Climbing out of poverty
Conquering mountains is to us a great symbol representing the challenging and impressive task micro-entrepreneurs face when trying to set up a business in conditions that are far from optimal.
As William Douglas, former Supreme Court Justice and hiking enthusiast phrases it:
“Mountains symbolize the indomitable will, an unbending resolution, a loyalty that is eternal, and character that is unimpeachable. When man pits himself against the mountain, he taps inner springs of his strength. He comes to know himself. For he realizes how small a part of the universe he actually is, how great are the forces that oppose him.”
Although mountain climbing expeditions – unlike starting a company – generally do not take more than a few weeks, in mountaineering one too has to cope with the situation one is in and make decisions quickly. Success is dependent on exogenous factors like weather, logistics and team members, but can be influenced by discovering alternative routes.
Climbing out of the trough and pushing physical and mental limits to succeed is something micro-entrepreneurs encounter too and they, like mountaineers when they attempt the summit of a mountain, need proper equipment and expertise to do so successfully.
Specifically, we believe providing ‘equipment and expertise’ is pivotal to the success of a micro-entrepreneur.
- Equipment: an entrepreneur needs capital, machinery, raw materials and labor to succeed, similar to how a mountaineer needs good gear to reach his or her summit. As such, we partnered up with Akhuwat, one of Pakistan’s largest, most successful and most innovative microfinance organizations, who provide access to upfront capital and necessary cash to start a successful micro-enterprise.
- Expertise: Like a mountain guide and intense mountaineering training, vocational training and basic business and management skills help an aspiring micro-entrepreneur to run a business sustainably and trigger true entrepreneurial spirit. As such, we partnered up with Pakistan Innovative Network, a network under Harvard’s South Asia Initiative.