Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry to help women face competition, explore new business frontiers

KASHGAR: Senator Haji Ghulam Ali, President Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) on Friday said that encouraging and supporting women amount to supporting future generations.

“We cannot secure our future by ignoring women, which are in majority yet deprived of rights, he said. Women should be made capable to play due role in national development, face competitive environment and explore new business frontiers.

Speaking at a workshop organised by the Islamabad Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IWCCI), Small and Medium Enterprise Development Authority (SMEDA) and Women Business Incubation Centre (WBIC) to enhance capacity of women entrepreneurs, he said that majority of households will continue to reel under poverty unless serious steps are taken to empower women.

Senator Haji Ghulam Ali said that apart from government and NGOs, urban women should also undertake initiatives for empowerment of rural women.

He said that supporting women amounts to Jihad, which will continue and FPCCI will do everything for this cause. Our ailing economy needs a fresh thrust for which women can play an important role; Ghulam Ali said, adding that women deserve opportunities to transform their potential into profit.

He said that encouraging women to become economically empowered is one of the best investments for future.

Samina Fazil, President, IWCCI said that lending institutions should improve access to finance and support the growth of small businesses.

Majority of loans are enjoyed by a select group, which is not helping achieve sustainable economic growth, she said.

Samina Fazil said that some banks lack tools to serve women while others consider lending to women as risky while the fact remains that 98 per cent women return loans in time. The mindset of bankers is reducing many business women to bankruptcy, she informed.

Smeda should enhance its business development role in supporting SMEs while government should consider establishing a Women Business Incubation Centre in Islamabad on priority basis to provide enhanced opportunities, she demanded.

“We need platforms to enhance businesses and contribution,” said Samina.

Earlier, Memoona Sattar, Project Manager, WBIC and Faisal Bashir, Regional Business Coordinator Smeda, conducted a session titled, Current Businesses for Women.

In the fifth effort on the part of Smeda to polish business skills of women, they highlighted many businesses which are ideal for women but ignored so far. You will have more profit and almost no competition in these unique sectors, they said.

Memoona Sattar, and Faisal Bashir taught members of IWCCI about financial and business fundamentals, networking, provision and facilitations of services, sector-specific studies, strategies, investment and loan facilities, technology, information, productivity improvement, legal support, identification of opportunities, technical and marketing advice and benefits of branding etc.

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