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Posted on June 16, 2015

Posted by: Nimrah Karim, Consultant, Sustainable Business Practices

Who is growing SME businesses in Karachi and Peshawar?  Uzma Tariq and other women entrepreneurs are a big part of current growth, and Womenx is here to support them.  Managed by Enclude under a contract from the World Bank, Womenx is a business education and support programme that brings Pakistani business women together to inspire, network, and learn from each other and from expert mentors.  Here we profile some of the energetic and inspiring participants of this program.

Uzma TariqBuilding on a family experience in the printing business, Uzma Tariq has opened Maheen Printing Press.  The company aims at an underserved market Uzma identified in her area, for relatively small printing orders.  Eight years on since she first began her enterprise, Uzma runs her printing business with 8 full-time employees and prints catalogues, calendars, and brochures for major textile and sugar mills, fashion companies, educational institutes, private banks, advertising agencies, and hospitals.

The primary constraint Uzma currently faces is limited space for more machines, which is why she often resorts to outsourcing work. The Womenx program has helped Uzma gain clarity on her vision for Maheen Printing Press in the next 12 months: to move to a more spacious location and hence expand her capacity, to clarify her niche, rebrand and reposition her services, and create a robust marketing strategy targeting her client base. In particular, Uzma is keen to partner with other women-owned businesses in need of printing services.  See more about Maheen Printing Press.

Yasmin ZamanYasmin Zaman found her true calling designing high-end, ready-made outfits for the modern Pakistani woman, including custom-made bridal couture and formal pret.  When Yasmin’s designs hit the runway, her business grew from 1 tailor to 30 full-time production staff in just under five years. However, Yasmin found herself caught in the classic dilemma for many entrepreneurs experiencing fast growth: she was highly skilled in her line of work, but did not feel adequately equipped as a business manager.  Yasmin enrolled in Womenx to learn about financial management, marketing, and human resources management. The program helped her to approach her business in a more structured way, delegate more effectively and develop concrete action items.  Yasmin plans to institute strict accounting controls, introduce a formal inventory, conduct regular audits, and increase her brand familiarity.  Read more about Yasmin’s story.

Know someone who would benefit from Womenx, or ready for Womenx yourself?  Find out how to apply now for the next Womenx cohort.  Sessions begin in August, 2015.

Womenx is managed by Enclude, in partnership with The World Bank Group, The Aman Center for Entrepreneurial Development (CED) at IBA, and Minding Her Business (MHB).

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