A graduate from the University of Virginia in Foreign Affairs and Middle East Studies, Kalsoom Lakhani is the Founder and CEO of Invest2Innovate (i2i), which supports start-ups and the broader entrepreneurship ecosystem in developing markets, beginning in Pakistan. She is also the co-founder of The Hero Project, a storytelling platform that celebrates and highlights everyday hidden heroes.
Kalsoom has trained young entrepreneurs, change-makers, and civil society leaders in Cambodia, Ireland, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan. She has been a Washington, D.C. co-ambassador for Sandbox, a global network of innovators under 30, and is a member of the World Economic Forum's Global Shapers. She was featured in Diplomatic Courier's Top 99 Foreign Policy Leaders under 33 in 2012, and was named an Ashoka Change-makers / American Express Emerging Innovator for 2013.
Kalsoom, who earned her Masters’ from The George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs in International Affairs / Conflict Resolution, also founded the popular blog, CHUP, or Changing up Pakistan in January 2008, and has written for the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, Foreign Policy, NextBillion and Pakistan's Dawn Newspaper.
The i2i company not only recognizes the budding entrepreneurs in Pakistan, but also trains them through a four month programme and finally connects them to investors. It encourages and motivates entrepreneurs and helps them stabilize. The company started its work in Pakistan in 2011 and is determined to expand to other countries as well. Before i2i, Kalsoom has also worked as a managing director in Social Vision.
Kalsoom Lakhani, who was born on 24 September, 1982 is also the director of Social Vision, the venture philanthropy arm of ML Resources, LLC, an investment firm in Washington, D.C. At Social Vision, she assesses and approves seed funding for innovative organizations and initiatives in their pilot stages, and recently partnered with Pakistani Peace Builders to launch Relief4Pakistan, a grassroots, rapid-response campaign to raise funds and awareness about the floods in Pakistan. Prior to her work at Social Vision, Kalsoom was a senior analyst at the Lincoln Group (now Strategic Social), a strategic communications firm in Washington, D.C.
Kalsoom is also the editor of CHUP, or Changing up Pakistan, a blog that aims to break the black and white depiction of Pakistan in the media through news analysis, contributions by young Pakistanis and interviews. She also contributes regularly to Foreign Policy's AfPak Channel.