USAID official Agnes G Luz said Monday that Entrepreneurs' Women through Business Development project would aim at increasing income by 50 percent of 25,000 Women Embellishers across Pakistan. Chief of party USAID Entrepreneurs Women through Business Development project Agnes G Luz was talking to Business Recorder during a workshop on the subject.
She said this project would enhance capacity of WE's in business management and technical skills to adopt better selling skills in local, national and international markets. The workshop was held in connection with the findings of an extensive value chain study on the embellished fabric sub-sector in Pakistan were presented to key players for their review. The study was conducted in Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces by Entrepreneurs and its local partners.
Chief of the party said that the project would facilitate linkages of these women entrepreneurs with local financial institutions, which will be helpful in solving their problems regarding loans. Project Manager and Senior Consultant Women's Economic Development MEDA Susan K Slomback said that Pakistan is one of the leading countries producing and supplying embellished textile and garments in the national and international markets.
However, she said that despite rich embellishment heritage, the factor faces numerous challenges. Firstly, majority of the embellishers is women and they lack direct access to the market and design trends. Secondly, women are faced with other issues such as low educational attainment, lack of business experience and limited entrepreneurial resources.
CEO Trust for History Art and Architecture of Pakistan Sajida Haider Vandal and Manager Lasoona Samiullah said that assimilating the market complexities and role of different sectors in the embellished fabric value chain, USAID entrepreneurs project designed a unique business approach, which is targeted at building and strengthening skills and business capacities of women artisans, enabling them to successfully pursue entrepreneurial opportunities.
Market Expert MEDA Derald Smart said that although there are thousands of women embellishers across the country, but a very small percentage of women embellishers are linked to the market. Nonetheless, the sub sector of hand embellishment and handmade products is promising as the embellishment work is valued by consumers and there is a potential for relatively "high" returns not only in the garment industry, but also in the home accessories and gift industries.
More than fifty representatives of key players in the embellished fabrics sub-sector participated in the workshop. These include Government Support Organisations, women embellishers and female sales agents (FSAs) from Swat, Bhalwalpur, Karachi and Hyderabad; TDAP, Aurat Foundations, Kashf Foundation, designers, wholesalers, buyers, business associations, Khushali Bank Ltd; Executive District Officer (Community Development); Women Business Incubation Center; Pakistan Handicrafts; Generations; Fashion Design Emporium; PaRRSA; Homet Pakistan; Khadhi; Exporters; Wall Mart; Central and North Punjab Women Chamber of Commerce; National and International Experts in design and fashion and THAAP.