Zain Abbas (Pakistan)
“The faith that the Hinrich Foundation has put in me has ignited my imagination and given me the wings to fly high fearlessly and set out to achieve what I would have never dreamt of. „
I am currently managing my ancestral family business at Azam Market, Asia’s largest wholesale cloth market located in the Walled city of old Lahore. Rampant child labor, lack of innovation and inefficiencies driven by regressive attitudes and illiteracy characterize the city’s culture. When I joined the business, I became the first LUMS graduate to work in Azam Market.
The textile sector is Pakistan’s biggest contributor to exports (57%) and second largest contributor to GDP (8.5%). However, despite being world’s fourth largest producer of cotton, Pakistan commands a meager 1% share of the global textile trade. Having spent five years in the industry, I believe the biggest impediment is that genuine intellect and education has rarely been integrated into the sector. And this is exactly what I have been trying to do in my business.
Leveraging my education, I was able to shift our entire business model from credit to cash, spearhead value-added product innovation and drive automation across operations. The ensuing success has broadened my vision as I now aim for entry into international markets. This ambition has allowed me to identify gaps in my skillset and the need for collaboration.
Becoming the first Pakistani to be awarded the Hinrich Foundation Trade Scholarship is one of the proudest achievements of my life. I look forward to interacting with the diverse HF community and learning from their rich experiences reshaping the trade landscape within their regions. This networking and support from HF combined with an MBA from INSEAD will go a long way in addressing the gaps in my skillset and scaling up my impact towards transforming the Textile sector of Pakistan.