Join the CIRCLE movement: Changing the landscape for women entrepreneurship

CIRCLE Pakistan, founded by Sadaffe Abid, former COO and CEO of Kashf Foundation, works towards women’s economic empowerment and employment through innovative entrepreneurship and leadership labs, advocacy campaigns and research. CIRCLE is based on the belief that investing in women is the smartest economic venture of today and that when women develop, communities prosper and economies grow.

Creation of CIRCLE

CIRCLE Global is committed to bringing focus on women’s potential and capabilities as leaders of, and equal participants in the growth and development of communities, corporates and economies since 2014.

The venture started through conversations at Harvard between Sadaffe Abid from Pakistan, Kelly Rappuchi from the US and Oriane Kets de Vries from the UK under guidance from Professor Ron Heifetz, founder of Centre for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School.

The trio share a value to promote women’s leadership and entrepreneurship and kicked off with leadership workshops in Dubai. CIRCLE contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, specifically Goal 5- Achieving Gender Equality.


The Action Plan at CIRCLE

-Leadership capacity building of women and youth in Pakistan through workshops, fellowship programmes, dialogues and mentoring

-Research and Advocacy to achieve women’s equal representation and access through building a knowledge base, campaigning & partnerships

-Entrepreneurship and social innovation through supporting women’s entrepreneurship and leadership in Pakistan and regionally

The Fellowship Program

The CIRCLE Fellowship is a holistic approach towards building capacity of youth in Pakistan to maximise their potential, increase employability and develop innovative solutions to social problems.

A well-rounded but short, intensive programme targeting 18-22 years old young women and men with 50% from under- served communities.

The Fellowship spread over 5-6 weeks combines the following elements:

●Work Experience
●Training, Skills and Mentoring
●Social Innovation Project


The Elevate Framework

The Elevate campaign encourages leaders from all sectors to commit to bringing women’s perspectives and voices on conferences, panels and forums by signing up to the #ElevatePledge to support women’s economic empowerment and advancement.

This is accompanied by the Elevate framework, a programme of leadership and public speaking workshops, and database of women experts and speakers.

In this way, CIRCLE has created a holistic approach to tackling women’s underrepresentation and building a business case for investing in women.

The Elevate Pledge:
‘I pledge that I will only participate in balanced panel with at least one woman speaker in a panel of three or more.’ To date 15 CEOs have signed the #ElevatePak pledge, committing to women’s economic empowerment.

Become an #ElevatePak partner by doing one or all of the following:

– Sign the #ElevatePak pledge and get 5 friends or colleagues to sign:

– Organise an #ElevatePak day in your organization, campus, or school

Launching Young Professionals’ Network


CIRCLE Pakistan, recently hosted a story-telling based public speaking workshop for women leaders in the country. This was the launch event for CIRCLE’s Young Professionals’ Network – a pioneering initiative for growing women leaders.

The storytelling workshop was facilitated by Aurelie Salvaire, a social entrepreneur and coach from Barcelona, who brings experience of curating multiple TEDx conferences and coaching TEDx speakers.

Women from leading corporates such as IBM, Loreal, Mitsubishi, Unilever, National Foods as well as from start-ups attended the interactive workshop which was held at Bank Alfalah Learning Centre. It involved practicing pitching their ideas, mapping their journey, and owning their narrative.

Sadaffe Abid, co-founder CIRCLE and former COO and CEO of Kashf Foundation shared, ‘Women are the most under utilised asset of Pakistan. At CIRCLE, we are delighted to offer a series of public speaking workshops for women along with leadership labs so women can take leadership roles on boards, teams and as entrepreneurs. For Pakistan’s prosperity inclusion of women is critical.’

Celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week

CIRCLE celebrated Global Entrepreneurship Week by focusing on women entrepreneurship and the role women play in boosting business and innovation.

CIRCLE has been highlighting one woman start up every day of the week for #GEW2016 – this will be followed by the release of CIRCLE’s research on women entrepreneurship in Pakistan.

Additional celebrations of Global Entrepreneurship Week included Fellows from CIRCLE’s Youth Fellowship visiting NETSOL technologies, hosted and mentored by Mr. Salim Ghauri.

As part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, CIRCLE also hosted a Twitter conversation titled ‘The Entrepreneur’s Journey: Opportunities and Challenges’. Individuals, incubators and startups joined in using #GEW2016 and #CIRCLEWomen to crowdsource ideas and provoke discussion on the entrepreneurial landscape for women in Pakistan. The conversation can be accessed here:

Information Source: CIRCLE

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