1. Please briefly introduce yourself and your current job.
My name is Hareem Arshad and I was born in Pakistan. I completed my Masters in Business Administration from AIR University, Pakistan. After that I was selected for DAAD/HEC scholarship for my Ph.D. from Germany. I worked on the topic of frugal innovation in healthcare sector during my doctoral studies. Simultaneously, I worked as a research assistant at Fraunhofer IMW, Leipzig. After completion of my Ph.D. studies, I won Interim Placement program offered by Higher Education Commission of Pakistan for one year. In addition to that I have been working as a Postdoc fellow since September 2021 at the Institute of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Science headed by Prof. Alexander Brem. Recently I have been selected for “Young Woman Researcher” award by Venus International Foundation and I am also currently managing the special track on “Sustainable Business models: Create and Capture Value through Frugal Innovation” at NBM conference which is going to take place in Rome, Italy in June 2022.
2. How did you get involved in entrepreneurship?
I studied the course of entrepreneurship during my Bachelor studies of Business Administration. At that time I realized that entrepreneurship is not only a course for me, rather it’s a lifestyle which should be practiced. I scored the maximum CGPA in that course which motivated me to think differently. I belong to Multan, which is one of the major cultural and economic centers of Southern Punjab; and there it is very difficult for a woman to get higher education from foreign countries. My family, especially my father and my husband supported me in doing my doctorate from Germany. I consider myself as an entrepreneur and a role model for all the women belonging to Southern Punjab. I learnt a lot during my doctorate and after its completion; Prof. Alexander Brem gave me a chance to become a part of his team. It is an honor for me to work at the Institute of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Science. This has not only broadened my horizon, but my research is contributing towards the betterment of society in the form of sustainable solutions for both developed and emerging economies.
3. What tip would you give to students who are enthusiastic about founding a company, who are currently thinking about founding a company or who have already taken the first steps towards self-employment?
I would say “never give up on your dreams”. You just need to be resilient to move forward. There are always challenges arising in the way of success, but the most important thing is to keep on going and to never look back once the journey has started. We need more sustainable solutions which require out of the box thinking with flexible approaches. You need to focus on your own capabilities and prepare different plans with respect to multiple situations. First step is to understand the market you would like to serve and secondly study the data of both successful and unsuccessful companies. Through this you will get a better understanding of the factors that worked well and the ones that need improvement. In the end I would like to say that if you have the passion to do it, then nothing is impossible in this world.