What Female Entrepreneurs need to know about Facebook’s entry in Pakistan

PITB has successfully established a range of Entrepreneurship-centric facilities such as the Plan 9, Plan X and TechHub Connect. These initiatives have created the much needed awareness and support structures for budding start-ups and freelancers. Fortunately, today Pakistan boasts of having one of the fastest growing ecosystems globally.

The Partnership

PITB launched Herself in June 2016, to provide business training and support to women- in the workforce and those looking to start their own business. FaceBook’s SheMeansBusiness initiative shares some synergy with Herself and they have partnered to support and celebrate women entrepreneurship in the region. The program aims to build a dynamically strong network of female financial empowerment.

The goal of this collaboration is inspiring- To build a beehive of empowered women and highlight their phenomenal achievements and stories. For aspiring women this collaboration will be able to give some benefit via trainings, social networking, global perspectives and information.

The highlights from the partnership launch event

The event’s opening speech was given by the PITB Chairman Umar Saif. He highlighted how critical it was for youngsters, and especially women to participate in the business l andscape of Pakistan.

Latest statistical findings show that for every 5 students obtaining a master degree, there is 1 job. Umar emphasized the importance of strengthening and exp anding the startup and free lancing space and creating more and more jobs for the rapidly growing youth of the country.

Dr.Saif further added that PITB is developing Coworking spaces under the E-Rozgar Program and through that freelancers and entrepreneurs would be able to earn a decent living.

The next speaker was Ali Gul, founder of MangoBaaz who provided a new perspective on how women can work in the content creation field. He gave some very useful pointers for creating content around the positive emotions of “aww, joy and amusement”. He also announced the launch of a separate mangobaaz platform which would be exclusive to women’s issues.

Ali’s talk was followed by Ritesh Mehta, Head of #SheMeansBusiness, South Asia Region. Ritesh connected to the audience through a skype session and shed some light on how Facebook is helping more and more women to create and run businesses online. He mentioned the synergies that exist between Herself and SheMeanBusiness and how his team will be working on different initiatives with PITB to strengthen and support more women to enter the business world.

Ritesh’s talk was followed by a tingling session with the Aure’lie Salvaire, founder of the A factor – a platform that connects change makers through storytelling and innovative journeys. Her session was based on a networking activity for the audience which greatly helped to create some positive rousing across the hall.

The Storytelling

The last activity was a panel discussion, moderated by Sarah Gillani. Panelists included Aure’lie Salvaire, Jennifer Fong (Strategic Parnetship’s group at Facebook) and Kanwal Khoosat (TV Producer, Writer, Director). Each one of these women had an awe-inspiring story of learning and unlearning and battling the odds. For me that was truly the most inspirational part because it was all about sharing the recipe of success and it would only be fair to share it with you.

Jennifer was an accounting student when she decided to switch to public administration, going against what her parents had chosen for her. She followed her inspiration to bring positive global change and went onto working with the UNO and World Economic Forum.

Aure’lie was raised in a small French town where her parents ran a family business. She rebelled against joining the family business and went onto pursue her passion of combining travel and work.

Kanwal’s story is typical of south Asian kids – where parents typically bind children through taboos and social norms. Despite belonging to a family of actors Kanwal was laughed upon when she presented the idea of doing street theater. She swam against the tide and went onto following her dream.
Today she is a successful writer, director and producer.

For me it was a very inspiring platform because I have been working in the technology sector for over a decade and I hope that PITB and other similar platforms can conduct more of these ‘awareness sessions’ where women can share empowering experiences through story-telling. If we time these efforts right, we will have a much aware, focused and self – driven female population across generation Y and Z.

So this is what the partnership will do for you

1.With the Facebook’s train the trainer program, Herself will be asking its partner organizations to nominate women from their teams. They will receive special #SheMeansBusiness trainings and would be able to further train women of their respective organizations. Potential partners can write to herself@pitb.gov.pk for more information.

2.Facebook would share it’s specialized lectures on how to leverage their platforms to boost businesses. These lectures are integrated in the trainings.

3.Herself will nominate case studies to be featured for Facebook’s #SheMeansBusiness global website. People can share their stories at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc_ySyHM935-BHH5CNm82C9NDSkQHiVVa2JnNXusJx1S6-WUQ/viewform

If you ask me I have enjoyed writing this because It all sums up to the tagline of SheMeansBusiness:

“When Women succeed, We all Win!”

About the Contributor:
Sadia Malik holds a graduate degree in CS from FAST, Lahore and a Masters in Business Management from Monash Business School, Melbourne, Australia.
Her career l andscape spans over 12+ years, with experience in driving digital projects from initiations to closure. Currently she is managing a team of 30 for Kualitatem Inc’s Lahore and MENA office. A philanthropist at heart and a people manager by soul, her long term life goal is to become a source of meaningful social change, to go around the world in 80 days, to give her children wings to fly and eventually die peacefully at a farm surrounded by white and red rose gardens!

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