When You Need Inspiration As A Startup, Look No Further Than Pakistan’s 5 Richest People

Being a startup is fantastic. Yes, it’s challenging, often daunting and undoubtedly presents a number of hurdles that need to be overcome, but it’s also unbelievably exciting. You’re the founder of a small seed that, if nurtured, could become an established plant that the whole world gets to see.

As such, your passion and drive are key. Your startup needs to be built from the ground up, carefully and considerately, taking into account a whole host of different components. This alone means there’s a distinct need for enthusiasm; a drive to make you want to succeed, something that very often comes about from feeling inspired by others.

But as most startups will no doubt attest, your success and drive reserves can run dry sometimes. You might hit a black spot or a low point for whatever reason it is, and subsequently find it hard to climb out.

With inspiration from others the perfect ladder to help you out of the hole, whilst it comes in many different forms, there are very few who don’t see money as at least some type of incentive to succeed – and if that’s the case, as a Pakistani startup, reading the stories of the country’s five richest people should give you all the inspiration you need.

1.  Shahid Khan

With an estimated worth of US$4.6 billion, Shahid Khan is not just the richest Pakistani, but one of the richest people in the world, having been recently named as 360th.

Building his initial success within the automotive industry, whereby he grew his business of supplying car bumpers into one that not only supplied the three biggest car manufacturers in the US, but which became the sole supplier for Toyota, as of 2010, the company, Flex N Gate, has turned over in excess of US$2 billion in recent years.

Investing in several other areas, most notably becoming the owner of the US NFL team the Jacksonville Cougars and the British soccer team Fulham FC, aged 64, Khan now resides in Naples, Florida, and although a long way from his home town of Lahore, is still proud of his Pakistani roots.

2.  Mian Muhammad Mansha

NEW DELHI, INDIA – APRIL 13: Prominent Pakistani industrialist Mian Muhammad Mansha during an interview with Hindustan Times at ITC Maurya on April 13, 2012 in New Delhi, India. He is a landowner and officially the richest man in Pakistan. (Photo by Arijit Sen / Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

Although second on this list to Shaid Khan, given that Mansha still resides in Pakistan, he is officially the country’s wealthiest resident, with an overall worth of approximately US$2.6 billion.

Fortunate to have been born into a wealthy Pakistani family and as a result, was privileged with an early business education, Mansha didn’t want to rest purely on his family’s history and instead, wanted to succeed in his own right.

With a rich history in textiles, Mansha set up the Nishat Group, which today encompasses a number of companies across a variety of industries, something that’s been critical to his success – via listening, watching and understanding it’s best to not keep your eggs in one basket, Mansha has invested in industries as diverse to his original textiles as cement, transport and banking, sharing his knowledge and experience, and ultimately reducing the risk of simply relying on the one industry.

3.  Asif Ali Zadari

Although having led a life of much controversy, including jail terms, exiles and many legal concerns, there’s little doubt Asif Ali Zadari has been a success financially, securing himself as one of the country’s richest people.

Having an estimatated fortune of US$1.8 billion, Zadari first became prominent in the late 1990s when he married Benazir Bhutto, but established himself as a politician in his own right, as well as further capitalising on his existing business successes.

Spreading his time between Pakistan, the US and the UK, Zadari has made some wise investments over the years and today can be seen active in a variety of industries, alongside that of his family’s primary focus, which provided him with a positive start in life – agriculture.

4.  Sir Anwar Pervez

Having spent the first 20 years of his life in Pakistan, Sir Anwar moved to the UK in the mid 1950s and by 1963, had opened his first convenience store. Fast forward a decade and he was operating 10 stores, and just a few years later in 1976, opened his first wholesale store – with the brand known by then as Bestway.

With the company turning over £2.2 billion today, Sir Anwar is reputed to be worth in excess of US$1.6 billion.   Although much of this has been amassed through Bestway, a large portion has come as a result of investments elsewhere, most notably in the cement and banking industries (with Sir Anwar heavily involved in United Bank Limited, one of Pakistan’s largest commercial banks).

5.  Nawaz Sharif

The current Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif is also one of the country’s wealthiest people ever, reportedly having a fortune of US$1.4 billion.

Much respected and revered in both the political and business worlds, within the latter Sharif is the owner of the Ittefaq Group, an established Pakistani company who’s foundations, and successes, are built upon the steel industry, with the group’s first foundry established in 1969.

Having branched out into both the sugar and steel industries over the years, whether Sharif’s success in politics continues or not, his success in business is very much cemented in history.

There’s a huge amount of inspiration to be drawn from these five individuals, but they are only the top of Pakistan’s financial success ladder – is there someone else close to the top who you feel is more inspiring?  Perhaps someone you believe is set to enter the top five?  Let us know!



  1. junaid naseer

    08/08/2015 at 2:14 pm

    You have got to be kidding me! Naming Zardari and Nawaz shareef to be a source of inspiration?? They are a source of humiliation for us if anything . There is no one more corrupt than these two in the entire country and you want entrepreneurs to take inspiration from them?? They made their fortune bankrupting Pakistan and laundering money abroad not by hardwork or any entrepreneurial skills.

    May be a little research Mr Dan Smith before you go on and write more articles like this.

    • Dan Smith

      09/08/2015 at 3:12 pm

      Hi Junaid,

      The focus of this was piece was primarily to highlight the richest people, by wealth, in or from Pakistan. It’s commonplace for wealth to be a key factor in terms of inspiration for all, and whilst I’m not suggesting one should follow in the direct footsteps of people such as Zardari and Nawaz, their financial status will be of interest – and therefore inspiration – to some.

      I hope that clears this up. Again, the idea wasn’t to suggest certain people are role models to all, but are simply some of the wealthiest individuals in the country (regardless of how they secured said wealth).

  2. Aadam

    09/08/2015 at 8:40 am

    I agree with junaid naseer.

  3. Aftab Ahmed Shah

    09/08/2015 at 12:29 pm

    Zardari & Nawaz Shareef, I agree are inspirational individual only for the ones’ who want to excel in science of corruption & deceit.

  4. Bilal

    09/08/2015 at 1:01 pm

    The stupidest writer I have seen

    • Dan Smith

      09/08/2015 at 3:13 pm

      Hi Bilal,

      I’ve replied to Junaid Naseer’s with a comment that I hope will give further clarification on this piece.

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