Engr Samia Subhan Qureshi graduating from UET and getting postgraduate training in photovoltaic energy from the Arizona State University under USP-CASE Exchange Program, presented her success story at a high level meeting between the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and USAID, chaired by Mr Donald Blome, sworn in as the U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan on April 11, 2022. Her speech:
Honorable U.S. Ambassador David Blome
Honorable Education Minister Shahram Khan Tarakai
Respectable USAID Mission Director Reed Aeschliman
Respected Secretary Education Mu’tasim Billah
Ladies and gentlemen,
Good afternoon and Assalamoalaikum!
Thank you for providing me this opportunity to share my story with you. I belong to a middle-class family from district Bannu in the southern part of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. I have a brother and 3 sisters.
My family, especially my father who is an educated person, always believed that girl children had equal right to opportunities as boys in the family. Despite their limited income. they never hesitated sending me and my sisters to school. I was brilliant at studies and eventually made my way to the Engineering University from where I graduated in electrical engineering during 2018.
That was the same year when I heard about the U.S.-Pakistan Centers for Advanced Studies — a joint venture of the University of Engineering & Technology Peshawar and the Arizona State University that was funded and supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development. I was encouraged by my teachers to apply for a scholarship there. I did and was accepted into the Masters program. This was my first interaction with USAID.
With dedicated labs and state-of-the-art equipment, the USPCAS-E was a dream-come-true for students. I joined a group of talented young men and women and took flight on a great learning path. Being an exceptional student, I was selected for the 6-month USAID-supported exchange program and had the opportunity to visit the Arizona State University where I conducted research on Solar Technology and received a Distinguished Scholar Award. This was the second opportunity I received from USAID.
Entrepreneurship was one of the focused areas of the program which motivated me to apply my knowledge and skills in demonstrating entrepreneurship potential of this technology in my country. Upon returning to Pakistan and graduating from USPCAS-E, I married my classmate who also is a USPCAS-E scholar, and together we realized our dream of starting GreenWend Energy (Pvt.) Ltd.— a company focusing on renewable energy in Pakistan. Initiated as a joint venture of some newly graduated students in 2019, Greenwend Energy benefited immensely from what we had learned at Arizona State University. We successfully competed for public sector projects including the solarization of houses and public facilities.
Businesses were severely impacted by COVID-19 in the following days but we stayed persistent and continued our efforts despite the daunting situation.
I am proud to say that today, GreenWend Energy is faring among the leading renewable energy companies in Peshawar and Islamabad with more than 60 staff members. Since 2019, we have completed 6MW+ installations, and we are generating 7M revenue per day. We have introduced innovations like smart load management and remote monitoring systems using a mobile app.
We secured a grant from the USAID Small and Medium Enterprises Activity to establish a factory. This was the third time USAID supported me and my colleagues in our efforts.
I am a firm believer in girls’ education, and am thrilled to learn that both USAID and the KP Education department are teaming up to improve education management with help from the private sector. Much has been said about the importance of girls’ education so I will not bore you with my prolonged speech. Nevertheless, I stand in front of you as a living example of what a girl can achieve with support from her family, good teachers, peers and government. Where many would go searching for jobs, I opted to be the one who would provide employment and I succeeded. Today, Greenwend Energy (Pvt.) Ltd. has a staff of more than 60 proud people who excel in their respective fields.
Here, I would like to acknowledge two important men in my life who always encouraged me and believed in my potential — my father and my husband Zeeshan. I also highly acknowledge USAID as my friend and facilitator that helped me realize my dreams to be better and achieve more!
- This start-up founder wants to help her fellow Pakistanis realize their full potential