Ahmer Mushahid Siddiqui, a young banker turned businessman, running his business of imports and exports especially in paper and stationery items. Young Ahmer is also running his Clearing & Forwarding firm under the name of Eastman Agencies successfully. Basically, a commerce graduate, Ahmer started his career as a Credit and Marketing Officer in the Soneri Bank in 1998. Despite having earned a respectable place in the banking sector by securing honorarium and prizes for his outstanding professional performance especially in the marketing side for his bank, his energetic nature and ambition to work in a wider perspective forced him to start his own business. His father, Mushahid Hasan Siddiqui, is also a retired senior banker from the United Bank as an Executive Vice President. Due to his outstanding professional strength Ahmer's father widely known for his research work in the banking systems especially due to his significant research contributions in the form of internationally acknowledged book, "Prudent Handling of Foreign Exchange Transactions".

PAGE: It is interesting to note that despite having a sound family background in the banking profession and also carving an outstanding position in your banking service why you changed your mind and took risk of running your own business?

AHMER: No doubt I was doing good in banking services and my efforts were also duly recognized by the management in the form of prizes and honorarium, yet the employer always restricts one to move within certain limit. As an employee you cannot go beyond a certain limit because in a way you have accepted to offer your time and efforts for a certain amount you get in the form of your salary. On the contrary, being a self-employed person you work for yourself and get the real value of your time and efforts. My ambitions were to work in an atmosphere where I could make my own decisions hence I decided to go for my own business.

PAGE: Availability of financial resources plays an important role for initiating your own business. For the benefit of other young people would you like to share how did you manage to get the financial support to set up your own business?

AHMER: You are right the financial base is a pre-requisite for initiating your own business, however it does not comes as number one priority. The primary requirement for the success in any sphere of life is your firm belief that you will hit the targets you have set in your life. In my case, I was lucky to have all sorts of assistance and support from my brother in law Irshad Karimi who is an established businessman and running his bonded warehouse business in Karachi.

PAGE: As you know the prime objective of our young people is to get a job after completing the education. However, in the face of acute shortage of employment opportunities only a small number of lucky people are able to clinch a job while a large number of educated people remain out of the job. What would you suggest to overcome this problem as a successful young businessman?

AHMER: Employment opportunities are definitely limited not only in Pakistan but all over the globe but the situation in Pakistan aggravated due to lack of project financing. However, it is unfortunate that a vast majority of the young people has a mindset to go into service cadre after completing the education. Education does not necessarily means that one should go for employment. Education helps a man to see things with clarity of mind, so he can discern between good and the bad or between right and the wrong.

Generally speaking, people are shy to do small-scale business due to their social standings they generally feel disgraced. On the contrary they willingly do the menial jobs at grocery shops, gas stations or dishwashing in restaurants abroad. I believe that to be self-employed is a great honor because you are not answerable to anybody. Even if you are running a small business, chances are always there that your business would grow with the passage of time if you were committed to your purpose. Hence, we can overcome the problem of unemployment if our younger generation is succeeded in breaking the so-called psychological barriers of white color jobs, which is killing the actual talent of the people.

The present government has seriously launched various schemes for the youngsters to become self-employed and run their own business set up. The creation of SME bank, which has given the target to provide business, loans for small projects to the young people. Such type of banks have played significant role in fighting against the unemployment in Bangladesh as well as in Indonesia. Hopefully such schemes launched by the banking sector in Pakistan will also help a lot in overcoming the problem of unemployment faced by the young in Pakistan as well. It is for the first time that under this scheme launched by the present government, the small and medium project financing has been made accessible to the common man, that is a good omen for creation of a culture of self-employment in Pakistan.