Women Can Do (WCD-I) completed its year-long mission on 15th September 2016 as firs phase. This women entrepreneurial outreach, education, and engagement initiative of Shaoor Foundation for Education and Awareness was aimed at enhancing the women entrepreneurial ecosystem in Pakistan via meaningful trainings, mentoring, and advocacy and mobilization components. The project reached out to over 4000 women beneficiaries of twelve public universities in 9 major districts of Pakistan through women entrepreneurship capacity enhancement program in collaboration with large number of social activists, women leaders, entrepreneurs, certified trainers who inspired, motivated and trained the young Pakistani women from under-serviced and developed towns of Pakistan. WCD delivered beyond stereotypes and barriers by expanding its mission of women entrepreneurship. The WCD trainings focused on the use of ICT’s for development.
Women Can Do-II (WCD-II): Built on strong advocacy strength of WCD-I, WomenCanDo-II is a training, capacity enhancement and linkages development project focused on 12 major public women universities and 6 large-scale female religious seminaries nationwide. The project builds a unique strength of universities and seminaries by establishing low-cost, self-sustaining efficient on-campus ‘virtual incubators’ for aspiring women entrepreneurs using existing infrastructures and staff via on-campus trainings of administering staff and development of linkages through ICT4D between stakeholders. It provides initial training, mentorship and way forward to 5,000 direct female beneficiaries across 14 project districts and prepares a pool of 50 women entrepreneurs as role-models and change agents for the project institutions/districts by converting their ideas into actual market products via advanced incubation, seed-grants and angel investors.
WCD-II works with two local and one US based partner. SFEA would take lead in on-campus entrepreneurial training and capacity enhancement in universities and madrassahs, bringing stakeholders one platform and smooth execution while National Incubation Center would help develop the virtual incubators, provide mentorship to staff and advanced incubation to students. Connected with SFEA and NIC, Jamia Naeema, a leading religious seminary, would act as hub for madrassahs and ‘Doing Development’ would be providing advanced mentorship to selected beneficiaries and connecting 50 best start up ideas from universities/madrassahs with US based established and aspiring entrepreneurs. This would be first ever linkage of its kind between public women universities, madrassahs and US’ entrepreneurs, strengthening people to people ties between Pakistan and the US through entrepreneurship.
Built upon learnings and connections/networks of WCD-I, “WomenCanDo-II (WCD-II) plans to enhance the entrepreneurial capacity of women at public women universities and religious seminaries in underserviced (mostly) districts of Pakistan via meaningful trainings, mentorship, linkages between stakeholders, exposure and establishment of virtual incubators using ICT4D; and multiply the impact and reach of existing incubators/accelerators thereby developing sustainable and low-cost model for the said institutions and increase more spaces for women in Pakistan.
- To create sustainable on-campus virtual incubators/accelerators at public women universities and seminaries by connecting and providing mentorship through National Incubation Center and other private/govt. incubators via ICT4D so that impact of existing incubation facilities could be multiplied at a larger level and women at universities/seminaries could learn beyond socio-cultural and economic barriers.
- To provide meaningful entrepreneurial training and mentoring to the female students at public women universities and religious seminaries in order to make them successful entrepreneurs and efficient job hunters/creators and contribute towards the economy positively.
- To provide exposure, training, mentoring to the administering staff of virtual incubators and advanced incubation to the selected bright aspiring entrepreneurs from public women universities and seminaries (especially from far-flung districts) at National Incubation Center, Islamabad to, convert their business ideas into successful start-ups and eventually create role models and change agents for women universities/seminaries.
- To connect aspiring women entrepreneurs with established and aspiring entrepreneurs in the United States, through Doing Development, an American Organization committed to transfer technology applications to the developing world, thereby increasing the cooperation and networking between Pakistani and US entrepreneurs.
- To form better alliances between private and public women sector and relevant stakeholders such as private incubators, First Women Bank, SMEDA, TDAP, WCCIs, etc. for improved entrepreneurial ecosystem in Pakistan, especially in favour of women.
Area(s) of Focus of phase: 12 Women Universities and 6 Large Religious Seminaries.
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The first phase of WCD was more than a success story, it touched and changed lives of women who needed it the most throughout the country. Now in the 2nd phase, WCD wants to take the mandate further and add more innovative project components. Stay tuned for more updates.