Karandaaz Pakistan has launched the second round of its flagship Women Entrepreneurship Challenge with 19 women-led businesses from across the country. The annual challenge, funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), is a leading business support programme that promotes a culture of entrepreneurship amongst women. Karandaaz will invest up to PKR 20 million (per business) in enterprises that have potential for growth after a competitive pitching round to a panel of judges. It will also provide customized business development support to the businesses that have qualified for the programme.
Women-led businesses from sectors as diverse as clothing and manufacturing, education, beauty and care, food and food processing, IT and digital media, and gems and jewelry make up this year’s cohort, as announced by Karandaaz at a ceremony held in Islamabad, today.
Speaking at the event, CEO Karandaaz Mr. Ali Sarfraz explained: “We are very excited about this year’s round of Karandaaz Women Entrepreneurship Challenge as the businesses thistime are much more diverse with a significant potential for revenue generation and job creation. Our programme is helping these dynamic entrepreneurs compete at par with other mainstream businesses in their domains and tackle impediments such as access to finance, market linkages, and lack of knowledge about industry certifications and standards that traditionally hamper women-led businesses’ growth.”
Speaking about the programme, Senior Development Adviser, Waqas ul-Hassan from DFID said: “Creating jobs and supporting economic growth is a top priority for the UK in Pakistan. We know through our experience that investing in women-led businesses not only empowers women but also lead towards economic growth in target communities.
These businesses participating in the women entrepreneurship challenge will serve as role models to inspire other women entrepreneurs who can be drivers for growth and prosperity in Pakistan.”
Last year, through the Karandaaz Women Entrepreneurship Challenge, 36 women-led small and medium businesses from across Pakistan received incubation services and 15 were selected to receive support from Karandaaz. This year the programme targeted high-potential, established women-led businesses that have an operational history of at least three years and are looking to achieve growth. Karandaaz will undertake an assessment for each of the 19 businesses and work with the women entrepreneurs to develop a growth plan.