The Digital Youth Summit (DYS) is a technology focused conference that takes place annually in Peshawar, Pakistan. In the lead up to the summit, we bring to you the first of our Speaker Spotlights featuring Zaki Mahomed. The upcoming DYS is on April 27-28, 2018. Register now here.
Zaki Mahomed (ZM) is founder & CEO at Pursuit, a new startup based in San Francisco. Pursuit helps people build the lives of their dreams through easy access to skilled immigration programs. Having lived in Karachi, Singapore, Toronto and San Francisco before turning 30 has given him a global perspective on the art and science of building great companies.
Tell me a little about what you are working on now? How did you get started?
ZM: I recently founded and am the CEO of Pursuit. We help highly skilled immigrants access global job opportunities with companies that will sponsor their work visas. We want to live in a world where borders are not barriers to opportunities and employers can seamlessly hire perfect candidates from anywhere in the world.
I started Pursuit because I’ve lived and worked in 5 cities over my career. One of the most satisfying experiences of my career has been hiring immigrants who took a risk on my ideas and companies and moved their entire lives to join us. While fraught with risk, I’ve rarely regretted giving an opportunity to an immigrant and always gotten a committed and loyal worker in return. We want to make it easy for other businesses to be able to provide such opportunities to the type of talent they desperately need!
Specifically, through Pursuit, qualified skilled workers can apply for their immigrant visas and upon approval, get matched with vetted employers looking for their skills. Currently we work with Software Engineers and Developers and we primarily operate in Canada, which is our first market.
What do you think is the future for youth in the tech industry?
You know, they say if you want to predict what everyone will be doing in the future, look at what the wealthy are doing today. Some of my smartest and most capable friends are teaching their kids how to code right from when they first start teaching them language and math skills. And perhaps the first country to figure out how to mass-educate technology skills right from primary school will win for an entire generation.
What areas of your work are focused on gender equality?
ZM: First, if you are male - and especially if you work in a misbalanced industry like tech - you absolutely need to take stock and see if you have contributed towards creating an uncomfortable environment for those around you, especially through subtle actions you may not even know you’re taking. For example, I certainly notice it more when we have team members who aren’t as vocal as others, and make it a point to interact with them at a frequency they find more comfortable. We’re very committed to doing the hard work every day so we build a company we can be proud of for years.
Finally, as an aside, I think we need to make an economic argument for equality too – be it gender, geographical or racial. These can be massive competitive advantages for companies who can really wrap their heads around. Think about it: if you build a more equitable company, you can tap into a stream of talent that your competitors can’t find or won’t look at. That’s huge!
This conversation is just the tip of the iceberg. Come to the next DYS to meet Zaki and our exciting line up of speakers, follow the updates on the DYS Facebook and DYS Twitter channels.
______________________________________________________________________________________________________________Since its inception in 2014, the Digital Youth Summit (DYS) has quickly become one of the premier tech conferences – differentiated by its focus on youth empowerment; its ability to attract high profile domestic and international attendees and speakers and its unique venue: Peshawar, which is one of the oldest living cities in the world. The summit aims to bring together the “next generation of digital entrepreneurs” and typically attracts three audiences: tech industry leaders from Pakistan and abroad; the nascent start-up community; and young people looking to network, learn and be inspired. The summit therefore draws participants from the private sector, investors, government, civil society, youth groups and academia. DYS 2018 is organized around three issue areas: Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Digital Skills.