Mahe Zehra Husain, aka “MZ,” is a trained mathematician, data scientist, serial entrepreneur, and artist. At the age of 31, MZ became Pakistan’s youngest woman tech CEO, leading an award-winning software house, FiveRivers Technologies (FRT) in Pakistan, dominating a heavily male-dominated space and rewriting history.
Since then she has led the company to catapult to the eight-figure mark with 400% growth in a short span of five years. From a small services firm, with a handful of employees, they now stand at 170 employees, encouraging diversity and inclusion and promoting women technologists. Very few tech firms have woman-friendly policies in Pakistan, but MZ made sure FRT didn’t follow suit. She has mentored over 124 women technologists and grew her female workforce by 50%.
FRT has become one of the top software firms in Pakistan, winning several national and international awards. They provide data science analytics, develop e-learning software, and have now ventured into virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things.
Her work gained international recognition when two of their mobile applications for Blackberry ranked number one globally. Their principled work ethics and unmatched creative work caught the interest of big names like Samsung, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, First Detect, Dell, and Wateen, who became clients.
FRT’s Recent Projects
MZ launched an innovative new software product SmartWindows (patent pending), which is a desktop software utility to make Windows 10 smarter by increasing the productivity of remote workers. It has over 6,000 downloads and 145,000+ impressions on Google.
MZ’s latest startup, which has piqued the interest of the national media and local entrepreneurs alike, is PakistanCreates (PKC; PakistanCreates.com) launched in January 2022. PKC is a venture that serves to drive positive, sustainable change through technological inclusion and women empowerment. Through this startup, MZ wants to support small women-owned businesses and give back to society. She commented:
“Pakistan has an amazing and inspiring talent, and I have always wanted to highlight our local products globally. There are thousands of young creative entrepreneurs and micro-business owners, especially women, who need a platform to represent their creativity. PakistanCreates is a small way for us to contribute to this massive local industry with huge potential. Anyone can open their free e-shop on PakistanCreates. We want ideas to become potential successful businesses. To encourage maximum participation, we have kept the registration quite simple with no fees, no subscriptions, no commission, and no hidden charges.”
Since Winning a Stevie Award
MZ is working on developing a hands-on learning book and workbook combo to teach young women entrepreneurship skills, how to manage finances, budgeting, ways to promote and market their products, how to develop their own brand, etc. It includes all of the important aspects related to business to get a better standing in the supply chain based on MZ’s personal experience and successes.
This will be the first-of-its-kind guidebook in Pakistan. MZ also plans to translate this book into the national language Urdu and the regional language Punjabi to maximize the benefit and reach.
MZ is on the Board of Alif Laila Book Bus Society (ALBBS), a nonprofit working toward literacy for young girls. She mentors these girls and has given them access to maker-space technical training, which helps them consider a career path in electronics, computers, arts, crafts, and photography.
Recently (July 2022), FRT in collaboration with ALBBS conducted relief work in Sindh and Balochistan, Pakistan, where thousands of families lost their homes and livestock to catastrophic floods. They provided dry food items to over 400 families in 16 communities.
FiveRivers Technologies CEO Mahe Zehra Husain won a Silver Stevie Award for Best Female Entrepreneur in Business Services among organizations with 11 to 2,500 Employees in the 2022 Stevie Awards for Women in Business.
Interested in entering the 2023 Stevie Awards for Women in Business?