Interview with Muhammad Sibtain Jiwani - founder of Pakistani comparison site SmartChoice.pk
- From: Pakistan
- Studied: BSc Business Information Technology
- UK institution: Manchester Metropolitan University
Sibtain Jiwani is the CEO and co-founder of personal finance start-up smartchoice.pk, the first service of its kind in Pakistan.
Sibtain was a finalist for the Entrepreneurial Award at the 2017 Alumni Awards, Pakistan.
- What is smartchoice.pk and how does it stand out in Pakistan?
‘Smartchoice.pk’ is a tech startup that enables consumers in Pakistan to make smart personal finance decisions. It empowers consumers to compare insurance, financial products and broadband by aggregating all the products. Using our platform, users can check prices, features and, promotions offered by service providers and make a fair and impartial decision.
We have more than 45,000, users every month and enable 34 comparisons every minute.
- How did your UK education help you develop the skills to run your own business?
My time in the UK has evolved me as a person and changed my approach to life. It was because ofI developed some core skills set that is needed inby any successful entrepreneur: and resilience, leadership and discipline. Working as Students’ Union President helped me understand what it takes to run an organisation: managing a team, building relationships and communicating with a diverse set of people.
Education in the UK is very practical and since I was enrolled in a sandwich course, I worked in the industry for a year and learned about technologies, business models and operations in depth at a very early stage.
- How is your platform changing the way people approach personal finance in Pakistan?
Pakistan has one of the lowest rates of penetration in the insurance and financial sector and the reason is lack of understanding regarding products, myths about the sector and limited access to information. We have been able to solve this problem using technology by making every information accessible, simple and comparative.
Consumers in Pakistan are generally not aware of their rights and the extent they can go to raise their voice against any issues they face. Taking this as our responsibility, we have developed a comprehensive guide to consumer rights which has immensely helped users understand what steps to take and who to communicate with in case of any rights violation or misrepresentation.
In the longer run, this is good for the industry as well, as it keeps the service provider in check and ensures them tothey can improve the quality of their service.