Not everyone is born to lead and often it is the circumstances in which you are brought up that groom one to be a great leader. As Thomas Carlyle once said, “Leadership traits are intrinsic, meaning that great leaders are born and will emerge when confronted with the appropriate situation.” Waseem Ashraf Qureshi is a prime example of this. From the age of 16, Qureshi has been setting up ventures and to date is the CEO of seven different companies across four countries with 123 successfully launched start-ups in his career.
What makes Qureshi’s story even more compelling is that he comes from a very humble background. Growing up in Lahore, Pakistan he had always been a hobby enthusiast in creating (which eventually evolved to inventing) electronic devices and gadgets. “My earliest achievement was in grade one when I was just eleven years old and won first prize at a school organised exhibition where a number of students, including myself were asked to create something.”
Qureshi grew up in a Pakistan that suffered from an energy crisis during the 1980’s where power cuts were common. At the age of 16 he invented an uninterrupted power supply solution that was designed to work seamlessly with the constant power cuts faced by many. It was at this point that many around Qureshi realised that his acumen not only lay in the technology he was inventing, but also in his ability to recognise the needs of consumers at a particular time. His product was quickly adopted by governmental officials and deployed across many national level projects.
Of course, every great leader comes with a mentor. “Having a mentor at different stages of my life really made a difference and excelled my practical understanding of the application of my inventions and how to channel my talent in the right place. I was fortunate to have a mentor from Grade 10.”
When asked about what makes a good CEO for those young budding potentials, Qureshi says “Involvement in the real world and working environment is fundamental to creating any good leader and CEO.” Qureshi first worked at the age of 19 for a microprocessor for PABX systems that gave him exposure and would prove to be fundamental in his career later on, especially in the telecom world where he very quickly became a prominent figure for his technological achievements and his entrepreneurial triumphs. He then moved overseas to Singapore, where he was the lead design engineer for a multinational research and development company.
“Secondly, I also believe taking a leap and actually starting up your first venture is also key to building your confidence, even if you make mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes, it doesn’t matter, keep trying and you will be successful,” says Qureshi, whose first commercial venture was at the age of 17 when he developed a digital lock for telephones in 1988.
At the age of 21 he incorporated his first company called Microtrons Electronics, followed by Powertrons Electronics shortly afterwards. In 2006 he went on to become a celebrated figure in the global telecoms industry for a number of years and in 2015 he had invented and patented an energy management system he called Energy Server, later branded Centauri Energy Server. In 2016 the world’s most advance energy storage system was based on supercap technology called Sirius Energy storage. Both products are under the Kilowatt Labs brand currently sold in 57 countries around the world and manufactured in Qureshi’s gigafactory in Dubai called Infusion Power Industries.
In 2022 Qureshi invented a ground breaking technology for EV’s in a Solid State form, with discussions taking place with three world renowned car manufacturers. He is also the CEO of the holding company Enercap, which is poised to be listed in 2023 and has already been valued at $1.2 billion. In recognition of his achievements and accolades, Qureshi was awarded a Golden Visa this year. “I would really like to thank the leadership of this country for providing me with the ecosystem to be able to accomplish and achieve more than I had expected to in my life,” says Qureshi.