International Women’s Day 2021 – Celebrating Shell Tameer Female Entrepreneurs

Marked annually on March 8th, International Women's Day (IWD) is a global event to promote gender equality and celebrate the social, political, economic or cultural achievements of women across the globe.

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day was “Choose to Challenge”, Shell Tameer proudly celebrated its female entrepreneurs by developing a video to highlight three rising stars within the cohort which was featured across local and global LiveWIRE platforms.

Ramla Kaleem – CEO, Aqua Agro

Ramla is a young engineer providing Internet of Things (IoT)-based smart farming solutions that enable farmers to monitor their crops with the help of sensors (light, humidity, temperature, soil moisture, etc.). This automation of the agri-system results in increased profitability and resource optimisation, saving input costs for farmers (water, seeds, pesticides, etc.).

In 2020, Aqua Agro won the Shell LiveWIRE Top Ten Innovators Award in Environment & Circular Economy category, it is a global competition that highlights and rewards LiveWIRE businesses from across the globe that demonstrate excellence in innovation.

Madiha Hassan – Founder, Pankh

Madiha’s company Pankh (meaning “a pair of wings” in Urdu) offers women subsidised motorcycle- and bike-riding training sessions to improve their mobility and address the challenges faced by women in urban spaces.

Mehwish – Founder, Mahi Stitching Centre

Based in a socially challenged community for women in the suburbs of Karachi, Mehwish is a young single mother and beneficiary of Shell Tameer’s Build the Future programme, aimed at developing skilled entrepreneurs through enterprise generation trainings and grants.

Through Shell Tameer’s business grant, she started a small boutique based out of her home to empower more women in her community through sewing and stitching trainings.

Take a minute to watch this short video of these inspiring women who choose to challenge social and economic barriers and seek to make change in their local communities!

Nurturing Female Entrepreneurs In Grass-Root Communities

According to United Nation’s Status Report 2018, rural women in Pakistan comprise approximately half of the total population of country. Most women live in rural areas, mainly engaged in the agriculture sector as mostly unpaid contributing family workers or on low wages, with scant attention paid to their property rights, economic or social rights.

In a socially challenged environment the opportunities for skills training and advancement are reduced.

To help create opportunities for women in remote areas, Shell Tameer partnered with Mushtaq Ahmed Gurmani Vocational Training Institute to inculcate entrepreneurial behaviors in their skilled students through full-day Enterprise Generation workshops.

With a classroom size of nearly 50 each day, Shell Tameer worked with these skilled youth to help unlock their entrepreneurial potential and develop their skills and innovative ideas into potential businesses that can create new avenues of livelihood generation and contribute towards community development.

125 women from different skill trades offered by the institute enthusiastically participated in the programme to learn the basics of entrepreneurship, how to create business plans, networking, financial management, and access to new markets components by converting their ideas into a business opportunity.

Transforming Skills to Opportunities

Shell Pakistan in collaboration with National Rural Support Programme (NRSP) has set up a Business Center for Women in Bahawalpur. On the willingness of these women to learn how to start a business, Shell Tameer conducted an enterprise development session specially designed for women from grassroot communities.

23 skilled women from a remote community near Bahawalpur district of South Punjab attended the session, where they were taught the basics of marketing; how to price, package and place your product so that it sells. The basics of finance so that they would know how to make a profit understanding their costs and expenses and how to budget and source accordingly.

‘The trainer’s ability to make complicated concepts seem very simple. The material was very interesting, and the discussions were truly inspiring’ said one of the attendees Asia Bibi.

“Through Shell Tameer’s activity-based training, participants were able to understand the basics of business planning, choosing the right market, financial and supply chain management. We hope the learnings from the session will enable our young girls to transform their skills into a successful business”, said Ms. Erum Saleem – Project Coordinator NRSP.

Shell Tameer hopes to create more opportunities for Pakistani women through skill development to help them achieve self-reliance and economic empowerment.

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