Sarfraz Mian of Oswego’s School of Business faculty believes one key to an era of prosperity and peace for Pakistan, his native land, is encouraging entrepreneurism there through education, aid and innovation.
“The empty mind is the devil's workshop. If young Pakistanis have useful skills, they can work to develop their own businesses,” he said.
An expert in strategic management and entrepreneurship education, Mian led a team of researchers in 2010 surveying more than 2,000 Pakistanis about their entrepreneurial and small-business perceptions and aspirations as part of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, a not-for-profit academic research consortium conducting the largest study of entrepreneurial activity in the world.
In country after country, Mian said, building small business and the entrepreneurial spirit piece by piece has led to improvements in national economic health. He pointed to homegrown Pakistani businesses like NetSol Technologies Inc., now a multinational developer of information management systems for health care and other industries, which trades on the NASDAQ and Dubai exchanges.
In his goal of improved business education in Pakistan, Mian has made trips there at least every two years to lobby government officials, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the World Bank and top universities around the country.
“We must teach the practical things. We must teach the useful things,” he said. “We need to say to the youth, ‘Help yourselves and help the world.’”