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A man of one million dreams

At the age of five, he sold candies at a counter in front of his home on Tariq Road in Karachi; at eight, he
remembers, he sold flag-printed badges in August and earned a good profit. When he was 13, he
founded his first company, Pakistan Computers in Pakistan and by the age of 16, when in high school,
he created Commodore Computer Accessories, including voice digitizers, modems and speed
increasers.
Now, at 41, he runs over 50 ventures in the US, Europe, UAE, Malaysia and Pakistan, but he calls
himself retired at 38 and spends most of his time to create a poverty-free planet.

Meet Rehan Allahwala, the motivational speaker and preacher of entrepreneur culture, who has set a goal of
creating one million entrepreneurs in Pakistan to reduce and eradicate poverty from the country. Poverty is a
mindset, and be tackled with positivity; positive feelings, positive work, and positive human interaction, he
told Daily Times in an interview.

Positive feelings are hard to come by, as our brains and social settings are more conducive to negative
feelings. But to Rehan, setting high, near impossible goals and then launching a ceaseless struggle to
achieve them leaves no time for being negative. He spreads positivity through his speeches, books,
videos, a newspaper (he runs a weekly named Khushkhabri), online resources and social media.
Facebook has recognized and verified him as the Only Business Person in Pakistan among the 20 others
Facebook verified people in Pakistan.
Quran explains how large beings are created just from a very small Nutfa and how huge giant trees grow
from one small seed, he says about his mission. Similarly, ideas are also like this, but they take time and
persistence to come true, he says. He tries to sow the seeds of ideas and positivity through technology,
internet and mobile phones. Rehan neither went to college nor to university to study after his high
schooling. However, he developed expertise in the field of international marketing, collaboration,
networking, VOIP, ERP systems, CRM systems architecture, and social media. His company started off
as a VoIP device sales company in United States in 1999 and today is making applications that impacts
millions of lives around the world.
His other venture offers phone service from 50+ countries around the world. The numbers can be taken
and then directed to any regular phone or mobile number, anywhere in the world. I love to connect
people via social media, as it amplifies their work, and collectively we can all eradicate poverty from this
world, he says. First I thought Im crazy, but when Bill Gates announced last year that there will be no
poverty left by 2035, I took a deep breath, that now people can maybe understand what Im working
towards, he adds.
He says that he met a man from the Northern Area and introduced him to the internet and computers, and
now that man is a skilled programmer and has friends from all over the world, which allows him to think
much bigger than his own village, The Global Village. Rehan, with more than 700,000 fans on his
Facebook page, often introduces skilled people on his page asking his followers to make the most of the
person. He asks the people to add at least 10 people from each country and learn something from them.
At a gathering, a girl of class 10 complained to him about her poor English skills. He added her to some
old people from America and other English speaking countries that were ready to teach her English.
I believe every one of us has a potential to teach other; this makes a learning eco system as we all can
learn from each other and teach each other, he says.
Once he installed huge billboards on Karachi roads introducing Sir Richard Branson, an English
businessman and investor. He is best known as the founder of Virgin Group, which comprises more than
440 companies. The message on the billboard was to follow Branson on Facebook or reach him through
a free SMS and in return the billionaire entrepreneur will send them an inspirational SMS daily. Through
stickers, billboards and social media campaigns, he asks the people to follow on social media Bill Gates,
Tony Fernendas, Shaikh Mohammad, and Mahatir Muhammad and get connected with them through
SMS.
The power of Internet and social media, according to him, in Pakistan has not been realised and used to
its capacity, and he called it Kufraani-Naimat not to use but abuse the power of internet. When
demonstrators rampaged through Pakistans streets in 2012 over a blasphemous video, Rehan launched
a campaign through billboards and stickers to connect the Pakistanis with US Barak Obama to register
their anger over the video. He says that Pakistan can surpass Sir Branson if his dream to create one
million entrepreneurs is realised. To combat illiteracy, he started school which offers lessons in Basic
English and Urdu alphabets through mobile phones and teachers are showbiz and sports celebrities.
The video lessons, full of reinforcement, are delivered by celebrities that make the personalized learning
very interesting, he says. Rehan tries to reach more and more celebrities to get the video lessons
delivered. If Katrina Kaif, Bill Gates and Shahid Afridi teach us something, well listen to them with a
great interest, he says. The 500-strong video school can be downloaded from any mobile phone shop or
from the Internet. He says that it is heartening to note that the school has benefited people across the
country, especially in war-torn Swat and some Fata areas.
As veteran to 70 countries, he says, he has concluded that only words are not enough to motivate other
people to positivity. He himself cleans the toilets of his office once a week. He says seeing me, now other
staffers, and he has more than 700 staffers in his projects, also clean toilet once a week or month.