the most innovative in leather chemicals and 2nd largest of Pakistan in wood adhesives. Innovation is surely in his DNA.
- The Pre-Entrepreneurial
He opened eyes in two mutual inclusive and endorsing environments. The one is leading business of his family in leather and second strong value system of his family. His family is characterized for values-based businesses, taking care of local traditions, employees, environment, customer, law and other human obligations. His group Siddiq Shafi is known for ethical business practices, paying full taxes and avoiding all kind of corruption upto possible level.
Abrar Ahmed was sent to Boston USA for graduation. This is his very influencing period as he observed their secrets of economic development. He saw innovation as engine behind USA growth and academia behind this innovation. He understood that no nation can advance without exercising triple helix approach. He realized and studied in detail how university-industry-government nexus is created and used as competitive edge to build knowledge economy.
He felt this phenomenon at heart and got trained to play the same role on returning back to Pakistan.
- The Start of Entrepreneurial Journey
We always observed two Abrar in one person. One Abrar wants to develop his own business empire totally based on ethical business practices. The second Abrar wants to improve business and social eco system. He innovated unique methods to combine both challenging tasks by his entrepreneurial leadership.
He scanned the opportunity of chemicals business, did some planning and ventured into it. He took a very humble start and did most of things personally in the beginning just like a startup. He started small company in Karachi and shifted to Lahore after registering some growth.
He became part of crescent trust for social development and contributed in many social initiatives for the welfare of poor community. The crescent trust is managing schools in rural part of Sindh for the education of the kids of less privileged comminutes. He also supported installation of Tube Wells for drinking water in the area of Thar- The desert.
The journey of en entrepreneurial leader started. The destiny had great planned for him and was there to guide him.
- The Demonstration of Entrepreneurial Leadership- SRC Growth
The innovation was put in his DNA and he transferred to SRC in its foundation. He set up a good R&D team to innovate products and services. In a short period, his product range increased from only leather specialty chemicals to adhesives, water treatment, textiles and others. SRC became one of the largest wood adhesives company. He attracted best minds of the market and inspired them to work for SRC. He developed a very environment friendly and employee-centred culture in SRC. In SRC you can find CEO sitting on table next to you and enjoying the same lunch offered to you by SRC kitchen. You can shake hand with CEO in Mosque too. The safety of employees from hazards seems the top priority of management in SRC.
We see the dedication and loyalty of employees in making SRC the leader in specialty chemicals, offering range of 350 plus products, fully backed by quality services.
SRC set up good R&D center, application lab, mini tannery and many pilot level plants to support its R&D initiatives. SRC dedicated significant R&D budget to create future products and services.
SRC made many failed attempts too and few initiatives had to seize as well. Many innovative products fail at R&D level too. This picture is a true dynamic innovative culture of an organization which has been diffused by an entrepreneurial leader.
SRC remains in closed contacts with innovators, scientists, academicians and students here in Pakistan and abroad too. SRC sent its R&D people to academic conferences, exhibitions and meetings to interact and explore opportunities of working with academia. Numbers of academic projects are financially and technically supported by SRC R&D unit. SRC R&D unit welcomes academic scientists for visits and their projects to be piloted in SRC. Recently SRC has signed a technology licensing agreement with NUST- The leading university in Pakistan.
The compliance with standards and quality controls has always been an issue in the production culture of Pakistan. Mr. Abrar was aware of this challenge owing to more than 60 years of industrial experience of his family. The entrepreneurial leader is always on the waves of experiments, solving current problems and exploring new challenges. He approached multinationals in chemicals for joint venture (JV). He succeeded in bring ALPA chemicals and few other brands in Pakistan as JV or distribution. This gave international exposure to the team, improved capacity of SRC in standards and quality compliance and helped SRC stand equally good in quality products with multinationals.
Mr. Abrar always thought ahead of his company leading from the front just like an entrepreneurial leader. SRC entered into export after gaining good hold of local market. Now SRC is exporting to 20 plus countries and this toll is still on the rise. The journey from a small startup to locally leading company and big exporter is very well led by an entrepreneurial leader.
As the journey of an entrepreneurial leader never stops, nor has an end; Mr. Abrar keeps on moving in exploration of new avenues. He creates new challenges for himself once the previous one is addressed. Recently, he ventured into dairy business and the brand “Taza” is becoming the very famous now.
The Demonstration of Entrepreneurial Leadership- AFAQ
Pakistan faces many types of crisis in education system; including language, course contents, teaching methods, teacher training, schooling system and infrastructure. The group of visionary people under the charismatic leadership of Dr. Hasan Sohaib Murad did brainstorming to address these challenges in education. This thinking led to the birth of AFAQ publishing. Mr. Abrar Ahmed was bestowed the responsibility to lead this visionary educational venture.
Here again we see the entrepreneurial leadership of Mr. Abrar explicitly. AFAQ, a small startup turning in to the leading publisher of school books! It is backed by very strong R&D unit which creates innovative content. AFAQ have ventured into many allied services along with books to improve education systems and services.
In pursuit of next challenge, Mr Abrar has handed over AFAQ leadership to new team now. “He initiated, he built and he handed over to next team” is the true demonstration of entrepreneurial leadership.
The Demonstration of Entrepreneurial Leadership- LCCI
Mr. Abrar is totally an unconventional person. He believes that cleaning only his own house will not serve the purpose unless his street, town and country also get cleaned. He thinks for others, spend his own resources; time and energy, make some plans and act accordingly to improve eco system. This makes him an entrepreneurial leader and reflects in his continues services in Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He served as executive member of LCCI and headed many steering committees. His efforts produced the results in the form of establishment of Academia-Industry Linkages Committee in LCCI, these days headed by Mr. Umer Saleem; a young industry leader. This is the first initiative by any chamber of commerce in Pakistan. This committee has developed linkages with Higher Education Commission-HEC now. One of the hallmark initiatives of this committee is celebration of academia-industry-week every year in Pakistan. The first week of April will be celebrated all over Pakistan as academia-industry linkages week with lots of related activities. HEC has endorsed this and instructed to all academic institutions and circles accordingly.
The committee has done tremendous efforts related to resources mobilization and linkages. The committee has met vice chancellors and management of universities to inspire them for industry oriented research and projects.
The Demonstration of Entrepreneurial Leadership- PCMA
Mr. Abrar was in chemical industry and always remained worried about collective good of this sector. There was no association of chemical producers in Pakistan. He took the initiative and got the association registered. He spent personal resources to setup and establish Pakistan Chemical Manufacturers Association including office and staff. He was elected the vice president of PCMA in its first inaugural year. PCMA is taking good initiatives for the interest and rights of chemical industry.
The Demonstration of Entrepreneurial Leadership- Vocational Training
Mr. Abrar loves capacity building of young people in vocational skills. Pakistan has large share of its youth having no proper education nor equipped with skills. He served on vocational training committee of LCCI to positively affect the training institute around. He is also associated with one training institute. He has interacted with policy institutes of Pakistan and many international agencies to contribute in the development of vocational training programs in Pakistan.
- The Summary
If we see, there are people intend to stay limited to their own house, own family and own business even at the cost of damages to others. But there are people who take care of own businesses and families but also contribute positively for the good of society at large. And then there are people who try to improve the ecosystem for the common welfare of society even at the cost of own finances and resources! Verily, we found Mr. Abrar Ahmed among the class mentioned the last and an entrepreneurial leader. He makes development happens. He makes innovation happen.
We do hope that young generation will idealize him as role model and follow his entrepreneurial leadership of serving business and society both.
Authors are also among the followers of Abrar Ahmed.