Exhibition: Women entrepreneurs get creative with traditional crafts

Products including home textile ranges, jewellery, marble mosaics on display.


Maha Mussadaq June 07, 2014
Women entrepreneurs showcase traditional hand-made products at the exhibition. PHOTO: NNI

ISLAMABAD:


A range of creative products by women entrepreneurs are on display at an exhibition inaugurated on Saturday at Serena Hotel.


Some two dozen women entrepreneurs have showcased creative products for decorative and everyday use at the exhibition. These include clothes, home textile ranges, jewellery, marble mosaics, inlay products and handicrafts. The exhibition will conclude on Sunday.

The exhibition “Women in the Creative Industry,” has been organised by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and the Women Entrepreneurship Development (WED) Programme.

UNIDO-WED National Programme Coordinator Dr Shahina Waheed said the initiative aimed to support women in tackling challenges while pursuing their own business. “While trainings to encourage more women to establish their own businesses have been successful, it is essential to expand the initiative.”

UNIDO has been trying to get the Ministry of Industries and Trade on board while looking for support from the government to establish a facilitation centre for women entrepreneurs.

Interventions by business growth centres have helped women learn innovative steps for business development. “Women know how to make their products, but selling them is a challenge,” she said.

Waheed explained that establishing marketing linkages are key for a successful business, which women find difficult to do on their own. Exhibitions and expos all over the country provide an opportunity to women to develop a clientele and marketing skills.

Amongst other challenges, she said women while being sole proprietors or partners struggle at the production stage. “They have to carry out all or most of the tasks themselves, which slows down the process and at the same time adds to the cost.”

“If they need dyers, printers or other auxiliary services, the facilities will be made available free-of-cost under one roof, reducing production costs and time for women entrepreneurs,” explained Waheed. The facilitation centre will also create employment opportunities for women.

“Women need to have a strategic understanding of production. These kinds of initiatives are great for capacity-building and help women develop linkages with national and international markets and forge partnerships with value chain operators,” said Waheed.

Aspiring women entrepreneurs have been a part of numerous trainings by UNIDO’s international experts and local master trainers. UNIDO-WED programme interventions specifically focus on promoting gender integration in creative, non-traditional sub-sectors.

A UNIDO official told The Express Tribune that most of the participants had already undergone advanced-level training. Coming from modest backgrounds, they took courses to improve their communication skills and smart marketing techniques such as using social media for marketing.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 8th, 2014.

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