Success Story - Hira Batool Rizvi
Shell Tameer Awards Finalist -2017 / Shell LiveWIRE Top Ten Innovator Runners Up 2017
Hira Batool Rizvi, an Electrical Engineer and a passionate social entrepreneur from Islamabad. Hira started her career with a local software house before heading abroad to persue higher education sters in Science and Technology Policy from Georgia Tech, USA. While both of her workplaces: a software house, and a K-12 school were very different overtly, the women in these workplaces were strikingly similar. In the sense, they talked about similar struggles and problems. What stood out for her was that most women without personal cars used to complain about decent transportation options in the twin cities. It was very visible that women were spending many times more on commute to the workplace compared to men- sometimes, even for the same distance. In second year of grad school, Hira participated in a hackathon for Pakistan called Pakathon. This was when sharing economy companies like Uber, Lyft, Airbnb were being extensively discussed in classrooms. Inspired by their models, she came up with a similar idea and we called it ‘Sabki Taxi’- a taxi for all.
“We thought it would work much the same way as other ridesharing services, but considering the very different cultures, practices and problems of the developing world, we opted for using taxis(owing to higher levels of unemployment in Pakistan) that would be made many times safer.I was sure of what I wanted- ‘A safe taxi service for women, by women’. I was soon back in Pakistan, and working on She`Kab full-time” Says Hira
Having no background in entrepreneurship, she got in touch with the technology incubator at Georgia Tech to learn from the best technology mentors. She started doing the market research- conducted surveys and read up everything relevant that she could find about ride-sharing.
Her believe in the power of leveraging technology to improve lives translated into Pakistan’s first ever subscription based female taxi service She’Kab, technology platform that connects female riders to drivers.
She’Kab is a platform offering a two pronged solution that is working to provide safe, affordable and reliable transportation services to women and girls, while at the same time, economically empowering male and female drivers - whereby they can earn Rs. 25,000 per month by driving for little as one hour per day for a month. She’Kab currently has over 300 drivers with a ratio of 90% male and 10% female who have in the past earned more than Rs. 40,000 per month.
In 2017, Hira applied for Shell Tameer Awards and made to the final top 12 under the technology Innovation Category. Later She’Kab was further nominated for Shell LiveWIRE’s prestigious Top Ten Innovator Awards and stood out as one of the three Runner Up Prize winners to bag US$ 10,000.
“Tameer has helped us create and deliver Defence Driving Training for our drivers that have been very well received by them. Moreover, the LiveWire Top Ten Award helped us make our technology more robust, and we spent the award money to get our smartphone application developed in Pakistan. Since the launch of the app in May, we have already received tremendous feedback on it. 150+ downloads in just two weeks means a threefold increase in clientele in comparison to our desktop based subscription model. Our app is available at both Android and iOS stores
She’Kab witnessed a significant growth since the inception and the business have achieved five times increase in annual revenues while providing employment to seven full time employees.
Having tested and automated her solution completely, Hira now want to move out to other cities from where she has received tons of feedback already. However, in order to do she is determined to learn about franchising models, that would help her move out faster and serve a larger customer base.
Her message to the young entrepreneurs: “Each of us is blessed with a unique ability to make a difference in the lives of people around us. All it takes is reflecting, noticing and creating solutions that can change lives.”