Innovation Management & Entrepreneurship News
The global phenomena of startup accelerators, incubators, and university labs have started to take hold in Pakistan. With a growing recognition of entrepreneurship as a driver of economic growth and social change, more organizations are investing in sustainable and socially responsible programs.
And at the forefront of it all is Sumbal Bashir, Fulbright Scholar and student in the Master of Science in Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship (MS-IME) program at Temple University’s Fox School of Business.
Despite advances in and a growing acceptance of entrepreneurship in Pakistan, Bashir has seen firsthand that there exists a gap in the knowledge base and a need for skilled professionals in the country’s startup landscape. This is where she said she plans to make a difference.
“I will bring home my knowledge and experiences from the MS-IME program to fill in that gap and drive the growth of entrepreneurship in Pakistan,” she said.
To be fair, Bashir already has had quite an influential role in Pakistan’s startup scene. While earning a bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance from Lahore University of Management Science (LUMS) in Lahore, Pakistan, Bashir interned with Ernst & Young, Barclays, Shell, and Akhuwat.
SMSall, a small, Lahore-based tech startup working to improve mobile communications in Pakistan, hired Bashir immediately after she graduated. There, she worked in business development and contributed to some of the company’s most-noteworthy projects, including the launch of SMSall messaging app. The app went on to be featured in the APICTA Awards in Hong Kong and the BlackBox Connect accelerator program in Silicon Valley.
“The most challenging and rewarding project was the launch of SMSall’s messaging app,” she said. “It was the first mobile-based communication application developed in Pakistan.”
Much of Bashir’s interests lie in supporting other young, female entrepreneurs. During her internship with Akhuwat, one of the largest micro-financing organizations in Pakistan, Bashir interacted with female micro-entrepreneurs and came to realize how vital their financial earnings were to their families. At the same time, she participated in a Shell program to promote entrepreneurship in Pakistan. Again, she found herself consulting with female entrepreneurs.
“The one thing I learned from my experiences was that the women from low-income communities are really ambitious and talented, and very much into entrepreneurship,” she said. “The only thing they need is more training and access to capital and markets. I want to be a part of the process that takes out this constraint for them.”
Last year Bashir worked with The Citizens Foundation, a non-governmental organization in Pakistan that offers affordable schooling to students from low economic backgrounds. She spent her time providing educational and personal counseling to female students.
“At the end of the program, a number of students told us how life-changing the experience was for them, and that for me was a very rewarding moment,” she said.
Bashir is in the midst of her own life-changing experience now, as she completes her MS-IME degree program. She was drawn to the Fox School’s program by its holistic approach to teaching entrepreneurship — and the emphasis on real-time projects, internship opportunities, guest speakers, and personal coaching for students who want to start their own businesses.
Last semester, as part of her independent study project with Assistant Professor of Strategic Management Jane Frankel, Bashir interned with Dreamit Health Philadelphia, a 16-week boot camp for health-focused startups. Under Dreamit Health, Bashir worked with VizExcell, a startup that is developing a personalized breast cancer risk assessment platform for radiologists and their patients.
“It was one of the most-interesting experiences for me so far, as it provided me with an exposure to the startup accelerators environment and the healthcare ecosystem of the United States,” she said.
Bashir’s commitment to entrepreneurship and her potential to make a real-world impact have not gone unnoticed.
“She was able to provide extensive research and evaluation for the markets of her sponsoring company,” Frankel said of Bashir’s market research for VizExcell. “Her report was extremely comprehensive, well-organized and timely.”
“She really seemed to embrace the innovation strategies and tools being taught, and I was able to see her apply them to many real-world situations,” said Dr. Michael Rivera, Associate Professor of Strategic Management and Director of the Fox School’s Executive MBA program, who counted Bashir among his students in his Business Model Innovation and Innovation Adoption and Diffusion courses.
“She is on the path to future success.”
Do ethical entrepreneurs earn more?
“Yes,” said Bernard “Bernie” Marcus, answering the question that also served as the title of his lecture.
The co-founder and former CEO of The Home Depot, Marcus visited Temple University’s Fox School of Business Feb. 9 as the inaugural Warren V. “Pete” Musser Visiting Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Established in 2015, the Musser Professorship is an endowed term professorship filled by experienced and well-known practitioners who are interested in spending a term at the Fox School to mentor students in the early stages of their ventures.
A businessman and philanthropist, Marcus co-founded The Home Depot after he and coworker Arthur Blank lost their jobs with a California hardware store. The Home Depot went public in 1981 and has since become a billion-dollar, home-improvement empire. Marcus retired in 2001 to focus on philanthropy.
“Ethics are critically important,” Marcus told the standing-room only crowd at Alter Hall. “Everyone has that desperate moment in business when someone tries to break your conscience.”
Marcus’ “desperate moment” came when, at age 49 and unemployed, he decided to open The Home Depot. The former medical student hadn’t encountered the sometimes-unprincipled and amoral dealings that one can encounter with owning a business. Undaunted, Marcus refused to work with those who were dishonest and resolved that his business wouldn’t be about cutting corners or taking bribes.
“The Home Depot is the fastest-growing retail company in history, and it’s ethical in every way,” Marcus said.
Marcus elaborated. When Hurricane Sandy struck the East Coast in 2012, The Home Depot opened its doors to all customers who had been located in the hurricane’s path, offering supplies to them free of charge. A year later, when a tornado ravaged Moore, Okla., Marcus said The Home Depot took note of the area’s numerous displaced pets and set up cages in its stores.
