ISLAMABAD-Pakistan needs to promote women entrepreneurs to jump-start the revival of its economy and put it on the path of sustainable growth.
This was stated by Ahsan Zafar Bakhtawari, President Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry, while addressing a US Speakers Series event organized by ICCI in collaboration with Islamabad Women Chamber of Commerce & Industry (IWCCI) under the title “Challenges and Opportunities for Women Entrepreneurs in venture capital industry”. Ahsan Bakhtawari said that women are 51 percent of Pakistan’s total population and their increased participation in economic activity is important to spur the growth of the economy. He said that when women get economic power, they reinvest it in their families, their communities and bring prosperity to the country. He said evidence shows that women-owned SMEs make a significant contribution to the development of economy as they generate employment, create wealth and improve the social wellbeing of society.
He emphasized that the government should take policy measures to develop a strong venture capital industry with focus to provide easy financing to women entrepreneurs as the current gender-wise distribution of gross loan portfolio of the State Bank of Pakistan shows that a small percentage of SME loans are given to women entrepreneurs. Similarly, the percentage of the microfinance loan to women is also insignificant. He said that the focus on gender-equality in loan distribution would help promote more women entrepreneurs and accelerate the pace of economic growth in Pakistan.
Ms Courtney Powell, COO, 500 Global and Google Business Leader of 2015 of USA, speaking on the occasion said that Pakistani women have incredible talent and they need a healthy ecosystem for entrepreneurship to excel in the business field. She said that women entrepreneurs should be facilitated in generating funds from the stock markets for business ventures.
She lauded the role of women chambers of commerce and industry for promoting women entrepreneurs in Pakistan and said that women need better financing models to flourish their business enterprises. Rizwana Asif, President, Islamabad Women Chamber of Commerce & Industry, said that women need easy access to capital and stressed that the government should come up with tailor-made financial solutions for them. She said that 25 women chambers of commerce and industry in Pakistan are working hard to promote women entrepreneurs in order to increase their role in the economic development of the country.