ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – The U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Richard G. Olson inaugurated a center for Pakistani businesswomen as part of the U.S. commitment to advance gender equality through entrepreneurship in Pakistan.
The Women’s Entrepreneurial Center of Resource, Education, Access, and Training for Economic Development (WECREATE) inaugurated in Pakistan’s capital of Islamabad on Feb. 13 will provide training, support and mentorship for women entrepreneurs in Pakistan, according to a statement issued by the U.S. Embassy.
“This center has enormous potential. It will help women overcome some of the barriers they encounter in Pakistan,” Ambassador Olson said. “It will maximize public-private partnerships to increase women’s participation in the economy and implement community-based programs to spur economic growth and innovation.
According to a study conducted by The British Journal of Education, Society & Behavioral Science in 2012 in four major Pakistani cities – Faisalabad, Multan, Sargodha and Sialkot – indicated that women entrepreneurs were facing serious troubles.
The study revealed that factors like “lack of finance, restriction on mobility, limited decision making, lack of role models and guiders, men’s hold on markets, family pressure and discrimination” are major barriers in the way of entrepreneurialism.
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.
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.
WECREATE Centers are currently in development in Zambia, Kenya, Cambodia, and Vietnam, with other Centers expected in the future.