During his 4 years at a multinational telecom corporation, Muhammad Babar Abbas had the opportunity to experience many soft-skills and personal development trainings. It was through these trainings that Babar was introduced to the idea of investing in self-improvement. People around Babar could notice the positive change in him and thus, a seed was planted.

However, Babar did not know how to channelize his upgraded growth-mindset and couldn’t find a platform to share it with others. He then started to apply it within his family while getting involved in key family decisions and introduce his non-conventional perspective to go about things.

Upon moving on from the TELCO, Babar, who has a master’s degree in political sciences and an M. Phil in international relations, started teaching at a University as a Lecturer. This was where Babar realized the power and position a teacher owns, to guide and direct the enthusiastic youngsters and mold their minds and empowering them. Babar then started a competency development program in his department.

Babar, joined hands with his cousin, Ms. Taieed Zahra, and laid the foundation of their enterprise — Y.NOT.U Training and Development. Taieed’s inclusion in the team was a major plus for Babar since he could comfortably rely on a family member, and both of them possessed a mutual interest in the field of learning and development.

Taieed and Babar decided to initiate their operations by stepping into the market of their native city Sargodha. While they were familiar with the market and despite the lack of competition, penetrating into it became their biggest challenge. The concept was new to the people and they displayed a rigid behavior. Babar recalls “For some, the idea of sitting in a training session was a source of shame”.

Y.NOT.U decided to engage Law College of Sargodha to conduct a 2-hours session with their students. Initially, the college expressed concerns over the long duration of this session and asked Babar “Who do you think will be interested to listen for 2 hours straight?” However, the session was extremely well-received by the students, and the college then requested the session to be extended to 4 hours in future.

Next up, were programs for the general public of the city. This was a challenge of its own kind. While it took the team some efforts to make the people realize the importance of self-awareness and enhancement, they were still definitely unwilling to spend money for such a seminar. Babar decided to conduct this session in a restaurant’s hall and charged a nominal fee of PKR 500 per person which also included a Hi-Tea for all the attendants. Once again, the feedback from the participants was overwhelming, encouraging the team to create more of such programs and reach out to the people of Sargodha.

In 2019, Mr. Babar and Ms. Taieed applied for the DICE fellowship programme and were fortunate enough to get selected for the 6-month long mentoring and training programme for their business.

Each week, each module added something valuable to their knowledge and practices. Experts and Mentors gave an insight of the real challenges in the market encouraging the Fellows to think of innovative solutions.

“We have launched almost all of the flagship programs so far which were pending for a long time. As soon as we changed our marketing strategies, our business started growing. This fellowship has really helped us scale-up” — Babar Abbas

Amongst all the learning and exposure gained throughout the 6 weekends of DICE fellowship program, the training session on Design Thinking was where Babar and Taieed realized that their offerings often revolved around what they wanted to propose as opposed to what the customer actually feels the need of. Hence, they adapted the customer-centric approach while creating their products.

As a result of the DICE Fellowship, various programmes including TTAT-Train The Aspiring Trainers, Campus to Corporate, CDP-Competency Development Program for Professionals, Teachers as Facilitators, Brand yourself.

The biggest and the most challenging initiative was to launch the Future Leaders Conference (FLC), first of its kind in Sargodha. FLC was a one-day conference aimed to cater over 275 participants.

FLC was made possible because of DICE fellowship programme. With limited human resource and insufficient funds, it was DICE driven motivation, under the guidance of the DICE mentors.

New marketing channels which include: Social Media Marketing encompassing LinkedIn, WhatsApp Status, Facebook & Instagram Stories and Facebook Live Sessions. Many other marketing channels such as Social Media Influencers, In Campus Marketing and Media Partnership have been implemented as well.

“Our Social Media Content has been Upgraded through different techniques, we have hired a professional designer for branding one of our biggest projects and for upgradation of its logo as well. As a result , our social media marketing strategy is more effective now” — Babar Abbas

The various changes implemtented by Y.NOT.U have led to a 70% increase in Sales, 80% Percentage increase in Queries of product and services, 7 new Core Team Members and around 30 new Internees & Volunteers hired. On the legal front, Y.NOT.U has now been registered with the SECP as a private limited company.

Through the DICE Fellowship, Ms. Taieed and Mr. Babar have become even more passionate about creating a social impact with innovative solutions while keeping a customer-centric approach. In order to do so, they have started engaging and with the community at a grassroot level and training young individuals from there who will act as drivers of change in the society at large.

DICE Fellowship provides opportunities for training, mentoring and networking for 600 entrepreneurs, women enterprise leaders and individual organisations.

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