Lahore School of Economics

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E-Entrepreneurship in Pakistan: Opportunities and Challenges

Dr. Rizwan Ahmed, Lahore School of Economics

Ecommerce has been promoted across the globe as one of the key enablers for youth entrepreneurship and employment. Despite a favorable internet and mobile demographics and increasing ecommerce adoption, Pakistan’s ecommerce market size remains tiny compared to other similar countries. There are strong reasons, supported by facts, to believe that Pakistan is at the brink of an explosive growth in ecommerce, should an enabling environment be provided. We conducted a qualitative study with 10 e-entrepreneurs to explore the factors hindering ecommerce growth in Pakistan. We identify that the absence of institutions and trade bodies to support and promote ecommerce, lack of applied and market research, lack of capacity building and training in ecommerce, and absence of e-payment gateways are main stumbling blocks that are hindering ecommerce growth in Pakistan. We could not find any national ecommerce policy or strategy developed by government or any independent agency in Pakistan for ecommerce growth. We suggest that development of a rational ecommerce policy based on field data and ground realities; and effective implementation of such policy has a pivotal role in providing the enabling environment for ecommerce growth. Therefore, we propose an in depth inquiry into the nature and size of ecommerce market in Pakistan, based on which ecommerce policy guidelines should be developed for ecommerce growth in Pakistan. Should an enabling environment be provided for ecommerce growth in Pakistan, a huge opportunity for youth and female entrepreneurship and employment can be created.

Dr. Rizwan Ahmed is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Business Administration at Lahore School of Economics. Prior to this he was the HoD of Information and Operations Management Division at UCP Business School. He holds PhD in Business Process Modeling and Simulation from University of Hertfordshire UK, and MSc. and BS in computing. Dr. Rizwan has over 10 years of academic and industry experience in Pakistan and the UK. He held research and academic positions at University of Hertfordshire, UK and University of Teesside, UK where he has been involved in major applied projects in collaboration with the industry. He has also been a visiting research fellow at Warwick Business School and University of Nottingham, UK. Dr. Rizwan has also worked as a management consultant at Lanner Consulting UK. In his consulting and research capacity, he has worked with the companies like British Telecom, British Airways, IBM, Rolls Royce, Lockheed Martin, and Siemens. He has also been pivotal in a project funded by the UK Department of Trade and Industry aimed at improving and reengineering the production processes of precast concrete industry in the UK. Dr. Rizwan Ahmed currently teaches courses related to Operations and Supply Chain Management to post-graduate and undergraduate classes at LSE. His previous teaching assignments include, Operations Management, Supply Chain Management, Project Management, Management Information Systems, and Systems Analysis and Design, and E-Marketing and Social Media. Dr. Rizwan has published in leading academic leading journals such as Journal of Operational Research Society, Journal of Simulation, and International Journal of Knowledge Management. His research interests fall in the areas of business process reengineering, supply chain management, e-commerce, and knowledge management.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 5/31/2014 09:30:00 AM,

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