Author Archive

Women Entrepreneurs Mark Global Entrepreneurship Week in Pakistan

Originally posted on the CIPE Development Blog

The Peshawar Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PWCCI) celebrated Global Entrepreneurship Week with an event held in partnership with CIPE and the Kauffman Foundation on November 15. More than 50 students and lecturers from various Peshawar universities gathered to discuss both the hurdles facing women entrepreneurs in Pakistan, as well as the reasons why the Peshawar region lags behind other parts of the country in producing entrepreneurs. Speaking at the event, PWCCI Vice President Shamama Arbab noted that while young people in Pakistan have no lack of potential, a challenging business climate makes it difficult for them to harness their skills and capabilities.

According to the Global Entrepreneurship Index, Pakistan lags in the number of start-ups, with less than half the rate of early-stage entrepreneurial activity than comparable countries. CIPE Pakistan Deputy Country Director Hammad Siddiqui commented that young Pakistani graduates tend to seek employment in multinationals after graduation, rather than considering the option of entrepreneurship. Furthermore, he noted, “To turn around Pakistan’s economy, women need to participate in the mainstream, including by starting their own businesses.”

During the discussion it was stressed that business development centers should be established to incubate new firms, and that chambers and associations can play a key role in mentoring students who are considering entrepreneurship, as well as new entrepreneurs. The participants emphasized that the government should promote an entrepreneurial culture, and universities should introduce entrepreneurship in the curriculum. The student also noted that the media can play a role in encouraging young people to make their careers in business.

For more information about this event, as well as another event marking Global Entrepreneurship Week in Pakistan held in conjunction with the Young Entrepreneurs’ Forum at the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry, please see more on the Business Support Organization Forum, an online resource for Pakistani chambers.

Building Better Chambers and Associations in Pakistan

“Chambers of commerce and business associations in Pakistan have started showing significant improvements in the way they serve their members. Contributing to that outcome is CIPE’s continued work on capacity building initiatives to help chamber and association staff learn modern corporate governance and management concepts. As a part of these efforts, last week CIPE organized the 3rd annual Secretaries’ General Conference in Lahore.

34 secretaries general (the paid CEO position) representing chambers of commerce and sectoral association from across Pakistan attended the event, including 17 new participants. CIPE efforts were also successful in bringing secretaries general from women chambers in areas such as Mardan, Peshawar and Quetta that are generally considered difficult for women’s empowerment. For Nazia Durrani, newly elected Secretary General of Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Mardan, it was the first such event. “It was a great opportunity for me,” she said. Other participants shared that view, emphasizing that this annual conference provides them with a unique common platform for learning and networking.”

Continue reading this article on the CIPE Development Blog

Huzaifa Shabbir Hussain

Comment here or share a message with the Community of Women Entrepreneurs:

Gender Diversity in Corporate Boards in Pakistan

Historically, corporate boards in many countries have been comprised mainly of men.  A number of European market regulators are considering imposing quotas of women on the boards of publicly traded companies as a requirement in the new Code of Corporate Governance, and this is likely to compel business to consider gender diversity of corporate boards.

A report published by the Institute of Employment Studies notes that, “Despite long-standing anti-discrimination legislation in the US, UK and across Europe, women still remain under-represented in many occupations, most noticeably in high-level posts.  This phenomenon is seen at its most extreme when the composition of company boards is considered.  In the USA, woman constitute on average 14.7 per cent of board members on Fortune 500 companies; in the UK, women hold 11 per cent of FTSE 100 directorships, according to the 2008 Sex and Power report published by the UK Equality and Human Rights Commission.”

Read the rest of the article on gender diversification in Pakistani Corporate Boards.

To share an article with the Community of Women Entrepreneurs, send an email to

Contribution of Women to Economic Growth – District Mardan

District Mardan of NWFP in terms of trade and business has a significant position in the province. There exists an untapped potential for the promotion and development of trade and industry. However due to lack of entrepreneurial skill and professional training, the ability of local businesses to flourish and contribute to the economic development is hindered.

The business environment for women in Mardan reflects the complex interplay of many factors, which fall into two basic categories. The first category is made up of social, cultural, traditional and religious elements. The second category is induced by the factors of the first component, taking the form of constitutional structures, policy documents, regulatory arrangements and institutional mechanisms. However, women in Mardan do not have access to basic technical training to optimize their potential and generate sources of income. Continue reading ‘Contribution of Women to Economic Growth – District Mardan’ »

Women leaders in Pakistan – Reform in Process

The challenges to increasing female participation in mainstream economic activity, and the creation of leadership within women entrepreneurs, are manifold. These challenges range from social taboos; conservative lobbies; lack of access to education, information, and finance to discriminatory behaviors by male counterparts, severely inhibiting the ability of women to develop leadership skills and to participate in the policymaking process. Yet another complexity is the non-existent gender focused institutions such as women chambers, which generally act as facilitators in networking, mentorship, and learning opportunities.
Continue reading ‘Women leaders in Pakistan – Reform in Process’ »