Facebook expands its women entrepreneurship programme in Pakistan

Facebook on Saturday announced the expansion of its “SheMeansBusiness programme” in Pakistan, in partnership with the Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Lahore Division, said a press release.

The programme is aimed at providing 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,” said Beth Ann Lim, head of community affairs at Facebook, Asia Pacific, at the launch of the programme in Lahore.

“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,” she added.

WCCI President Dr Faaiza Amjad said online platforms such as Facebook helped women entrepreneurs expand their businesses.

“When women are successful in 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,” she added.

According to the Future of Business Report — a collaboration between Facebook, the World Bank and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) — women business owners on Facebook in Pakistan still face significant funding challenges, with less than 1 in 5 stating that they currently have a bank loan or a line of credit.

Of those surveyed, over 3 in 4 Pakistani women business owners on Facebook say that social media helps their business.

According to a recent study by the Clinton Global Initiative published on the United Nations Economic and Social Council site, when women work they invest 90 per cent of their income back into their families, compared with 35 per cent 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. It has trained more than 130,000 women in digital skills across Asia Pacific, reached online through the #SheMeansBusiness resource hub.

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