July Issue 2010

By | People | Profile | Published 9 years ago

“Alternate energy is at the focal point world-wide and in Pakistan,
we have still not reached our potential”
– Danish Iqbal

 

Looking for Gul Ahmed’s office, on a typical busy day on Shahrah-e-Faisal, was not an easy task — to put it simply we were lost. We quickly went from formal phone calls to panicked conversations, with Danish Iqbal finally sending us his car to guide us there. Upon our arrival, we were seated in the conference room, and minutes later greeted by Danish, who instantly put us at ease. Along with being a focused, serious young entrepreneur, Danish has an unassuming presence and is very easy to talk to. He shared his story, with the precision of someone well versed in the dynamics of the Pakistani economy and the power sector and with the candidness of a friend. Business comes naturally to Danish, which is evident from his articulate narrative of the hurdles faced by the power industry and his foresight in the field of alternate energy. Armed with wit and brains, he seems to be heading on the path to success.

Danish, like all young ambitious school-going boys, toiled his summers away in his father’s office. He dove headfirst into his family business soon after completing high school in New Jersey. Then, after spending five years at Gul Ahmed, he went off to college at 23, to complete his bachelor’s degree. During this time the family empire, Gul Ahmed split and the 26-year-old returned to join Gul Ahmed Energy. Today Danish sits on the board and management of Gul Ahmed Energy, which produces electricity from furnance oil and supplies it to KESC. In addition to this, he has initiated an entirely different project called Metropower, which aims to be one of the first few Wind Energy Independent Power Producers in Pakistan and hopes to supply electricity nationally, to NEPRA.

Faced with a multitude of problems, especially in light of the power crisis, the Pakistani government has only recently begun to look seriously at alternative indigenous sources of energy.

And Danish had the foresight to step in at the right time. Long-time producers of electricity (from furnace oil), he says, “the experience and financial back-up was there so it was only a matter of time before we undertook such a project. Alternate energy is at the focal point world-wide and in Pakistan we have still not reached our potential,” he explains.

Danish says it is still very difficult to convince foreigners to work in Pakistan. Today, Danish has a site of over 1,5oo acres in Nooriabad and awaits final quotes from his contractors before the project starts to roll.

The serious entrepreneur’s face cracks into a smile when asked about his family. Danish just had a baby girl and says holidays are out of the question at this point. He believes in a healthy balance between work and family, so Sundays are strictly family time — with golf in the mornings of course.

With an exciting but extremely challenging road ahead of him, Danish views Metropower as more than just a means of expanding his balance sheet. He hopes to see it up and running by 2012. The responsibility is tremendous but he takes that within his stride. “I look forward to challenges and overcoming them gives me a great deal of satisfaction,” Danish brims with confidence.

See more young entrepreneur profiles here.

Maheen Bashir Adamjee is an APNS award-winning journalist. She was an editorial assistant at Newsline from 2010-2011.