School dropout launches IT company, authors 2 books

It is digital age and we all must have access to IT education, says Batamaloo youth
Sheikh Asif
Sheikh AsifSpecial Arrangement

Sheikh Asif, a school dropout from Batamaloo area in summer capital, Srinagar, never stopped dreaming big. Away from formal education, this tech-geek aims to connect Kashmiri youth to the bigger platforms, globally.

Asif said he received his primary education from the reputed 'Talent Educational Institute'. Owing to some financial reasons, he was forced to drop out of school. "I faced a lot of financial distress, I dropped out of school in the 8th standard. Then, I went on to work in a couple of IT companies. I have been fond of computers since childhood. I honed my skills and gained knowledge about graphics while working in these companies," Asif told Greater Kashmir.

"After working for some time, I started a small set up around graphic designing at home itself. Later, I got a call from one of my mentors who advised me to upgrade my skills to web designing as I was quite good at graphics," Asif added.

Asif, who founded an Information Technology (IT) company based in London, is now working tirelessly to create IT awareness among Kashmiri youth and giving online classes to them in web designing and digital marketing. He is now an entrepreneur, CEO and founder of UK based company, 'Thames Infotech' and has authored three books about business, including "Digitization in Business, Online Business Ideas and Start a business.

"It was all the magnetic attraction towards computers. After working in different stores as a computer operator, a man of my acquaintance suggested that I go to Delhi in order to find more opportunities to work," he says.

"After Delhi I started my journey to London where I got a job in a company. But things took a different turn and I was thrown out of the company because of unknown reasons. I didn't stop and designed a logo for a company and later a website and the company owner was so happy that he offered me a lot of money. I worked hard and set up my own company in the UK and then I came back to Kashmir and set up in-house here and started providing coaching for information technology."

He says he was fond of computers from my early childhood and with the passage of time designing websites, logos, apps became my passion.

"Since I couldn't continue my higher studies due to financial issues but the love for computers attracted me even more. I started working in different shops and stores as a computer operator. I call this the "first step forward" of my journey," he said.

Journey of Entrepreneurship

Asif says "It always gives me a feeling that nothing is impossible. When we love something no one can ever stop us from getting that. My life was never going smooth, it has had ups and downs. I continued to swim with the current during the storm and got up on my legs again."  "I do read Bill Gates but my family is my inspiration. It is because of them I keep going on."

I want to spread awareness of IT throughout Kashmir and apart from this I want to help small businesses to bring their business online. He said that his 'Thames Infotech' journey started in 2016. Having observed my work in graphic designing, some people contacted him. One of them told him to upgrade to website designing as he was already quite good at graphics. Then, he worked in a UK-based company as an employee and kept learning about websites.

"I met a Hamzha Salim, a professional from Google. He said we should start a small set-up dealing in website designing. We started our start-up in June 2016. We shifted its headquarters to Manchester in 2018. The start-up was not called 'Thames Infotech' at the start. I took this name from the famous river in London," Asif further added.

"Here we just have one IT professional for every 100 doctors. People think there is no scope in IT. But there is a lot of scope in it. I am giving lessons and teaching the youth here about website and graphics designing now. I don't want my region to fall behind in this particular field," he said.

In order to create IT awareness across Kashmir, Asif returned to his homeland in 2018. "To raise awareness about the IT studies in Kashmir was my main reason to come back from Manchester. Here the students prefer medical and non-medical subjects only. Due to lack of awareness they think there is less scope in IT," he said.

"As freelancers we can work from home and earn a good living and there will be no time limitations while working. This is the beauty of IT studies only," said Asif while giving the importance of learning Information Technology.

The self-made man claims to have mentored scores of students so for. However, he has a grudge that among them the number of beneficiaries from Kashmir is very little.

"Till date I have guided more than 700 students from other cities of India and many from US, UK and Canada, but among the lot only 3 percent students were from Kashmir," said the disheartened Asif.

He has also authored two books named as "Digitization in Business" and "Online Business Ideas." The books are about the digitization in business, and 27 online business thoughts respectively. These books also tell us about digital marketing, how social platforms help us in growing business and why a business should have a website.

One of the books is free of cost and can be ordered from Amazon which has both e. Book format as well as paperback. "Online Business Ideas, a booklet I have written recently is free of cost. Anyone interested can get it from Amazon. My aim to sell the book free was to provide free information and develop an interest in IT among the readers," said Asif.

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