Pakistan may be war-torn, but that hasn't stopped a dynamic entrepreneurial culture from taking shape, as evidenced by a recognition made this week by Harvard Professor Michael Porter's AllWorld Network of the country's Fast Growth 25 winners.
AllWorld aims to highlight, celebrate, and promote the world's rising private sector champions, primarily from the developing world, and Pakistan's inclusion is bound to raise some eyebrows given the country's rather unstable status on the world stage. But it also serves to highlight that innovation pops its head up just about anywhere in the world.
"Pakistani entrepreneurs have flourished in spite of some of the most restricting economic and security environments in the world," said Malik Ahmad Jalal, AllWorld’s Director of the Pakistan 25.
The 25 winners are concentrated primarily in telecommunications, textiles, education, and agriculture and include founders who are tribal leaders, Pakistani-Americans from Silicon Valley, and former University classmates.
"The Pakistan 25 companies, led by dynamic men and women, represent the leading edge of a new approach to Pakistan’s competitiveness" said Porter, who is widely renowned as a leading strategy and competitiveness guru. A few of the top 25 will also be asked to join Porter at Harvard for the AllWorld Summit in November, where the Pakistan entrepreneurs will interact with AllWorld winners from Africa, the Middle East, and other parts of Asia.
With Pakistan's enterprises in clear ranking, there's no reason why neighboring Afghanistan couldn't obtain similar credentials—Skateistan and Peace Dividend Trust, two Afghanistan-affiliated enterprises we've profiled previously, could very likely make the cut for fast growth companies, not to mention social and economic impact.
Follow me, Jenara Nerenberg, on Twitter.