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Corporate Profile
The Indus Entrepreneurs

Corporate Profile

Column

Science & Technology

Politics & Policy

By Syed M. Aslam
July 02 - 08, 2001

The influx of immigration to the United States from the Indo-Pakistan sub-continent differed in quality and character than all others that preceded it. By and large, the early emigrants were by and large unskilled workers and labourers drawn by the economic opportunities in the then emerging industrialisation and mass production.

On the other hand, the migration from the sub-continent which gained momentum in the mid sixties consisted highly educated people. The wave comprised highly motivated students the majority of whom belonged to the then newly emerging middle class. These immigrants were well focused on getting the best possible education and career jobs.

By mid seventies, backed by experience gained by reaching the highest levels of their professional carriers as engineers, doctors, scientists, educators and businessmen this particular segment of the immigrants started showing signs of economic acumen and entrepreneurship. The personal successes of these immigrants also played a crucial role to create new companies and industries in the US.

The next generation of these immigrants which has moved out of the universities and is expected to play a much more significant role. As the comparatively recent immigrants to the US, the new generation US citizens with historical relation to the sub-continent, realise that it has immensely benefited from the efforts and hardwork of pioneers. The need for establishing for a common platform for the next generation immigrants, now US citizens, who share mutual respect and meritocracy as their core values.

The Indus Entrepreneurs (TIE) is a manifestation of desires of these immigrants. TIE, with its headquarters in Northern California, calls itself a high-minded organisation of entreprising individuals from Indus Valley Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal. TIE came into existence in the late 1992 when a handful of Silicon Valley executives of Indus origin got together and thought of frequently bringing high achievers from the region for the purpose of networking and monitoring. By 1994, TIE became a formal organisation of charter-members and members. It is an organisation chartered by entrepreneurs, corporate executives and senior professionals whose specific goal is to benefit all entrepreneurs, would-be entrepreneurs and professionals. This global non-profit network of entrepreneurs and professionals is dedicated to the advancement of entrepreneurship.

TIE has explicitly established three objectives. Number one, to encourage, support and nurture entrepreneurship by, inter alia, providing educational, networking and monitoring assistance to existing and potential entrepreneurs and professionals. Number two, to build business and network bridges between enterprises, entrepreneurs, professionals and individuals. And lastly, to bring together members, venture capitalists, Angel Investors and others fostering a better appreciation of each others' needs and delivering highest quality services to the members.

What distinguishes TIE is its philosophy of nurturing entrepreneurship among people of Indus origin across the world. TIE has Pakistani participation from almost its beginning and has a Karachi Chapter, the president of which is the president of Habib Bank, Zakir Mahmood. The Karachi Chapter was launched in February this year and it has another in Lahore. TIE has already launched five chapters in India. It has chapters in major cities of the US, Canada and UK.

Like elsewhere, TIE's goal in Pakistan is focused on wealth creation and entrepreneurship in short it is about prospering. TIE is not about investing but rather about mentioning, fostering and educating entrepreneurs. While investments do take place at TIE but are not TIE activities and rather individual activities. TIE has over $ 100 billion in wealth creation to its name.

One of TIE's founder is Kanwal Rekhi, a Silicon Valley pioneer. He was the founder of Excelan, a computer networking company in 1982, which went public on the NASDAQ in 1987 and merged with Novell in 1989. Safi Qureshy, another founding member, is the former CEO and chairman emeritus of AST Research Inc, a personal computer manufacturer. He was a member of former US President Clinton's Export Council and was recognised as the top 25 executives by Computer Reseller News and Portable Pioneer by PC Laptop Magazine. These are just the two of many co-founders of TIE and the credentials of the others are as impressive.

Charter membership of TIE is by invitation only and to successful entrepreneurs and senior executives. The annual fee is $ 1,500 or Rs 75,000 for those in the Indus region. The regular membership is open to budding entrepreneurs who are looking for mentors, advisors, knowledge and experience. The annual membership fee is $ 100 or Rs 3,000 and one time enrollment of the same amount.