3.5% of 3.2 million enterprises in Pakistan are owned by women, which makes around 112000 enterprises, that are currently run by women in Pakistan. The paradox of Pakistan’s incubation culture is that, in a country where women already have an issue of mobility, there are hardly any women-centric incubators, and co-working spaces. This seclusion of women has deprived Pakistan of many of the benefits that come with having more women-owned enterprises, for example, a study conducted by SCORE USA concluded that women were two times more likely to open an enterprise in healthcare and education as compared to men. Taking into account our context and reality, it is evident that not only will employment increase in Pakistan by promoting women-owned enterprises, but it can also use these startups to address some of the developmental problems that we currently face.
An example of one such enterprise making a tremendous dent in the social impact space is Sehat Kahani, a telehealth platform that connects stay-at-home, out-of-workforce female doctors to under-served patients in low and middle-income markets, thus providing access to quality healthcare. The uniqueness in Sehat Kahani’s intervention stems from is it’s women-centric approach, as the problem being solved by the enterprise is disproportionately faced by women, whereas the solution being provided is gender neutral. There are a lot of problems like the one Sehat Kahani is addressing, which disproportionately impact women, whereas their solutions have the ability to uplift entire communities. Given that, a women-centric incubator is the need of the hour, so we not only promote a more gender-balanced workforce through women-owned and operated businesses but also take advantage of this opportunity to solve some of Pakistan’s most pressing developmental problems.
This is one of the key reasons that the Punjab Commission on the Status of Women(PCSW) launched its new initiative, the Women Innovation Network(WIN). WIN seeks to set up a network of premier women-centric incubators across Punjab in line with the aspiring vision of the Punjab Government and a part of Punjab Growth Strategy 2018. The facilities that would be included in these incubators would be the following:
3.Access to Finance
4.Child Care Centre
5.Business Support Services
6.Purpose-built co-working space
The target audience for this initiative are mainly women-owned start-ups and entrepreneurs looking for growth and aspiring women entrepreneurs that are looking to jump-start their Idea.