ZAFAR MIRZA
ZAFAR MIRZA
Chief Operating Officer

Zafar has been an entrepreneur for more than 20 years, having started his first business at an early age. His specialist skills are within international expansion and supporting companies with government liaison around the world. He has significant experience in the Middle East and Asia having assisted clients with complex problems in these regions. Zafar is a new market entry specialist providing valuable insights into expanding overseas with a focus on risk and compliance. Zafar previously worked on global projects for large multinational companies and is now supporting entrepreneurs succeed at an international level.

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ARTICLES RELATED TO ZAFAR
  • Event
    May 2020

    WEBINAR: RAISING INVESTMENT DURING A CRISIS

    Want to know how to impress investors and raise funding during these challenging times? We have gathered a formidable panel of investors and serial entrepreneurs within the Centuro network for a webinar on how to raise investment during a crisis, from an investor's perspective. Whether you are a start-up, a business facing tough decisions due to coronavirus or looking to grow and go global, our expert panel will share their years of experience with you on how to raise the funds to achieve your goals. The event will be hosted by Joshua Romisher, the CEO of LaunchLab, who has raised over $250 million in funding over the past 6 years. We will cover: How have investors been affected by COVID-19? How to find opportunities for investment What investors are looking for Tips on fundraising both now and beyond COVID-19 Reserve your ticket now: https://bit.ly/Invest-during-covid-webinar  SPEAKERS Peter Cowley Awarded the accolade of Best Angel Investor in the World 2017 by the World Business Angel Investment Forum. He has also founded 14 of his own businesses in technology and construction. Tuba Terekli A serial investor funding companies globally over the past 15 years & founding the first accelerator program in Saudi Arabia and the Saudi Fast Growth 100 list. Nicholas Russell A serial entrepreneur from Silicon Valley and involved with a new initiative - Conception X, a venture builder that creates deep tech start-ups from PhDs. He has also mentored some of the most innovative and highly successful businesses in the tech sector. Josh Romisher A serial entrepreneur and former US banker, his array of ventures include a boutique investment bank in New York, a solar irrigation start-up in India, entering the solar sector in Africa and a frozen yoghurt franchise in San Francisco. Josh has been successful in raising funds of over $250 million in the past 6 years.   ABOUT CENTURO GLOBAL Centuro Global offers leading business consultancy to help businesses go global. With over 20 years' experience working in legal services and management consultancy and an extensive global network, they can help you scale your business and achieve your goals. Services include: Support finding investment and funding Helping businesses go global Intellectual property advice Start-up and Innovator Visas Business strategy and much more... Find out more and get in touch: https://www.centuroglobal.com/contact-us
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  • Blog
    May 2020

    Post Lockdown Return to Work Guidelines

    Coronavirus has had an unprecedented impact on life and is primarily a humanitarian issue with healthcare professionals battling to save lives. Nonetheless, workplaces and businesses have been impacted like never before and after lengthy periods of lockdown, some countries are starting to ease measures. In light of this, some “non-essential” businesses will be re-opening and employees may begin to return to offices. Certain protocols will need to be in place and office life will not be as it was before, at least in the short term. This article will provide some guidance on some of the measures that will need to be put in place. 1. Managing staff numbers Given that the spread of coronavirus stems from close contact of groups of people, the return to work of staff will need to be carefully managed. Any return may require employees to be phased back in small numbers and over time. A phased approach is not only important for ensuring sufficient social distancing can take place in the office but also to minimise the number of people using public transport to commute to and from work at any one time. Staggering start and end times for work should also be considered to reduce the numbers on public transport at any given time, and prevent a crowded rush hour scenario. Timings could be segmented based on roles or departments. Choosing which employees to bring back to the office first is also an important consideration. If it is straight forward for some employees to continue working from home then they should be permitted to do so. Where productivity or physical space requirements are important, these employees should be phased in first. 2. Office Environment The government has already warned that social distancing is likely to continue for some time. This may be easier for some workplaces and roles to implement than for others. Employers must start planning for this now, as it may take time to get right, in order to be in the best possible position when a return to work for staff is possible. Key considerations include: Spreading work stations 2 metres apart. Minimising close interactions and meetings in small closed spaces. Limit the number of people permitted in communal areas at a time, such as office kitchens. Promote healthy personal habits including regular washing of hands Provision of masks to all staff and anti-bacterial stations throughout offices. Make use of PPE including plastic screens on office desks such as those used at supermarket tills. Signs to make social distancing easier to follow. One way systems on stairs and limiting of use of lifts to certain floors. Regular cleaning with cleaners operating throughout the day. Stagger lunch hours and encourage eating at your desk. 3. Health & Safety Employers have a duty to provide a safe place of work and to protect the health and wellbeing of their employees. Some of the office environment suggestions above relate to hygiene in the workplace. Employers will also need to review sick policies and share updated policies with staff. Anyone with COVID symptoms should immediately self-isolate and not attend the office for 14 days. Some employees may not want to return to the office out of fear of using public transport and being in public spaces. This may not be considered unreasonable and therefore employers should tread carefully in how they deal with this. In the UK, if an employee who refuses to return to the office is dismissed, then this may be considered automatically unfair under section 100 of the Employment Rights Act 1996. Similarly, if an employer decides to furlough such staff or reduce their pay and they subsequently resign as a result, then this may be considered constructive dismissal which may also be automatically unfair. Careful communication and open discussions with employees is key. The main considerations are whether an employee believes that COVID-19 poses a serious and imminent danger to them, and is this a reasonable belief for them to hold. This is fairly subjective and will be considered in line with government advice. 4. Back to work training Staff should all be offered back to work information and any relevant training to ensure they understand new policies, new hygiene requirements, what they can and cannot do and there new work hours. If you need help or would like to discuss please get in touch: hello@centuroglobal.com
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  • Blog
    Apr 2020

