Posted by: Mishal Halim, Analyst, Sustainable Business Practices
Together with World Bank and local partners, Institute of Business Administration (IBA) and Minding Her Business, Enclude is pleased to announce the launch of Womenx, a pilot program providing transformative business education and support services to women entrepreneurs running small and medium sized enterprises in Karachi, Pakistan.
September’s inaugural Womenx cohort brings together 39 high-powered, dynamic women entrepreneurs representing diverse socio-economic backgrounds and a wide array of business and service industries, including apparel and accessories, food and beverages, furniture, ICT and electronics, and transportation. Some started their businesses just a year ago, while others have been operating for more than 15 years, but they all have one thing in common: the desire to grow an impactful, sustainable business.
Providing services specific to the local context and needs of Pakistani women entrepreneurs, Womenx will support women entrepreneurs in taking their businesses to the next level, by building business acumen, skills and networks. Over the course of two years, Womenx will work with 350 women in Karachi, and 50 women in Peshawar.
Each entrepreneur brings a unique perspective, and together theycreate a one-of-a-kind “classroom” of mutual learning. The Womenx “classroom” offers large group sessions focusing on distinct business growth skills–including marketing, operations and supply chain management, human resource management, and accounting and finance—as well as soft skills training, networking events, mentoring opportunities, and business clinics. A unique offering of the program are small group “Mastermind” sessions where the participants have constructive conversations aimed at building and supporting each other’s and their own businesses through the creation of vision statements and collective brainstorming. This supportive space combines the explosiveness of youth and the wisdom of experience.
The mix of large and small group interactions exposes participants to a strong support system for coping with individual business-related issues as well as broader cultural issues faced by women entrepreneurs, such as juggling multiple roles and mobility restrictions. These supportive relationships are at the heart of Womenx:
“This is the networking we have been looking for and the kind of relationships that will help us build ourselves as a person…our brand…our business. Thanks for all the support […] ladies. You all have been wonderful. I will cherish every moment spent with you all.”
-First Cohort Entrepreneur
The program will also kick off a nation-wide communications campaign this month, centered on challenging the dominant narratives about women entrepreneurs in Pakistan. The campaign will highlight the significant contributions women business owners make towards the country’s economy, and will promote the idea that “women mean business, they do business, and they do it well!”
Be on the lookout for more updates from Enclude’s Womenx team as our stellar group of women entrepreneurs continues to grow and gain momentum in the marketplace!
Womenx is actively recruiting women entrepreneurs for the second cohort, slated to begin in January 2015. Online application forms are available at www.womenxpakistan.com and the deadline to apply is December 15, 2014.