Compiled by Pirah Aijaz
Aisha Mahmood is an innovator, entrepreneur, and capacity building Consultant focused on cutting-edge technologies like web 3.0, metaverse, AI, and AWS NFT. She is the CEO and Founder of “Knowledge Hub”, an Innovation Consulting Company which aims to empower women, youth, and SMEs to embrace emerging technologies for business and career development. Having worked in different roles across the corporate and professional domains, she has an impeccable understanding of how hard work, perseverance, passion, and the desire to rise above yourself can lead you to conquer any challenge.
Her certification from the British Council and Clore Social Leadership UK in “Leadership for Gender Equality” has enabled her to prepare women for C-level positions for the past five years. PBIT and WCCI Lahore have recognized her with the “Women in Tech” Award.
Aisha has changed the lives of hundreds of women in Pakistan. The majority of those who were mentored by Aisha are now, employed by world-class companies.
At Fempreneur, we are honored to feature her as a part of our “Women Who Inspire” series.
Let’s meet her!
What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
It is not uncommon for people to become entrepreneurs out of necessity after losing their jobs. I became an entrepreneur because I wanted to be my own boss. My passion for this led me to create my own projects based on my own vision. Since then, I have struggled a lot to grow my business. A strong desire for autonomy and the ability to take charge of my own destiny. Starting my own business was a way for me to achieve greater wealth and success than I could attain working for another company. I may have experienced frustration at previous jobs or felt stifled by traditional corporate structures. The potential for high rewards is also a powerful incentive, especially when willing to take risks and work hard.
Aisha, how did you come up with the idea of “Knowledge Hub”?
Many innovative businesses start when two people with different strengths come together to form a distinctive type of company. Together, they can build a business based on their strengths and skills. Likewise, my friend Mian Inam Ullah (NJ – USA) and I came up with the idea and started the “Knowledge Hub” in order to apply for an SAP partnership that focuses on SAP training, support, and services.
What accomplishments do you pride yourself on?
I am a woman who is passionate about learning. It is always my goal to empower women, youth, and SMEs to embrace Emerging Technologies for career and business development. This is what I’ve been doing dedicatedly since I started “Knowledge Hub” (an Innovation Consulting Company). Being a self-learner and a diligent person, I never stopped indulging myself in multiple projects. That’s the reason I joined Digital Career Institute as a co-founder where I started coaching and mentoring youth to upskill their digital skills to give them earning opportunities in the digital economy. Apart from this, I’m also SAP S4 HANA Finance certified Project Management Consultant and received PMP training from Harvard University professors at Descon Lahore “Student Learning Hub” from SAP Dubai head office. My accredited expertise includes project implementation, training, and support. I’m the mastermind behind digitizing 22 departments and implementing an ERP system across the University of Lahore’s 5 campuses. Besides managing senior leadership roles in the education and telecom industries, I’ve conducted SAP training programs at Governor House Lahore, Government College University, Lahore, and other educational institutions. I also served as a Global Ambassador with the Common Wealth Entrepreneurship Club UK and Peace Ambassador with the Institute of Peace and Development. In addition to being a panelist at Google Women’s Day at NIC LUMS, I served as a judge for the Dice Entrepreneurial Competition at the University of Central Punjab, a speaker at FAST University’s Women Tech Conference, and at UVAS, Microsoft’s student partner in Lahore and National Incubation Centre (NIC Isb), and a speaker at WEDO Metaverse TANGRA USA.
What challenges did you face while establishing your career and how did you overcome them?
Lack of capital was one of the biggest challenges I faced. Starting a business requires a significant amount of money, and many entrepreneurs don’t have personal savings or access to external funding to get their businesses off the ground. Even if an entrepreneur has a great business idea, they may not be able to raise the money needed to make it a reality. This was a particularly difficult challenge in the tech industry where there are high start-up costs and high competition.
What has been your most valuable lesson?
The only person who can teach me everything I need to know is me, so there was nothing stopping me from teaching myself. Learning from experts is worthwhile. That’s why I’m never afraid to ask for help. For instance, if I’m not an IT expert, I would definitely seek help from someone who is a tech guru. It’s important to find a balance between developing your skills and knowing when it’s best to delegate so you can focus on what you need to grow your business.
As an entrepreneur, what gives you contentment?
Formation of a #WEDO Women Mentoring club: The goal of this club is to mentor women whose businesses may be struggling. Working, for the last 4 years for the financial independence of women entrepreneurs, encouraging them in business to create impact and to work hard to expand their businesses by supporting, motivating, and celebrating with them has been very fulfilling.
You have worked in many areas, such as education, management, and others – which, one have you enjoyed focusing more on?
I have always been in a constant struggle “to be a role model” for young women in the IT field.
How does Web 3.0 benefit businesses? Please share your viewpoints.
Web3 is sure to transform our online future once it becomes fully operational (currently under development). Finance is the core of everything that we do today across the globe. Currently, there is a third party involved if you have to trade or transact. In the coming years, decentralized finance (DeFi) will be the future, and platforms like Konstellation would come in handy to build DeFi hubs.
We will also be able to trade, transact, communicate, and work better without the involvement of any third party, be it a government, corporate, or influencer.
In the next three years, where do you see yourself?
I see myself, as a successful woman doing multi-million dollar projects and getting recognized for my efforts. I hope to be included in the global “Pakistani Women in Emerging Technologies” movement by sharing my vision. I aim to see more women in C-Level positions, being responsible for their capacity building and placement in Fortune 500 companies around the world; connecting our Country’s female entrepreneurs with different platforms to help grow their businesses and empower them with financial independence, consequently adding to Pakistan’s GDP.