The Emerging Entrepreneur

The Emerging Entrepreneur Competition was launched by the YES Network Pakistan in partnership with the Sumar-Lakhani Foundation to enable young people, in particular socially excluded female youth, to experience the thrill of being an entrepreneur.

It helps young people to discover their entrepreneurial talents. It is designed to inspire and engage people in the fundamentals of entrepreneurship. The project stirs up a creative energy among people that has been dormant for many years.

It challenges people to change the way they think about entrepreneurship. The project helps people to move beyond their fears and turn their passion and skills into profitable enterprises. From this project, the people are provided an opportunity to start an enterprise, get access to capital or a product of their choice and sell their products and services. The project teaches the basic principles of enterprise development to people by a real approach.


The Emerging Entrepreneur Competition focuses on cultivating quick thinking, creation, independence, flexibility and team work among children and young people.

The competition aims to change the traditional cramming teaching method into the practical, hands-on and learn by doing one. The competition engages students in teamwork and allow students to clearly understand that success requires a focus on outcomes, not on putting in
class time.


The competition provides orientation, support and nominal cash up to US$50 to students to conceptualize and implement a business idea in a team (3 to 5 students) for a period of four weeks.

Cash prizes are given to the winning team of the students and the senior management of the institution (principal, teacher).

The students are provided risk free entrepreneurship practice atmosphere to discover their entrepreneurial strengths.


The project has shown that a vast majority of young people are living their lives in a very restricted physical, intellectual, social and moral circle of their potential being. They either do not explore their entrepreneurial potential or are not given space to explore their talents and natural abilities.


Over 7000 students did real work versus just completing class assignments, and had a hand in determining their own activities.

Be encouraged to think creatively in developing and implementing solutions.

Improved their community directly and by setting an example for peers and adults; many of the projects addressed the Millennium Development Goals.

Met and network with business, community, and civic leaders.

Developed teamwork, leadership, time-management and communication skills.

Gained curriculum specific knowledge in a stimulating way.

Had the chance to compete for prize money.

Perhaps be at the forefront of an historic change for a better Pakistan.


Opposition to or little acceptance of entrepreneurship in the institutions. There was a problem of awareness and motivation within the institutions where entrepreneurship is a priority neither for administration nor for faculties.

Practice-oriented learning and exercises were seen as non-academic by the institutions.

Lack of support from the teachers, principals and parents to participate in the competition.

There is clearly a need for more entrepreneurship education for teachers — the demand from students is increasing — but it is not possible to meet this demand fully with the current staff involved in entrepreneurship studies.

Only a minority of teachers were really committed to promote entrepreneurship among students.


Transfer of Funds to YES.


The project proved the fact that all young people could be changemakers if they are provided the support and encouragement. The success and failure depends on the paradigm in which young people live and operate. The degrees or skills do not control results, effectiveness and productivity. When we change the paradigm of young people we can change the results.




It was a brave decision by the Sumar-Lakhani Foundation to invest in a breakthrough idea in the field of youth-led enterprise development that was conceived by the founder and CEO of YES Network Pakistan, Mr. Ali Raza Khan .

The idea points to a new understanding of the entrepreneurial potential of marginalized youth of the country. The experiment was done with the most neglected, destitute, marginalized and half educated youth studying in the state-owned charity-based technical institutions based in the Punjab province of the Pakistan.

The idea showed these young people are as much gifted as young people living in high or middle income families.


United States