Facebook on Tuesday launched its #SheMeansBusiness program with the Universal Service Fund (USF) and the Punjab IT Board (PITB) in Lahore.
The aim of the program is to help women entrepreneurs with knowledge, connections, skills and technology required to build and grow their businesses online.
The aim is 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.
#SheMeansBusiness begun internationally on International Women’s Day in 2016 and has so far 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, Asia Pacific.
“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.”
43% of the active small businesses Pages on Facebook are owned by women, with this percentage growing to more than 21% in 2017, and by more than 94% year-on-year since 2015. This growth is a catalyst for establishing new partnerships in countries such as Pakistan where there is a fresh focus on digital inclusion and empowering women.
In a survey carried out by the World Bank and OECD, it was found that businesses run by women are more likely to leverage online tools to drive success than those run by men and that higher rates of entrepreneurialism are found among women than in men in less developed markets.
Speaking at the #SheMeansBusiness launch in Islamabad, CFO of USF, Harris M Chaudhary said:
“#SheMeansBusiness is a great initiative and an excellent opportunity for USF ICT for Girls Program, and using a ‘train the trainer’ approach enables the female student beneficiaries to learn the tools and techniques for running their own businesses. The training involves important topics like Digital Safety which creates awareness on issues like protecting identity theft and using the internet responsibly and safely.”
The program runs for the rest of this year that kicked-off in Islamabad on 13 September and in Lahore on 14th September 2018. We are excited to see what it has in hold for the female entrepreneurs of Pakistan. More power to women!