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MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY Legatum Center for Development & Entrepreneurship


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Nafees Ahmed

Mastercard Foundation 2019 - 2020
Legatum Fellow
Financial Services
MBA, Sloan School of Management

Nafees’ business, Usawa Investments, is a digital platform that enables the Pakistani startup ecosystem to grow by connecting investors and entrepreneurs. Usawa’s mission is to create more funding opportunities for startups across Pakistan’s socio-economic spectrum. Usawa uses machine learning to screen thousands of business plans based on World Bank developed criterion that measure financial and operational sustainability. Successful entrepreneurs, vetted for traits like grit, risk aversion, and honesty through psychometric tests designed at Harvard’s Innovation Labs, are connected to angel investors for growth and development. Nafees was inspired to launch Usawa while working in East Africa and Asia. She worked with entrepreneurs who did not necessarily come from wealthy or well-educated backgrounds, but who are gritty, hardworking, honest, and who, with the proper resources, have the ability to change their communities. Nafees is pursuing an MBA from MIT and an MPA from Harvard.


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