Face­book ex­pands #SheMean­sBusi­ness pro­gram to help women in Pak­istan

Daily Messenger - - Biz -

KARACHI: Face­book to­day launched its #SheMean­sBusi­ness pro­gram with the Universal Ser­vice Fund (USF) in Is­lam­abad and the Pun­jab IT Board (PITB) in La­hore. The pro­gram helps equip women en­trepreneurs with the knowl­edge, con­nec­tions, skills and tech­nol­ogy re­quired to build and grow their busi­nesses on­line.

Aligned with Dig­i­tal Pak­istan's mis­sion, Face­book's #SheMean­sBusi­ness part­ner­ship with USF and PITB aims to reach 20,000 women across Pak­istan over the next three years, de­liv­er­ing dig­i­tal skills train­ing with a fo­cus on small business de­vel­op­ment and on­line safety. The PITB part­ner­ship in­cludes a three month dig­i­tal lit­er­acy pro­gram of­fered as part of PITB's 'Her­self' ini­tia­tive.

Since its be­gin­nings on In­ter­na­tion­alWomen’s Day in 2016, #SheMean­sBusi­ness has estab­lished an ac­tive pres­ence in 21 coun­tries, in­clud­ing Pak­istan, and has trained more than 42,000 women en­trepreneurs.

“When women do bet­ter, we all ben­e­fit. More women are em­ployed, more role mod­els are cre­ated, and there is stronger di­ver­sity,” says Clair Deevy, Di­rec­tor of Com­mu­nity Af­fairs, APAC. “Women are do­ing amaz­ing things on Face­book around the world with the sup­port and en­cour­age­ment of the #SheMean­sBusi­ness com­mu­nity. Our part­ner­ships in Pak­istan with USF and PITB will hope­fully help in­spire and em­power more Pak­istani women to start and grow a business.”

Glob­ally, 43% of the ac­tive small busi­nesses Pages on Face­book are owned by women, with this per­cent­age grow­ing by more than 21% in 2017, and by more than 94% year-on-year since 2015. This growth is a cat­a­lyst to es­tab­lish­ing new part­ner­ships in coun­tries such as Pak­istan where there is a fresh fo­cus on dig­i­tal in­clu­sion and em­pow­er­ing women.

The dif­fer­ence the pro­gram can make is sup­ported by Face­book’s Fu­ture of Business sur­vey. Car­ried out with theWorld Bank and OECD, the sur­vey found that busi­nesses run by women are more likely than those run by men to lever­age on­line tools to drive suc­cess and that higher rates of en­trepreneuri­al­ism are found among women in less de­vel­oped mar­kets. Women in these economies are driven to pur­sue en­tre­pre­neur­ial paths to pro­vide for their fam­i­lies, gen­er­ally through ba­sic types of con­sumer-fo­cused prod­ucts and ser­vices busi­nesses. By do­ing so, they can be­come a real en­gine for their local economies.

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