Database under works to empower women entrepreneurs

Published November 28, 2020
In this photograph taken on May 24, 2019, young women work at their stations at the National Incubation Centre (NIC), a start-up incubator in Lahore. — AFP/File
In this photograph taken on May 24, 2019, young women work at their stations at the National Incubation Centre (NIC), a start-up incubator in Lahore. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Commerce on Friday said that it will help facilitate creation of a national database of women entrepreneurs in an effort towards increasing their participation in trade of goods and services.

The suggestion came from Commerce Secretary Muhammad Sualeh Ahmad Faruqui, while chairing the second meeting of consultative committee of the Women Economic Empowerment (WEE). The committee will work under specific sub groups to come up with recommendations according to their areas of expertise to be submitted to Ministry of Commerce for further action within a week.

An official announcement issued by commerce ministry said during the meeting, most of which was held virtually, Mr Faruqui emphasised the importance of gender mainstreaming and economic empowerment of women through greater participation in trade of goods and services.

He highlighted the importance of dedicated work on policy issues to ensure effective engagement with women entrepreneurs as key stakeholders. He proposed drafting an action matrix on the basis of stakeholders’ input mentioning timelines for different kinds of actions based on their nature in sequential and parallel manner.

“This will cover creation of a national database of women entrepreneurs, business facilitation, ease of doing business, training and access to finance”, he said while adding that he took special interest in categorising the sectors and maintaining the momentum of work on policy issues.

The meeting was attended via zoom by a great number of participants including leading fashion designers, Facebook, i2i, P@SHA, e-Commerce market places, women chambers, the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry representatives and women chambers.

In addition, representatives from the Pakistan-Regional Economic Integration Activity, USAID and the Asian Development Bank also attended the moot and briefed the house about international best practices on women small and medium enterprises definition and e-commerce portal, respectively.

Meanwhile, from the public sector representatives of the State Bank of Pakistan, Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (Islamabad) and Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority also participated in the meeting.

The e-commerce implementation strategy provides specific targets towards establishment of a portal for one-window facilitation of related matters and to promote public awareness for all relevant stakeholders.

The functions of the portal would be to provide simplified, translated information about regulations and enhance knowledge and understanding about e-commerce, aware the public about consumer protection and facilitate implementation of nine pillars of e-commerce policy. It will mainstream women in the economic activities.

The establishment of WEE Committee by Ministry of Commerce and National E commerce Council is a step towards removing barriers and increase women’s participation in trade activities and commerce policy, giving it a gender lens and reducing gender disparity across trade and commerce.

The WEE also aims to project and promote women-led businesses on international forums through government and private platforms.

Published in Dawn, November 28th, 2020

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