The winners of the first edition of the She’s Next program, a global initiative by Visa dedicated to supporting women entrepreneurs, were announced in an awards ceremony held in Karachi. The ceremony recognized and rewarded outstanding women-owned enterprises.
Pakistan’s inaugural edition of the She’s Next program and the award ceremony was jointly organized by Visa, a world leader in digital payments, together with Pakistan’s leading Bank HBL. The platform aims to support women in their efforts to fund, run and grow their small businesses.
Leila Serhan, Senior Vice President and Group Country Manager for North Africa, Levant, and Pakistan at Visa, expressed excitement for the initiative and praised the remarkable talent within Pakistan’s women community.
“We had a tough job selecting our finalists from almost 2,500 exemplary Pakistani women, and our judges had an even harder job picking our winners tonight. This is just the tip of the iceberg, and our hope is that we continue working with our partners to empower this inspiring community of women entrepreneurs,” she said.
- Hira Javaid, CEO of Foster Learning, clinches the People’s Favorite Award at She’s Next awards ceremony.
- Each of the five winners is awarded a US$10,000 grant, tailored training by Katalyst Labs, and membership to the She’s Next Club.
- Winners were selected from nearly 2,500 applications from diverse sectors such as training, education, advertising, professional services, beauty, and online retail.
The winners, selected from an impressive pool of nearly 2,500 applicants, include:
- Ziana Sakhia – CEO & Cofounder of Bechlo
- Sadaf Rehman – Cofounder of CodeSchool
- Rida Zainab – Cofounder of Porter Pakistan
- Ayesha Awan – Cofounder of SocialBlu
- Hira Javaid – CEO of Foster Learning, won the People’s Favorite Award, in which members of the public voted online for their favorite finalist.
These remarkable women will each receive a US$10,000 grant, participate in a customized training program provided by Katalyst Labs, and gain access to the She’s Next Club – an exclusive platform offering a wealth of resources, including a workshop library and a supportive community for mentorship.
Aamir Kureshi, Head Consumer, Agriculture & SME Banking at HBL, emphasized the bank’s commitment to supporting women entrepreneurs, acknowledging all applicants for their exceptional spirit. “The program aims to support and empower women entrepreneurs on their path to financial success. This initiative further supports HBL’s commitment to uplift women entrepreneurs in the country. While we have five winners from the 10 shortlisted, the Bank acknowledges and celebrates the exceptional spirit of all 2,500 applicants, each a winner in their own right.”
The women entrepreneurs who were among the 10 finalists:
- Afshan Khan – FastMove Packages
- Alice Peter Bhagtaney – Upstream
- Sheeza Zahid – Her Sahulat
- Gauhar Qureshi – The Loaf
- Aiman Siddiqi – Primal Hair & Skincare
Jury members: The winners were meticulously chosen by an independent committee, assessing factors such as the applicants’ entrepreneurial journey, business metrics robustness, digital presence, and problem-solving capabilities. The jury included Carl Manlan (Visa), Maya Inayat Ismail (HBL), Aatif Awan (Indus Valley Capital), and Sheema Sultan (Core Gym).
Since 2020, Visa has globally invested around US$3.8 million in over 380 grants and coaching for women SMB owners through the She’s Next grant program.