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Hazara female entrepreneurs need backing?

Islamabad Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IWCCI) on Wednesday assured full support and guidance to Abbotabad Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry (AWCCI).

The encouragement came in a meeting between IWCCI and a delegation of AWCCI headed by its President Firdosia Fazal.

Speaking at the occasion, Samina Fazil, Founder President, IWCCI said that many small businesses in Pakistan are run by women but quite a few gets encouragement or support.

Chairman Coordination FPCCI Atif Ikram Sheikh, President IWCCI Farida Rashid, President AWCCI Firdosia Fazal, Chairman Media FPCCI Malik Sohail and others were also present on the occasion.

Samina Fazil said that some hassles including gender barriers emerge when women starts working for themselves, she said adding that there are very few women in the bodies that represent small to medium-sized businesses.There is not a single woman in many Chambers of Commerce and trade and industry associations, she said.We welcome the timely launching of proposed AWCCI and will back all moves aimed at providing any help to female entrepreneurs, said Samina.

Lauding the government initiatives Samina said that not many countries have separate chambers of commerce for women but stressed the need for more actions to improve women’s participation in the economy.She asked AWCCI leaders to focus on five core areas of access to capital, capacity and skills building, women’s leadership and access to markets and gender balance.

Atif Ikram Sheikh, Farida Rashid, and Malik Sohail also spoke on the occasion. They said that many women are starting up businesses but they find access to capital very difficult. Banks are still asking for a husband or other male guarantor when women apply for business loans.

Despite high economic potential women who can’t get access to capital notwithstanding the fact that ratio of defaults is almost non-existent in women borrowers, they observed.

First Women Bank Limited findings show women’s return on investment was higher than for their male counterparts and women were more likely to repay debt, they noted.

Malik Shoail, who is also Advisor IWCCI said that economic expansion to unlock growth is not possible without supporting women.

Being member of a chamber is beneficial for finding new contacts, markets, mentoring, leadership, training and educational opportunities and tools to grow business to success, he said.

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