Pakistan’s First Center for Women Entrepreneurs launched in Islamabad

Center for aspiring Women entrepreneurs to explore their Creative and Economic potential

U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Richard G. Olson and U.S. State Department Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs Scott Nathan inaugurate the WECREATE Center for Women Entrepreneurs in Islamabad.
US Ambassador Richard Olson inaugurating the Women’s Entrepreneurial Center in Islamabad. Photo: US Embassy Pakistan

Islamabad – The first-of-its-kind center for women entrepreneurs has been launched in Islamabad for those passionate souls looking to start a business or take their existing business to the next level. The WECREATE Center will advance gender equality in entrepreneurship and provide training, support, and mentorship for women entrepreneurs in Pakistan.

U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Richard G. Olson, U.S. State Department Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs Scott Nathan, and Additional Secretary for the Pakistan Ministry of Commerce Rubina Ather inaugurated the Women’s Entrepreneurial Center of Resources, Education, Access, and Training for Economic Empowerment (WECREATE) in Islamabad.

Reinforcing the U.S. commitment to advance gender equality through entrepreneurship in Pakistan, Ambassador Richard Olson said, “The center will  maximize public-private partnerships to increase women’s participation in the economy and implement community-based programs to spur economic growth and innovation.  The Center will offer mentorship, classes, resource materials, and access to a network of other women entrepreneurs across the country and around the world.”

[dt_quote type=”pullquote” layout=”left” font_size=”normal” animation=”none” size=”2″]“This center has enormous potential.  It will help women overcome some of the barriers they encounter in Pakistan and develop initiatives to increase opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs to start and grow their own businesses” Ambassador Olson said.[/dt_quote]

WECREATE Marketing and Communications Manager Mavra Bari commented, “The opening of the center is an opportunity to support not only new women entrepreneurs but also diverse ideas and perspectives.  It will give women a space to unleash their creative potential.”

The interior decor of the center is so refreshing that it gets one’s creative juices flowing instantly. Vibrant colours and airy environment of the center offers a dynamic and lively working space for entrepreneurs. The walls are covered with motivational quotes, creating a positive work environment and encouraging enthusiasm and creativity. The center is also equipped with a daycare center for kids keeping in mind the needs of women starting businesses who are struggling to balance work and family life.

U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Richard G. Olson and U.S. State Department Special Representative for Business Affairs, Scott Nathan at the WECREATE Center for Women in Islamabad.
U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Richard G. Olson and U.S. State Department Special Representative, Scott Nathan at the WECREATE Center.

The WECREATE center members will gain access to the following tools and resources:

  • Mentor and Coaching Network
  • Business Building Programs
  • Co-Working Space
  • Incubator Space
  • Networking & Events
  • Visual Thinking Tools
  • Day Care

The center is supported by the U.S.-Pakistan Women’s Council and sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, in partnership with StartUp Cup, TiE Islamabad, Change Mechanics, and the Hashoo Foundation.  The Pakistan Center is supported by a $151,000 in-kind contribution from StartUp Cup, an organization that focuses on building entrepreneurial ecosystems around the world.

Launched by Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in September 2012, the U.S.-Pakistan Women’s Council is a public-private partnership that links U.S. and Pakistani universities, businesses, and other supporters, to initiatives that advance economic opportunities for women in Pakistan. U.S.-Pakistan Women’s Council will explore opportunities to facilitate the integration of businesses owned by women entrepreneurs, including those trained through WECREATE Pakistan, into the supply chains of companies operating in Pakistan.

At the WECREATE Center in Islamabad.Unleashing the economic potential of women is a powerful tool to drive economic growth and prosperity. Women entrepreneurs are integral to stable and thriving formal economies, but often face disproportionate barriers, including gender-based, cultural and social discrimination. WECREATE Centers are designed to be safe and in centralized locations where women can access essential resources needed to overcome these barriers and start or grow their businesses, according to the US Office of the Spokesperson media note.

The Centers will build the capacity of women business owners and support women-led businesses as they transition from entities operating in the informal economy to formally registered companies. Each Center will also tailor its portfolio of programs, tools and events to address the unique needs of women entrepreneurs in the country where it operates.

WECREATE Centers are currently in development in Zambia, Kenya, Cambodia, and Vietnam, with other Centers expected in the future.

Sana Jamal
Storyteller. Avid Reader. Learner to the core.

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