LAHORE: Facebook has announced its partnership with the Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry–Lahore Division to expand its #SheMeansBusiness programme in Pakistan.
As per details, the programme would provide women entrepreneurs with the tools, training and resources that can help them secure funding and grow their businesses.
“The flexibility offered by digital technologies is enabling a new generation of women entrepreneurs around the world to make positive contributions to their families and communities. However, women still face a number of obstacles such as a lack of funding and networks that can help them grow and scale. With this partnership, we want to nurture current and future generations of Pakistani women business leaders by providing access to a series of workshops and online learning tools,” said Facebook Asia Pacific Head of Community Affairs Beth Ann Lim during the launch of the programme in Lahore.
According to the Future of Business Report – a collaboration between Facebook, World Bank and Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), women business owners on Facebook in Pakistan still face significant funding challenges, with less than one in five stating that they currently have a bank loan or a line of credit. Of those surveyed, over three in four Pakistani women business owners on Facebook say that social media helps their business.
WCCI President Dr Faaiza Amjad said online platforms such as Facebook have helped women entrepreneurs expand their businesses.
“When women are successful in their businesses, it drives social growth too; more women are employed, more diverse role models are created and there is stronger diversity. Successful female entrepreneurs invest in their communities and in educating children.
“Through our partnership with #SheMeansBusiness, we will be able to help equip Pakistan’s women entrepreneurs with the knowledge, connections, skills and technology required to build and grow their businesses online.”
A range of studies, including those carried out by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, OECD, World Bank and International Finance Corporation in conjunction with McKinsey, reinforce the point that harnessing the economic potential of women can lead to substantial socio-economic gains.
According to a recent study by the Clinton Global Initiative, when women work they invest 90pc of their income back into their families, compared with 35pc for men.
Run in collaboration with business leaders, civil society, NGOs and the public sector, #SheMeansBusiness is active in 21 countries around the world, including Pakistan, and has trained more than 130,000 women in digital skills across the Asia Pacific, besides reaching 130,000 online through the #SheMeansBusiness resource hub.