Irfan KarimIrfan Karim, known to many of his peers and colleagues as “Tony”, was born to Iqbal Karim Tayub in a family of modest means. A third son, he was precocious and intelligent. Highly impatient of the oppressive grinding mill of the school classroom, he chose to work with his father from a young age as he believed he could use his physical ability to the maximum rather than cramming school lessons. The hands-on training he gained from his father served more of a “project-based learning” growing up, providing him the needed skills and intellect to succeed in becoming a successful entrepreneur in Lilongwe, Malawi.

In the 1980’s, he joined his extended family in the United Kingdom. This period immersed him as a survivor in the real world. In difficult and trying circumstances, he persisted and persevered in assisting his family to provide their needs. He dropped out of school and was hungry to make a substantial income even it was through the market stalls of London. The tough times he has to struggle to survive prepared him to become a stronger and an effective leader.

In the 1990’s, he went back to Malawi and joined his father. Malawi then was a developing country filled with endless possibilities. He was involved in the family business and ventured into distribution and wholesale of merchandise. Filled with energy and enthusiasm to do more, he continued to explore other business sectors.

In 2006, Tony purchased Impression Printers Limited and diversified the products. He successfully supplied the printing needs of Lilongwe – Malawi’s capital. His innovative and creative ideas turned IPL a leader in the market.

Eventually, Tony formed the IK Group of Companies (IKGC). He used the IKGC in expanding its reach in real estate, trading, hotel, tourism, and energy. His vision in Malawi’s market for solar energy is recognized as highly resourceful. This needed source of energy can be vastly adopted in every Malawian household or commercial entity. The energy crisis in Malawi has affected all sectors, particularly among small and medium size enterprises.

In 2017, he founded AIM Foundation, a nonprofit, nongovernmental, charitable organization with a mission of building the human capital of Malawi. The foundation will open the Center for Training and Capacity Building in 2018, poised to provide Malawians the opportunity to learn the much needed skills in workforce and leadership development.

I had the honor to serve Irfan Karim as his Co-founder/Executive Director of AIM Foundation in Lilongwe, Malawi and Co-founder/Principal of (Vince Sinining).