Mr Abid H K Shirwani

Name: Mr Abid H K Shirwani

Position:  DG, Director, CEO

Institution: University of Management and Technology, IRP, SATHA  


  • The Innovative Approach


He joined Halley College of Commerce, University of Punjab as a lecturer. He started living comfortably. He could have enjoyed this comfort entire life.

He resigned and moved from comfort to discomfort of entrepreneurship by joining Dr Hasan Murad to set up the academic institute. Mr Abid Shirwani further has chosen the difficult path of promoting triple helix collaboration in Pakistan. He led the largest R&D network of Pakistan named IRP. He coined Innovation Summit which has mobilized R&D stakeholders all over Pakistan and connected them. He is leading South Asia Triple Helix Association for S&T policy advocacy.


  • The Pre- Entrepreneurial


The surprise changes occur in human life that leads to a certain role and significant contribution. Mr Abid Shirwani left his master in physics and completed his master in administration. During this shift he was not aware that he has to lead and administer academic institutions.  Mr Shirwani was destined to play a management role in higher learning institutions that was seeded in his early education.

During his master in administration in University of Punjab, he got visiting teacher; Hasan Sohaib Murad. Dr Murad was in a higher management position with Dawood Group of Industries, Pakistan. The second thing he was destined to do was friendship with his teacher and mentor. Abid Shirwani joined Helly College of Commerce, University of The Punjab as a lecturer. His continues interaction and meetings with Hasan Murad led to common thinking and planning to do something great in life. This relationship grew from student-teacher to friends and landed them in a startup in training business.  After a short exercise, both decided to quit their jobs and devoted themselves fully to this newborn institution. They saw a dream and started having sleepless nights to materialize it. This is the non-conventional way of living by entrepreneurial leaders.


  • The Start of Entrepreneurial Journey  


Mr Abid H K Shirwani got his dream job of managing an institution with unique features and characters. Institute of Leadership and Management was born to become an impact making an organization. Dr Hasan Murad took the planning part and Abid Shirwani ensured its right execution. Now he came to know why he left physics and enrolled in administration degree.

He brought his office chairs, tables and kitchen accessories from his home. He worked without a salary for many years. He travelled inside and on the roofs of public vans. He knocked many doors to get support for this dream institution. Few were opened and many remained closed. The societal customs and traditions here in this part of the world seldom allow the person to go for the dream job. The society demands you to finish a degree, get the secured job of Government, get married and start the journey of family management called “Roti, Kapra or Makan” (Food, Clothe and House).

He went against waves of the social sea. The people love to study science as a sign of pride but he left and studied administration. The families like to sell their every asset to secure a simple job with Government for their sons and daughters but he resigned from the job in the premium University of Pakistan. The people dream to get a teaching job but he left his lectureship in a highly valuable Halley College of Commerce.  People struggle from discomfort to comfort but he travelled in opposite direction in pursuit of his entrepreneurial career.


  • The Demonstration of  Entrepreneurial Leadership -University of Management and Technology 

Taking the initiative is always very easy but leading an institution through heavy winds of circumstances for 2-3 decades is the big challenge. Abid Hirwani gave his best entrepreneurial leadership art to the institution led by Dr. Hasan Sohaib Murad. They traveled together a long journey of 27 years. The intuition has grown up from 1-2 rooms to a leading university known as University of Management and Technology – UMT. He also heads a wide network of ILM colleges.  Everyone in UMT from security guard to a carpenter and department head seems in love with Abid Shirwani due to his heart-touching leadership style.

His door remains open and entry is not restricted by personal staffs and security guards. His office is more than a helping centre where people come with problems and get solutions. He spends most of his time-solving problems of people, arranging references for them and making calls to potential people who can extend help to needy people.

Faculty, staff and students keep visiting one office in UMT and that is the office of Abid H K Shirwani. Dr Hasan Murad, Rector UMT publically acknowledged Abid H K Shirwani in his speech, saying; “If Abid Shirwani has not joined me, this dream would not have been materialized”.

Abid Shirwani was born to a family of civil servants and Govt officials. By default, he inherited a lot of connections and relationships in civil bureaucracy. God has also made Abid Shirwani a man of connections and relationships.  He combined his inheritance with relationship friendly personality and developed a leadership style we term it “leading through social circle”.

The marvellous growth of UMT is largely supported by this leadership style of relationship. He brought a lot of support and resources from family and friends.   He used his connections and relationship skills to make high profile people UMT friends. His helping style further fueled this process and he became great binding force between UMT and resources of the society.


  • The Demonstration of  Entrepreneurial Leadership –Institute of Research Promotion


Abid Shirwani in his earlier 15 years (from 1990 to 2005) served UMT and helped to become a national leading university in the private sector. He developed his tipple helix thoughts during his postgraduate study in the UK. He observed and experienced how three pillars of society as Government, industry and academia work together for science, technology and innovation.  He started advocating for this triple helix in his discussion and speeches.

Institute of Research Promotion-IRP is the best reflection and demonstration of his thoughts.  Under his leadership as CEO, IRP becomes a national largest R&D network. IRP has united the nation for innovation-led growth and development. His leadership horizon expanded to the national level and a dynamic R&D drive encompassing R&D promotion, policy development, technology transfer, and capacity building in scientific research has become a reality in the form of IRP.

His leadership impact is now moving beyond horizon through South Asia Triple Helix Association- SATHA. SATHA as part of international triple helix association aims to serve South Asia in exercising triple helix in real terms. Under his leadership as president, SATHA is doing policy advocacy for science, technology and innovation.


  • The Demonstration of  Entrepreneurial Leadership –Innovation Summit


Abid Shirwani coined the term Invention to Innovation Summit as a platform for technology transfer. A two-day event was envisioned to exhibit ideas and technologies in Punjab University, Lahore. This innovation summit is regularly conducted in four provinces of Pakistan. 100 plus organizations from academia, industry, public and social sector have joined this innovation summit. It is the largest R&D event of Pakistan providing a complete innovation ecosystem for two days. The summit has connected the R&D stakeholders with each other and demonstrated the triple helix model in action.


  • The Summary


Abid H K Shirwani has chosen an uncertain, risky, innovative and entrepreneurial life. He ventured into things which are otherwise no-go areas for others. The impact of entrepreneurial leadership is clearly seen and felt in Pakistan.