    4 Ways COVID-19 Has Left Entrepreneurship in Crisis

    The COVID-19 pandemic has been reported in more than 175 countries and territories around the world. As of April 7, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV2) had affected 1,378,937 people, leading to more than 78,000 deaths. It has shut down business activities around the world, bringing some sectors to the verge of collapse.  While governments and big companies are feeling the heat of COVID-19, entrepreneurs are definitely the biggest hit. The disease and the way the world is responding to it has left entrepreneurship in crisis. Small and medium businesses are suffering the reality, and there is a good chance that things will change for good even after the pandemic. Here are four ways the COVID-19 has left entrepreneurship in crisis: Emphasis Is Now On Survival Many entrepreneurs had serious expansion plans for 2020. Many had taken the necessary actions, signed the necessary contracts, and started adapting the strategies to become bigger. The reality of COVID-19 has taken everyone back to the drawing board. The primary objective of any entrepreneurial endeavor at the moment is to survive. This is a no brainer as there is no upside for any business that doesn't survive the crisis.  Revenue Has Been Hit, and Will Take Time to Get Back To NormalA few businesses who are supplying products and services that are mission-critical or enablers of remote working and lockdown living are still doing well in terms of revenue. For the majority of other businesses, however, revenues have been hit. Contracts with cancellation clauses are getting terminated due to the uncertainties about the pandemic. Entrepreneurs are no longer able to fully rely on their supply chains as it is becoming increasingly obvious that more businesses may shut down soon. Factories are closed and businesses with physical outlets have been forced to close as society is pushed into lockdown, cutting out most revenue streams. The biggest question is when will this end. There is a good chance that revenue will not get back to normal for most businesses in the next 12 months.   Raising Money Will Be Tougher Going Forward Funding will stall even after we see an end to the menace of the coronavirus. Limited Partners who provide the funding that goes into the VC pot have been hit, either through their own businesses or through stock market crashes, and so the pipeline of funding will be increasingly reduced.  Some investors will remain active, but we will likely witness smaller rounds of investments at lower valuations. Even for existing portfolio companies, the disruption of most business activities, and the sudden downturn in the market will cause a severe stall in funding.  Emerging entrepreneurs will have to think outside the box to get funding. That being said, many governments around the world are offering grants and funding incentives to entrepreneurs who can provide new solutions to a COVID-19 and beyond new world order.  Downsizing Will Take Center Stage As bad as this can be for some people, downsizing will be the way out for most entrepreneurs. This will be part of the survival strategies many businesses will adapt. Already, many employees have lost their jobs in some sectors. There is no way for things to get back to normal immediately afterward. Except for the very big companies, most businesses will have to do with fewer employers until they have recovered from the shock of lost revenues. Fortunately, many governments around the world are offering support schemes for employees who may otherwise have been made redundant, with the UK government’s furlough scheme a prime example.  ConclusionEntrepreneurship is all about adapting to the inevitable changes. This does not mean that entrepreneurs are immune to global pandemics like COVID-19. The novel virus and the disease it causes has left entrepreneurship in crisis in many ways, and the points above are the realities at the moment. There are nonetheless opportunities for new entrepreneurs. The global recession in 2008 birthed the likes of Uber, Airbnb, WhatsApp, Slack and Pinterest. Now is the time to seize the moment.  
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