More than 100 vibrant stalls displaying handmade garments, arts and crafts, home decor, marble mosaic, gems and jewellery, stones and decoration pieces, and foods, representing diverse cultures of Pakistan, attracted a large number of visitors from Islamabad and Rawalpindi.
Two-day Islamabad Expo 2015 featuring conferences, competitions and activities including talent hunt, cooking, beauty workshops and makeovers, offered a great platform for women entrepreneurs of Pakistan. The main purpose of the exhibition is to increase market linkages of women entrepreneurs for the promotion of their products, networking and skill development. It would also provide opportunities to those who cannot own or rent a shop.
Various corporate, commercial and non-government organisations as well as individual entrepreneurs participated in the expo organised by Islamabad Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IWCCI).
Women Entrepreneurship Summit Pakistan 2015 was one significant part of the expo that brought relevant stake holders of Women Empowerment in Pakistan including government, women chambers, universities, industrial units, NGOs and technology partners on one platform. Women Summit was arranged by Women’s Entrepreneurship (CWE), Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) and Islamabad Women Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
The exhibition offered an interactive platform for women to enrich, empower and inspire them and to bridged the gap amongst the government, non-government and corporate sectors.
Speaking at the Expo, President of IWCCI Zakia Hashmi, and former presidents Samina Fazil and Farida Rashid said that their objective is to empower women and we want that women’s rights must be respected and protected everywhere. Women leaders also demanded the government to establish an expo centre in Islamabad.
Punjab Minister for Social Welfare Begum Zakia Shahnawaz, speaking at the Expo, said that the government strongly believes in women empowerment and taking concrete measures to encourage women entrepreneurs.
“This is our national duty to protect the interests of women and provide them equal opportunities without any discrimination to make them valuable citizens and productive members of the society,” she said.
She further said that the government has taken measures to ensure women’s rights and continuously undertaking reforms so as to enable them to participate in every sphere of life with full abilities. The minister said that the government with a view to safeguarding women’s rights had enacted effective legislation.
Speaking at the Expo 2015, Canadian High Commissioner Heather Cruden said that Pakistani women were participating in all sectors and many of them had excelled in their respective fields, not only in Pakistan, but also on the international level which is very encouraging.
IWCCI Founder President Samina Fazil said the government has been empowering women through different initiatives to ensure their representation in all spheres of life.
Former Vice President of FPCCI Naima Ansari said that the expo will be learning, shopping, and entertaining experience for the participants and also an opportunity for women to share their work and goals towards a prosperous future.
Others who spoke on the occasion included founder president IWCCI Samina Fazil, President IWCCI Dr Zakia Hashmi, Preisdent KPK CCI Fawad Ishaq, President ICCI Muzammil Sabri, Chairman Coordination FPCCI Malik Sohail and others. They lauded the initiatives of IWCCI aimed at women empowerment and efforts of the government to create an enabling environment for women.