“We became a pet store,” Marcus said, of the nearly three weeks during which The Home Depot housed the lost animals. “We did that then, and we’ll do it today. That’s ethics. That’s how you treat people and get the culture at The Home Depot.”
Leveraging his wealth, Marcus supports autism advocacy group Autism Speaks, and supports veterans employed by The Home Depot and their families employed. For Marcus, the purpose of the company’s good deeds is not to garner media attention. Running a business with an end game of fame or fortune, he said, simply is not ethical.
In addition to its support of veterans, The Home Depot seeks to instill in each of its employees — from store managers to new hires — a sense of pride, charity and professional drive. After all, Marcus said, he wouldn’t be in the position he is today without the men and women who worked nights and weekends for the company he founded.
“People don’t have to be recognized for doing their jobs, but when they do something exceptional, you congratulate them,” Marcus said.
Similar to Marcus, entrepreneurship is a pillar at the Fox School of Business. Its undergraduate- and graduate-level Entrepreneurship programs are nationally ranked Nos. 8 and 10, respectively, by The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine. Fox is also one of only five schools nationally to attain two top-10 rankings. And Fox’s Master of Science in Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship degree program offers a course in Ethical Entrepreneurship.
For the students in attendance, Marcus discouraged them against compromising their values or giving up.
“Creative philanthropy is about hanging onto an idea, pursuing it, and not letting it get you down,” Marcus said. “You will win.”
Entrepreneurship is a pillar at Temple University, and outsiders have taken notice.
The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine ranked the undergraduate Entrepreneurship program at Temple University’s Fox School of Business No. 8 in the country, a three-spot climb from the 2015 rankings. Fox’s graduate-level Entrepreneurship program also made the top-10. Its No. 10 ranking marked a six-spot improvement from last year.
Temple is one of five colleges and universities nationally to have been ranked within the top 10 at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, and is the only college or university in the Greater Philadelphia region to be ranked by The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine. Temple University has appeared in each installment of the entrepreneurship rankings since 2006.
“We are proud to have been ranked once again as one of the nation’s premier institutions for teaching and practicing entrepreneurship,” said Dr. M. Moshe Porat, Dean of the Fox School. “By emphasizing innovation, promoting small-business development, and preparing our students to think of themselves as entrepreneurs, we continue to drive innovation, economic growth, and job creation in the Philadelphia region and beyond. We look forward to further enhancing our programs in order to strengthen university-wide entrepreneurship.”
Added Temple University President Dr. Neil D. Theobald: “These rankings show that Temple University is upholding its commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship. Across disciplines, and in all of our schools and colleges, we prepare students to be ‘real-world ready.’ We empower them to take charge of their futures and find success in fields that have not yet been invented.”
Published Nov. 10, The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine’s 2016 rankings recognize 25 undergraduate- and 25 graduate-level programs for excellence in entrepreneurship education. The rankings are based upon a large variety of quantitative and qualitative criteria, including the number of: entrepreneurship-specific courses offered; faculty who are also entrepreneurs and/or serve on the boards of new ventures; businesses started and funds raised by alumni; and entrepreneurship-focused activities, competitions, programs, clubs, and centers.
Temple University offers a portfolio of interdisciplinary programs to serve the various constituencies within the university and the region. These range from programs supporting incoming freshmen, like a General Education Course on Creativity & Organizational Innovation or the Innovate & Create Living Learning Community; those that support faculty scientists, like the TechConnect Workshop and the Graduate Certificate in Innovation and Technology Commercialization; and those that support the professional community in the region and abroad like the Master of Science in Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship.
Through Temple’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute (IEI), the region’s oldest-such center, which is housed at the Fox School, the university conducts annual business plan competitions like the Innovative Idea Competition and the Be Your Own Boss Bowl® for students, faculty, staff, and alumni. With prizes exceeding $200,000, the Be Your Own Boss Bowl® is considered one of the most-lucrative and comprehensive business plan competitions in the nation. Another widely accessible entrepreneurship program, Blackstone LaunchPad, is designed to support and mentor students regardless of major, experience, or discipline.
In the last four years, dating to the 2011-12 academic year, the Fox School of Business and Temple University have seen Entrepreneurship program enrollment increases of 380 and 220 percent at the graduate and undergraduate levels, respectively, according to Dr. Robert C. McNamee, Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship at Fox and Managing Director of Temple’s IEI.
“Such dramatic increases would not have been possible without the dozens of faculty who champion entrepreneurship across the 18 schools and colleges at Temple University,” said McNamee.
IEI provides internship opportunities, business-planning workshops, seminars, mentoring and coaching, in addition to annual conferences in social, global, women’s and industry-specific entrepreneurship. Executive Director Ellen Weber and McNamee lead the entrepreneurship and innovation programs. IEI manages Mid-Atlantic Diamond Ventures, an independent organization that assists emerging technology-based companies in their effort to build sustainable businesses, and works closely with Robin Hood Ventures, a group of Philadelphia-area angel investors that focus on early-stage, high-growth companies.
Over the last four years the IEI has expanded its offerings to include: a Master of Science in Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship; graduate certificates in both Innovation Strategy and Innovation & Technology Commercialization; MBA concentrations in both Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management; a General Education course in Creativity & Organizational Innovation; and an Entrepreneurial Living Learning Community. IEI, in partnership with the College of Engineering, launched a Master of Science in Engineering Management, and supported the creation of a Master of Science in BioInnovation in the College of Science & Technology as multiple ancillary supporting programs.
Visit The Princeton Review for complete rankings.