LAHORE, Oct 29: Local Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Women Entrepreneurs Committee convener Dr Shehla Javaid Akram has announced establishment of the first-ever women chamber of commerce and industry in the country.

Speaking at a press conference here on Wednesday, Dr Shehla revealed that the chamber had been registered as a non-profit organization dedicated to promotion and development of women entrepreneurship. It would enable women to work as a pressure group to get their voice heard.

The chamber would have its chapters at all the provincial headquarters and in Islamabad, she said, adding the Karachi and Lahore chapters were being launched simultaneously. As many as 200 women had already been enrolled members of the Lahore chapter.

An application had also been submitted to the government’s Trade Organization director for the registration of the new chamber.

She said the need to establish a separate chamber of commerce and industry for women was felt because the institutions, set up for their empowerment, were not paying attention to women entrepreneurship.

The chamber, Dr Shehla said, would work for all categories of women in general and working women in particular. It would help the small women entrepreneurs to form groups of 20 each to establish buying houses to work through networking. The chamber would also help the women in product identification and seeking credit.

Besides, it would arrange a road show of women entrepreneurs in the country in December. It would also participate in the SAARC Women Organizations Conference in January and organize the First International Conference on Women Entrepreneurship in March 2004, she said.

The new chamber would approach the Export Promotion Bureau for a review of its policy of ensuring that a woman entrepreneur joined every trade delegation visiting abroad. The EPB would also be asked to allow more than one woman entrepreneur to join the delegation visiting the countries of their choice, Dr Shehla said.

A woman can enrol as a member of the chamber against payment of Rs100, said the convener.