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Access to finance for women entrepreneurs.

KARACHI, March 11, 2012 (Balochistan Times): The INSEAD Alumni Association of Pakistan and the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi, jointly arranged a roundtable discussion on Access to Finance for Women Entrepreneurs. The moot was hosted by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) at a local hotel, an IBA official said on Saturday. Ms. Uloma lke, IFCs specialist on Women in Business: Access to Finance in the MENA region, moderated the discussion. The IFC Bank Advisory Services works with commercial banks to build capacity to provide SMEs, including women owned businesses, access to finance and other banking services. IFC also works with institutions to develop business management skills of women entrepreneurs in the region. The objective of this roundtable discussion was to exchange views with a representative group of women entrepreneurs in order to understand their banking needs and how these are being (or not being) met. Obstacles and impediments for the growth of women owned businesses were explored. The IBA official said that it is expected that the findings of this roundtable discussion will help to formulate IFCs strategy for designing a value proposition for banks in Pakistan to actively target women owned SMEs, and to design training programmes for women entrepreneurs. Over 20 women entrepreneurs participated in the discussion. The participants included Yasmin Hyder of the New World Concepts, Nagina Farooqui (Think Tank Advertising), Laeeq Akbar (Oxygen Spa), Naila Naqvi (Pie in the Sky), Shahbano Alvi (Ushba Publishing), Amina Zaheer (Body Shop), Ayesha Gulzar (AAP), Farnaz Ahmed (Transworld Multipurpose), Nighat Mir (Indus Valley), Sameera Raja (Canvas Art Gallery), Parveen Shaikh (ECDI), Shaiyanne Malik (SamanZar), Madiha Sultan Khawaja (Lals Chocolate), Aalia Jafar (SHEEP TM), Rehana Shamsuddin (Viva Woods) and Sadia Khan (President, INSEAD Alumni Association of Pakistan and CEO, Selar Enterprise), Ms. Ike shared the findings of research that showed between 31% to 38 of SMEs globally are owned or managed by women. Women also constitute at least 40%of the global workforce. She also gave an account of some of the barriers of growth for women entrepreneurs that included, lack of data on women SMEs to support cost benefit analysis, limited access to markets and networks due to social norms as well as collateral challenges. The participants actively discussed the practical issues women are facing in terms of access to finance in Pakistan. Some of the constraints and barriers that were pointed out were the absence of credit bureaus and information on women entrepreneurs in general, and the lack of training and development for women entrepreneurs. The women also stressed the need for creating a representative body that can take forth the needs of women entrepreneurs in Pakistan. Several suggestions were made, such as the need for specific financial products that are customized to providing business solutions for women entrepreneurs. There was a clear need for the provision of business management and financial literacy skills for women entrepreneurs.

(THROUGH ASIA PULSE)
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Publication:Balochistan Times (Baluchistan Province, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Mar 11, 2012
Words:482
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