Pakistan shop eid women
The US embassy in Pakistan has launched a new programme to support women entrepreneurs in building their own enterprise. Image Credit: AP

Islamabad: The United States embassy in Islamabad has launched the first-ever incentive for women entrepreneurs in Pakistan under ‘Academy of Women Entrepreneurs’ (AWE) programme to support them in building their own enterprises.

Embassy’s Minister Counsellor for Public Affairs Ray Castillo welcomed more than 70 Pakistani women entrepreneurs to celebrate the launch of the academy.

Initiative aims at empowering Pakistani women

The US Department of State programme, he said, supported women worldwide and the initiative’s launch in Pakistan was part of an ongoing effort to empower Pakistani women to realise their economic potential and create conditions for increased stability, security and prosperity for all Pakistanis.

Pakistan’s participation will build on the ongoing support for women leaders and raise the profile of local startups. Castillo lauded the accomplishments of young Pakistani businesswomen and spoke about the determination that all entrepreneurs need to succeed.

“As your skills and confidence grow throughout this programme, it is my hope that you can build your businesses based not on the views of naysayers but on a well-grounded belief in yourself and belief in your abilities to adapt to changes in the market,” he said.

3-month rigorous online course

With mentoring and guidance from established Pakistani entrepreneurs, the programme’s participants will undertake a three-month rigorous course of online study using the Dream Builder platform developed by Arizona State University’s Thunderbird School of Global Management and American natural resource company, Freeport McMoran.

AWE is designed to cultivate entrepreneurial know-how, help women entrepreneurs connect with funding opportunities, enhance opportunities for business expansion, and increase the likelihood of entrepreneurial success.

The Lincoln Corners in Lahore, Rawalpindi, Larkana and Peshawar will lead AWE Pakistan with support from the Pakistan-American Cultural Centre and the DOVE Foundation.

The participants will also have the opportunity to compete for seed funding from the US Mission to Pakistan to further grow their enterprises.

Immense opportunities to further grow their businesses

Upon completion, they will join the global AWE network, which offers further growth opportunities as well as the community of US exchange programme alumni.

Meanwhile, the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) has announced to devise initiatives to bring more women to the field of business for their economic empowerment.

ICCI President Sardar Yasir Ilyas Khan while addressing a convention of Women Workers Alliance organised in collaboration with Sustainable Social Development Organisation said women were almost half of the total population of Pakistan and bringing them into the mainstream of economy was important to enhance their contribution to economic development.

“We at the ICCI are working on a policy for ensuring equal wages to male and female employees and all public and private institutions should adopt equal wage policies to promote gender equality,” said Khan.