Entrepreneurs are the saving face of Pakistan: Munib Nawaz

Narrative building essential to promote start-ups

Being a man who believes in perfection, Munib has had a taste of it all. He has hosted a couple of TV shows and now has his own radio show

The world of fashion has been awash with glitz and glam since its birth but it has not remained controversy free. With its share of pitfalls, it is also a booming industry which attracts a lot of youngsters, with new innovative ideas striving to contribute their bit.

On such person who has always been a source of motivation to youngsters is designer Munib Nawaz. His brand has been synonymous with success, style and masculinity since long. Having started his label with a mere two shirts worth a thousand rupees in the late 1990s, he now owns three stores in Pakistan with exports all over the world with many national and international awards to his name.

“When I started off, I was determined that I would do something with my life, I won’t let circumstances define me, I am going to define my own life,” he said.

DNA talked to Munib Nawaz about his pursuit of excellence, why he advocates for the industry and encourages the new generation to be part of the entrepreneur race and his advice to the newbies.

Being a man who believes in perfection, Munib has had a taste of it all. He has hosted a couple of TV shows and now has his own radio show.

“I had realised it early on, if I want my brand to be successful I need to go out and be part of the society that wears my clothes,” he said while explaining his motto behind being a host and a designer and now an entrepreneur motivator, “If it does not appeal to the layman, it will be redundant.”

Munib wishes to look at the brighter side hence he asks something unaddressed before, “What is the narrative of Pakistan? Why have we been unable to set one to date?” he asks, “Where is the nationalism.”

He believes that the country’s story has not been told well enough and it is our own shortcoming.

“We do not believe in hero making. Everyone who is rich or doing well is corrupt. We have made halal earning a dream. We need to break these myths by showing people how it can be done.”

In his view, this will only be possible if the people of Pakistan, the majority, are educated and employed. “We the minority i.e. the literate keep talking amongst ourselves about change and how to bring it around. The entire population of Pakistan think this is what Pakistan is as it exists and it’s okay for them.”

He further puts that they don’t know what politicians should be doing and what to expect of them, “Neither the provider nor the taker is aware of what they need, want nor should expect; majorly due to lack of education from every direction.”

For this to happen, he believes that the entire nation should be on the same page. “We shouldn’t be the one setting the narrative of Pakistan because we are a very small percentage of the population which wants a change.”

He suggests and quotes a friend, “If each individual fills his position along with the one on his left and right to the utmost of his potential, things might start to seem brighter.”

How does one do this? He promotes entrepreneurship and creativity, “Evolve, create, bring in new ideas and execute them.”

Though the current generation has no time to execute their ideas easily due to the various distractions, he still hopes for them to come around. “We didn’t have the internet hence we had a lot of time to think and create things. Now there is accessibility to random information that they do not have time to create, think, and design.”

He suggests the youth do everything with passion and interest.

“Have a clear idea of what you want. Discard the habit of finding everything wrong with things before you see the positives. We have been constructed such a way, change that.”

Entrepreneurship and education both are very important for change in the country, yet the path is not hurdle free. “When the talent needs to meet the brain, life isn’t so filmy anymore,” he laughs sarcastically.

Wakeup before the sunrises. You keep working and the day doesn’t end. You can do so much in that day

He believes that the immense talent lack platforms. “The ones who are seen on the front lines are relatives or friends of big shots,” he expresses while adding that each individual should get an equal chance of channelising his potential.

“Investors are not friendly towards entrepreneurs. There is a huge gap between them. When we start forming true intellectual infrastructural collaborations for entrepreneurs, that is when the change will be inevitable,” he predicts that to come true in less than 20 years’ time.

Trying to do his bit, Munib is launching a couple of start-up programmes. “Some youngsters came to me with amazing ideas. I asked them to keep working on them. I am going to launch one very soon. The others I am waiting for finances on.”

One of them is ‘Dock It’, a discount card which has 150 businesses already signed in. Ranging from hospitals to the world of fashion, the card will be a shoppers’ delight.

Hence, he firmly believes in start-ups. “If we want to educate and employee our people, we need entrepreneurs, because they are the only ones who can make places for them to settle at.”

“I feel this generation is very smart and swift, due to the immense problems we face every day, they know the solution to each problem and each solution is a potential business,” he wittily adds.

To put things into perspective, Munib knows that the current system isn’t evolved enough to be able to recognise individual efforts for the country. “I understand that when you want to do something for the nation it becomes very unilateral. I keep wondering for the next generation. Are we doing enough to inspire you, to do better for the country?”

“I feel I can be more involved when I know my futures, my kids are safe and I try talking about what is right in Pakistan and how we can help it,” he shares with DNA.

Munib’s guideline to potential entrepreneurs

Beat the day: “Wakeup before the sun rises. You keep working and the day doesn’t end. You can do so much in that day. You would have done so much in a day and feel accomplished.”

Find a purpose to life: Which is specific to you and you alone. My purpose is to

“Inspire, Better, Life, Style” which means:

Inspire — able to be an inspiration and be inspired.

Better — continue to do better because there is no best, always keep n improving.

Life — be able to help.

Style — try to do everything with style i.e. to educate.

Don’t be practical: nothing that you dream of can be practical and you should be able to achieve what you dream of.

Be extremely ambitious

**** mediocrity: aim for excellence

Follow up on what you did: at the end, the work is either done or not done.

Give priority to others: Put somebody else before yourself. Find a boss that you believe in, even if they do not give you a lot of money. Try to learn and be inspired by someone.

Originally Published in Pakistan Today