AllWorld Pakistan 100: global visibility for local ingenuity
It all started in 1999 when HBS Professor Michael E. Porter, the renowned competitive strategy expert, came up with a unique idea to bring to light successful, yet obscure business ventures within the United States. He produced a list, US Inner City 100, which made headlines and caught the attention of US policymakers as well as investment strategists. Inspired by the rejuvenated government and corporate focus on the cities economic development after the publishing of this list, later in 2007, Professor Porter and his colleagues established the AllWorld Network to "find and scale ALL the growth entrepreneurs of the emerging world by creating the largest information system and network of growth entrepreneurs". AllWorld was based on what its founders called Visibility Economics. They felt that that the companies in the emerging economies are being held back more by visibility deficit than capability deficit. This invisibility of competitive and successful firms creates massive economic inefficiencies as investors have to choose from limited options. What AllWorld does is that it ranks these fast growing private companies. The rankings are based on revenue growth rates, and not the companys size. Interested companies, having a revenue growth rate of over 40 percent for at least three years, apply online for consideration and provide audited financial statements. Brilliant startups and younger companies are also included as Companies to Watch. AllWorld pitches these growing companies on the same lines as the Forbes annual Fortune 500 list. After ranking companies within countries like Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Pakistan, India and South Africa, the listings are now being expanded to Regional 500s. The latest release was that of Arabia 500 in December 2011, in which Pakistan claimed number 2 spot among 14 countries. Last week, AllWorld released the first Pakistan Fast Growth 100 list, in which 87 fast-growing companies are joined by 12 start-ups & 8 younger companies to watch. The report indicates that the Pakistan 100 companies are growing at a stellar CAGR of 55 percent per annum, employ over 41,000 people, and had total revenues of roughly $1.5 billion in 2010. The rankings contain a well-balanced industry representation, with software services and products leading with 10 percent, followed by construction and engineering at 9 percent, and textiles and fashion at 8 percent. The report presents a promising picture of entrepreneurship in Pakistan. A young company, the six-year old E2E Supply Chain, topped the list. The spirit of entrepreneurship is such that half of the ranked firms have helped their employees setup their own ventures. Moreover, 82 percent of the firms leaders plan to start another 140 companies within next two years, after having started 264 companies already. Some interesting insights warrant a mention here. The energy crisis and the law & order situation did not feature among the growth constraints cited by these companies. Rather, these are the political instability, red tape and shortage of qualified managers. Moreover, inaccessible finance did not hold these ventures back as 83 percent of them started out sans the support of angel investors or venture capitalists. At the time when investment inflows have sharply declined, these companies have indeed made a strong case that Pakistan is a vibrant and happening business environment, despite the odds. Wary foreign investors should look no further than the AllWorld Pakistan 100 list, which shows how these young companies have made it big in Pakistan and are looking forward to being even more enterprising. Can there be a greater moment of truth or a compelling reason to believe than this?