Rubbing his shoulders with world's best chief executives, Shafat Qazi, a Kashmiri engineer and CEO of BQE software, a business management software firm, has featured among the top 50 CEOs of small and mid-sized companies in the United States, a survey by Comparably, a rating website said.
Qazi, who graduated from Regional Engineering College, Srinagar went on to do his masters in structural engineering from the State University of New York at Buffalo.
He solely developed BillQuick, a software in his garage while he was still studying, that is now used by professionals across the world. The BQE Software is a multinational firm with its offices in Australia, Ireland and India besides various offices in the US.
However, Qazi has not forgotten his roots and has also set up an off-shoot centre in Srinagar industrial area Rangreth, which employs young Kashmiri engineers who develop the project management, accounting and billing software that is used by professionals in US.
In India, Qazi chose his hometown Srinagar for the office despite the political disturbances it is usually faced with.
However, running a technology-based office in Srinagar which repeatedly faces internet hassles due to law and order problems was not an easy task. But Qazi took the mission head on and is always on the lookout for young engineering professionals from the Valley who are making business software for professionals in US.
The ITpreneur has also reportedly planned to attract more investors to conflict-ridden Kashmir for them to establish their ventures and see Srinagar as an IT hub in the long term. One of the most inspiring aspects of Qazi's company is that it was able to cruise through the turbulent times in Valley when the insurgency was at its peak.
Despite the influence of militancy on a majority of the youth, some engineering graduates who had studied in Valley and other Indian states, joined Qazi's team and their back-end office in Srinagar serves some of the top professionals in the States.