LAHORE : Female entrepreneurs of Lahore participated in the 2018 Women Entrepreneurship Conference (WECON) to create awareness among women entrepreneurs through different programmes where they support women business aspirants through financial, legal and training help.
The event, held at a local university, was attended by entrepreneurship ecosystem builders, incubators, accelerators, students as well as operators of start-ups. The event was a joint initiative of Change Mechanics and Goals. Jang Group of Newspapers was the media partner of the biggest women conference of Pakistan. Naeem Zamindar, chairman, Board of Investment, was the chief guest of the conference.
Shahnaz Kapadia Rahat, founder, Mera Maan, Dr Amjad Saqib, founder, Akhuwat, Wasif Nagi, chairman, Mir Khalil ur Rahman Memorial Society, Jang Group and Qaiser Nadeem, USAID Punjab Youth Workforce Development Pakistan PYWDP, were among the main speakers of the conference.
The day-long event was divided into three segments aptly titled ‘Create, Cultivate and Celebrate.’ Panel discussions were conducted under each themes to educate and engage young female entrepreneurs and students aspiring to build their start-ups. The event was hosted by Amal Huma and Samia Yawar. Ibraheem Ahmed, Goal Trainings, Sayyed Ahmed Masud, Change Mechanics and Sumera Abbasi, WeCreate, moderated the panel discussions on investment and funding opportunities.
Digital Marketing and Storytelling by Shehab Farrukh Niazi, Design Thinking by Umair Shafique, Competencies of a Successful Entrepreneur by Shahnaz Kapadia and Business Modeling by Madiha Pervez were the topics of the sessions of the event.
Shahnaz Kapadia Rahat said, “I started working 30 years back and I was attending an event in a foreign country when I saw strong women entrepreneurs there. We have come very far but still we have not touched the tip of the iceberg. The main problem women entrepreneurs face is mobility. But with the new technologies and mobile apps, this problem has been solved. Women do not need extra attention; they just need opportunities. Women do not need sympathies; they need the business. They can work better and double than men.”
Dr Amjad Saqib said, “Either you are an economic entrepreneur or a social entrepreneur; you have to be dedicated towards your passion and work. Miracles still happen.”
Wasif Nagi said, “Jang Group of Media has always made history by its creative ideas. Jang was the first group to introduce Urdu writing computers. Mir Khalil ur Rahman Foundation has worked for the welfare of people during tough times of earthquakes and floods. We will continue our work for the welfare of people and train our younger generation to do good deeds for humanity.”
Qaiser Nadeem said, “In Pakistan, slow economic growth and a poor educational system, combined with limited economic opportunities, have contributed to high levels of youth unemployment. Deep socio-economic inequalities can engender the communities where extremism and instability thrive, where women are forbidden from pursuing vocational education and securing jobs.”
Talking about a project of the USAID PYWDP, he said, ” The three-year project aims to train and facilitate employment opportunities for 10,000 youths (35 percent women) between the ages of 16 and 29 in the southern Punjab districts of Multan, Lodhran, Bahawalpur and Muzaffargarh.”
Naeem Zamindar said strong, working, independent and empowered women were the future of Pakistan.
Fiza Farhan, strategic adviser, Ayesha Mansoor, MauSummery, Humayun Mazhar, Cresventures, Khurram Zafar, 47 Ventures, Kaiyan Yousaf, SMEA, Murtaza Zaidi, NIC Peshawar, Neelam Azmat, PPAF, Farzana Yaqoob, president, AIPP and Salwa Akhtar, NIC Lahore, were among the panelists.
Competition of creative start-ups were also held at the conference and the first prize was Rs 50,000 for that.
The panellists spoke of various measures being taken by the different companies to support the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the country, ranging from infrastructure to financial access.