Considering the dismal figures quoted by the World Economic Forum 2014, Pakistan sits at the bottom of the rankings for gender gap in economic and labor participation, proving the need for effectively engaging women in the economy.
The trending ICT sector in Pakistan is emerging as a problem-solving tool for socio–economic development and may aid in improvement of gender rankings. The increasing number of incubators and accelerators powering startups are enabling an economic change by appearing more accessible to underserved segments .The evidence can be drawn from the number of successful ICT initiatives involving women across Pakistan. PITB has set an example through its women empowering initiative “Herself”.
Punjab Information Technology Board’s Herself has partnered with Facebook to bring Facebook’s She Means Business to Pakistan.
Both Herself and She Means Business are programs designed to promote and encourage women to fully participate in the economy. These programs are designed and executed in a way that women get access to support networks and resources they need to run their own business.
Through a series of workshops and online resources, women entrepreneurs will be armed with the knowledge, skills and technology required to establish and grow their presence on Facebook and Instagram. It will also help them connect with potential customers at home and abroad.To promote female entrepreneurs,’Herself’ will showcase stories of successful women entrepreneurs at various platofrms.These include Herself’s own medium, various other local platforms and Facebook’s She Means Business.
Dr. Umar Saif, Chairman at PITB said,
“We are excited to team up with Facebook to encourage entrepreneurship and increase opportunities in flexible working as part of our commitment to support #SheMeansBusiness. In Pakistan, women-owned enterprises represent an insubstantial portion of existing SMEs. At PITB-Plan9, Pakistan’s largest tech incubator, only 14% of start-up companies are co-founded by women. By collaborating with Facebook, we hope to be successful in further engaging women in the workforce and achieving more equal participation in the economy.”
Ritesh Mehta, Head of Economic Growth Initiatives, India and South Asia, at Facebook, said,
“Globally, 50 million Small & Medium Business (SMB) have pages on Facebook, and the number of new women-owned SMB Pages on Facebook has increased approximately four-fold, nearly doubling in the past year. Through SheMeansBusiness and the support of our partner’s initiatives, like PITB’s Herself, we want to shine a light on the women who start or run small businesses in Pakistan and empower them to do more – so that their families, their communities and ultimately the Pakistani economy will benefit.”
Nabeel A. Qadeer, Director Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development at PITB added,
“PITB’s Herself and Facbook’s She Means Business both share like-minded goals – celebrating, inspiring and empowering women entrepreneurs. Together, we will work to build training programs and resources that will help reach and resonate with women in Pakistan. With this partnership, we would like to spread out the spirit of entrepreneurship to all women in Pakistan to be financially independent.”
One shining example of a female entrepreneur who has built her business online is Rameeza Moin, co-founder and CEO of Transparent Hands, Pakistan’s premier crowd funding portal in the health care industry.
Transparent Hands uses social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to raise funds and awareness directly with a global audience. With the addition of a Donate button on the Facebook Page, people can now contribute to the non-profit organization in a quick way, without leaving the platform.
About PITB Herself
PITB launched Herself in June 2016, prompted by a worryingly low ratio of women in Pakistan’s largest Tech Incubator, Accelerator and co-working space for freelancers (Plan9, PlanX & TechHub Connect respectively). The management team, largely comprising of women, took it upon themselves to increase this number by starting Herself. The initiative aims to provide business training and support to the expanded participation of women in the workforce including women looking to set up a new business. Herself gives pre-incubation training to selected women who are shortlisted after interviews with the team. Since its launch in June 2016, Herself has already completed its first cycle, in which 38 women were trained. The second cycle has been launched and the applications are open! Herself targets women from all walks of life who are ambitious to take the entrepreneurial route.
Facebook first launched #SheMeansBusiness on March 8 this year – International Women’s Day – as a global initiative to empower and inspire more women turn their passion into a reality. Since then, the initiative has launched in 14 countries; trained 7000+ women, forged 14 training partnerships and reached 32.5 million through its online efforts. As part of the initiative, Facebook is also encouraging people to celebrate the inspiring women who run small businesses around the world by sharing the business pages, photos and videos of these women to their Facebook timeline using the hashtag, #SheMeansBusiness. These are the women who turn their passion into business and who have a profound impact on their families, their communities, their economy, and the world.
Find out more and celebrate the women entrepreneurs in your life at shemeansbusiness.fb.com.
For economies to flourish in modern times, it is essential to develop women as agents of change and to recognize the need for enhancing quality human resource. We hope and beleive that such partnerships will help develop the local landscape in multiple ways. It would not only give access to global platofrms to entrepreneurs but would enhance the learning process of “business creation platforms” specifically catering to the needs of women.
Information Source: PITB