By ANISAH ARIF
A local businessman and entrepreneur has just took another step towards creating Bradford into a city of wealth and employment.
Recently, Amjad became the chairman of a Pakistan company initiative called Jumpstart, which provided opportunities for entrepreneurs and institutions globally to get team up and make their own country a better place and to ‘jumpstart’ the economy.
After spending most of his life involved in businesses, Amjad now spends most of his time advocating for Bradford’s economic and entrepreneurial growth.
Recognising his entrepreneurial contributions to the city, Bradford Council invited Amjad to contribute to the working group which formulated the 2017-2030 economic strategy for Bradford.
“Jumpstart is the idea that if you have a beautiful car, the engine is fine, the body is fine but for some reason the battery is flat. What you do is use another battery and jumpstart the car to get it going.
“Jumpstart is giving the power to people to stand on their own two feet. Changing their own destiny, will change the nation’s destiny. It is a platform. We are encouraging people to get in touch if they want to make a difference in Pakistan so that they have a safe global pathway for global community in Pakistan and help people in the other countries including Bradford.
“It’s the beginning of the journey. Not just with us, but with 30 other countries. All the dots are connecting”.
Graduating in 1983 in business studies and specialising in market research, Amjad went on to work for the Yorkshire Building Society in the financial services department as an assistant marketing manager. After realising the job was not for him, he left and started his own newsagent business in Bradford with his family, which was one of the first to introduce Afro-Caribbean products. He then gradually moved on to founding Seafresh Food limited.
Amjad believes that Bradford should be recognised for its uniqueness, especially for its diverse, creative, entrepreneurial and young population.
Amjad strongly believes in using diverse communities as economic bridges and trusts that Bradford with its mixed population can attract contacts and partnerships with other countries to enhance economic growth.
He says: “When people came from Pakistan post second world war, there was no system of caste, or judgement o where you are from. Everybody was poor. It was all communal and brotherhood and sisterhood. People wanted to succeed but they also wanted everyone else to succeed”.
After also chairing the Asian Trade Link from 1999-2012, which saw 30 businesses come together from all over Yorkshire and connected institutions such as chamber of commerce, the council, department of trade, and leverage support for Asian businesses and young people and guide them into better pathways, grew up to the biggest business support organisations in the UK.
Now Jumpstart is his new venture, where he is trying to create better links with Pakistan and Bradford and build a stronger relationship of networks especially between the younger generation.
After telling us his children do not have a strong linkage to Pakistan, there is a strong responsbility to build that bridge and create a platform where people and pivotal institutions from both countries not just to create business and regenerate the economy but to look at social problems in a generic and holistic way, as well as providing opportunities for long life partnerships/relationships.
“We believe that Jumpstart and LIFT Pakistan, means the only people that are going to solve economic problems are entrepreneurs. When they create businesses, it will create meaningful employment, it will give prosperity to Pakistan in terms of generating greater GDP.
“Businesses in Bradford can connect with Pakistani business to build relationships, financial relationships and then your children can do wider projects. You need to create institutions and programmes that allow people to connect on the ground. Through this Jumpstart, not only are we connecting university kids, but larger corporations globally”.
With this new project, and the allocation of Imran Khan as Prime Minister, the family man says that his ‘homeland’ has to be put right, and through an honest and fair government, as well as Imran Khan’s values and morals, Pakistan will progress.
He says: “Pakistan is blessed with the resources, the human capital. Our Pakistani people are the most energetic people. They did not have the leadership, that’s why they had gone onto reverse mode”.
Jumpstart hopes to create new opportunities for Bradford as well as Pakistan. Amjad tells us of all upcoming plans he has for the future. This includes introducing a city in Pakistan to be the UNESCO City of Film, just like Bradford, in which he had been appointed an advisor for. He hopes to promote that in the New Year.
Bradford has one of the biggest Pakistani communities in the UK, so Jumpstart Pakistan can only mean that Bradford is up on the rise, economically and financially.