— Annual Conference

WECON'17: Empowering Female Entrepreneurs and Building a Stronger Ecosystem

The Women Entrepreneurship Conference (WECON’17), which took place on March 11, 2017, at the esteemed HEC Auditorium in Islamabad, Pakistan brought together an outstanding gathering of influential members of Pakistan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. This conference, organised by the WECON Movement, intended to honour the accomplishments of iconic female entrepreneurs while facilitating discussions on bolstering the ecosystem for entrepreneurship through collaboration and practical initiatives.

Panel Session 1: Create

The first session of WECON’17, entitled “Create,” centred on the creation of a sustainable and stable entrepreneurial ecosystem. The session was moderated by Ms Shahnaz Kapadia Rahat, the founder of Mera Maan. Among the distinguished panellists were Mr Yusuf Hussain (CEO, ICT R&D Fund), Dr Arshad Ali (Executive Director HEC), Ms Khalida Habib (Director/HOD SECP), and Ms Naima Ansari (Vice President FPCCI).

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Panel Session 2: Cultivate

The second session, titled “Cultivate,” centred on addressing obstacles, investigating opportunities, and exchanging success tales in women’s entrepreneurship. Ms Rida Shoaib (Project Manager, Herself), Ms Maria Umer (Founder, Women Digital League/Women X), Ms Shahina Waheed (Programme Manager, UNIDO), Mr Tauseef Zaman (ICCI), and Ms Shehab Niazi (Entrepreneur, Mentor WeCreate, Pakistan) were among the panellists.

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Panel Session 3: Celebrate

The third session, “Celebrate,” highlighted the inspiring success tales of influential female entrepreneurs. Panellists included Ms Manzil e Maqsood (Founder and CEO, Oxbridge Innovative Solutions), Ms Nigar Nazar (CEO, Gogi Studios), Ms Sihah Waris (Founder & CEO, Rise Mom), and Ms Shahnaz Kapadia Rahat (Founder, Mera Maan), who were moderated by Ms Maryam Arshad, Community Manager at N I C.

Key Points/Challenges/Recommendations

WECON’17 was successful in bringing together experts, entrepreneurs, and key stakeholders in Pakistan to exchange ideas and encourage women entrepreneurs. The panel discussions emphasised the importance of an enabling environment, access to resources, supportive regulations, and collaborations in order to overcome obstacles and promote the development of female-led enterprises. Celebrating the achievements of female entrepreneurs served as evidence of their potential and encouraged other individuals to follow in their footsteps.