Madiha Hamid traveled to the United States on a U.S. government-funded program to attend the 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Summit in the Silicon Valley, California. She is a tech-entrepreneur by profession and runs her own ventures.We recently sat down with Madiha for a conversation while enjoying a plate of biryani, prepared by one of her own ventures ‘Chefling Kitchen’. We spoke with her about journey at the 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Summit which she describes as a magical fairytale.
Can you briefly tell us about yourself?
By profession, I am a Digital Marketer. I hold a Master’s in Business Administration. I have been working on digital products since the beginning and later on, I launched my own digital agency as well as two products called Chefling Tales and Chefling Kitchen .
How did you make the decision to apply for the GES? How did you hear about the program?
I was using the working space at the WECREATE Center where I was running my digital agency and product ‘Chefling Tales’. The management informed us about the application process of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit. Soon after, I applied for the program.
How did you feel when you first arrived in the United States as a GES grantee?
As soon as we landed in America, I witnessed diversity. There were people from almost every country with a distinctive idea and diverse products. Everyone was passionate about making their community and country a better place.
The summit invited more than 700 guests from around the globe, therefore, it was more likely to bump into a foreigner than an American. It instantly instilled a thought that I came here to see America but I could see the whole world.
How did the GES experience help you to polish your skillset, broaden your understanding about your work and product?
The Global Entrepreneurship Summit was a highly exclusive event hosting 700 selected entrepreneurs from around the world, as well as 300 delegates representing countries and government agencies, the President of the United States also made an appearance. So, it felt like the Oscars of the Tech industry as it featured prominent figures like Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai, among others. Having the opportunity to have listened to a diverse group of successful individuals, each with their own products, methods to tackle failures and ways to sustain successes, furthermore strengthened my understanding of the entrepreneurial competencies and processes in a dynamic approach.
The platform provided several networking opportunities to speak with the leaders in innovation, tech and entrepreneurship which offered a wider viewpoint to evaluate and nurture my product, as a result, my product was drastically redefined.
As you have stated that you have met prominent figures of the tech industry, who led your favorite session at the GES?
Though, it is relatively challenging to name one nonetheless I thoroughly enjoyed the fireside chat with the co-founder of Google, Sergey Brin, who spoke about his journey that transformed the world forever, therefore I would rate it as my favorite session.
Can you name your three most important takeaways from GES?
The first, undoubtedly, would be the motivation level which utterly spiked up. The motivation translated into a reassurance in my own craft as it was said, “it was tougher to get to GES than to Stanford University. “
I will rank the outstanding cross-cultural exposure as the second most important part of the trip. I had never imagined that I would be at the Start Accelerator and participating in a two-day hackathon with a team consisting of members who work in the Silicon Valley.
The third takeaway would be the knowledge. Before going to the GES, my knowledge about startups, products and investment was very limited which has reached new horizons. The knowledge polished my product, facilitated me to understand the dynamics and establish relevant connections.
Check out how Madiha introduces the U.S. Embassy’s employees to the ‘Must-Try’ food in Islamabad
How was it like securing the second position at the Stanford Accelerator’s Hacktivision Hackathon?
Saima Tariq (A Pakistani GES grantee) and I participated in the Hackatavision (Hackathon) which was designed to promote innovative solutions for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Our idea secured the second position at the contest and it was indeed a matter of great honor and pride for both of us.
What impressed you the most in the United States?
I think it is the simplification of process which makes life way easier. Despite the fact that the place was crowded with the delegations from the globe, the locals welcomed us very politely. The diversity was very fulfilling.
What are the challenges for Pakistani women in STEM?
I believe, for women, there are undoubtedly many roadblocks out there in terms of not getting enough resources, education, networks, and the right mentorship. Women are more likely to encounter setbacks on their journey in STEM. However, you have to remember that it is you who needs to break down the barriers with hard work and sheer determination.
Step out and ask, things will be much simpler for you.