LAHORE: Women entrepreneurs were rewarded for coming up with innovative business plans in a programme sponsored by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) here.
A total of 43 women from Lahore and Rahim Yar Khan, who had received skills training under the Khadija programme, an entrepreneurship training and business plan development package named after Hazrat Khadija (RA), took part in the competition. Eleven business plans were shortlisted: five for the hospitality sector, five for textiles and one for fashion design.
Sonia Bokhari was awarded the first prize of Rs100,000 by Unilever Food Solutions for her plan for the hospitality category, while Abida Malik won the runner-up prize of Rs50,000.
Sadia Afzal was awarded Rs50,000 as the winner and Rabia Yasmeen, Saba Abdul Sattar, Hira Jabbar and Ayesha Tehseen and Rehana were awarded Rs25,000 each as runners-up for textiles and garment manufacturing by the Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
The Old Associates of Kinnaird Students granted 10 sewing machines to Nadia and Shugufta Rasool, who are to jointly run the Derra Jattan Zardozi Embroidery Training and Production Centre.
The Khadija programme continues the Islamic tradition of recognising women as equal contributors to economic development, said Shaista Pervaiz Malik, advisor to the chief minister.
Salim Ranjha, founding member of Akhuwat, announced interest-free loans for all the trainees of the Khadija programme.
Masood Ali Khan, CEO of Takhlique and founder of Hall of Fame Pakistan, appreciated the high quality of the business plans, especially considering that none of the women had received any formal business training prior to the Khadija programme.
“A strong entrepreneurial culture is the foundation of a dynamic economy. Developing this culture will lead Pakistan in the right direction,” said Qaisra Sheikh, the president of the Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the chief guest at the event.