Shaoor Foundation for Education & Awareness under its project Fostering Critical Thinking and Entrepreneurial Skills in Young Women for Gender Inclusive Socioeconomic Development (FCTEW) held Knowledge Sharing Symposium at National Incubation Center, Peshawar said a press release issued here on Wednesday.
The purpose of the event was to share learning from the project’s phase 1 in Women University Swabi, discuss interventions, challenges and initiatives for women entrepreneurs at policy and government’s front, deliberate on opportunities and assert to work forward for collective effort for future financial empowerment projects.
The event was organized in collaboration with Small & Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA). Mr. Rashid Aman, Provincial Chief SMEDA KP highlighted the role of SMEDA in women economic development and appreciated the efforts being coordinated by Shaoor Foundation for the same cause.
The session had two panel discussions: one on Women Empowerment Entrepreneurial Development Initiatives and Challenges that was attended by Ms. Saima Amjad( vice President Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry Peshawar), Ms. Rehma Riaz(Regional Business Coordinator SMEDA), Ms. Roomy Sajjad (Associate Professor IMSciences) and Ms. Sumera Farman (Officer TDAP).
All participants of the first session emphasized on the need of collective empowerment initiatives that give power to local women. The session highlighted the constraints faced by women entrepreneurs in business, reviewed their operating environment, described the predominant challenges and solutions
The second panel discussion was on ‘Role of Incubators and Financial Service Providers in Women Entrepreneurial and Linkages Development in Pakistan’.
The purpose of this session was to discuss the possibilities of collaboration and create a bridge between women entrepreneurs, academia, financial service providers and incubators. It had Mr. Rashid Aman(Provincial Chief SMEDA), Ms. Sharf un-Nisa Khattak (Regional Head First Women Bank North), Mr. Qazi Waheed Uz Zaman (Head IMDurshal Peshawar), Ms. Tehmina Kazmi( Gender Specialist ERDA) and Mr. Bilal Farooq (Head Marketing and Communications NIC).
Speaking at the session, Rashid Aman said that increasing the number of entrepreneurs and creating conditions for them to succeed has the potential to improve economic opportunities for everyone.
Dr. Munazza Yaqoob, a lead consultant on the project discussed the importance of Critical Thinking and its role in women’s empowerment.
Vice Chancellor, Women University Swabi, Dr Shahana Urooj Kazmi, appreciated the efforts of Shaoor Foundation for Education and Awareness for providing the students and teachers training and holistic networking platform and opportunities.
Raja Shoaib Akbar, Executive Director Shaoor Foundation for Education and Awareness mentioned, “In Pakistan, there are many reasons why women are the most neglected segment of the workforce. They are lagging behind not only in education, but also technical skills and professionalism compared to their male counterparts in the society. This initiative is more focused towards specific programmes for women entrepreneurship and critical thinking development”
Ms. Parveen Agha, ex Federal Secretary also stressed that through women empowerment we can make a strong nation and country and also will produce sustainable economic growth in the country. She said no development plan can be effective unless there is a focus on women empowerment.
The seed grant winners; namely Little Joys by Hira, Waqt Pe, Bukhari Diagnostics and Hope by Shadab; from the project also shared their project pitches and progress with the stakeholders and received valuable feedback and appreciation from the audiences.
Ms. Zill e Huma Wazir, Member of the National Assembly, also attended the event as a chief guest and shared her experience with the audience during the closing remarks.
She emphasized the significance of women’s empowerment and participation in the country’s development. She also encouraged our project participants to refine and apply their skills in order to earn money and be self-sufficient.