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American University Launches Pakistan Women Entrepreneurship Program

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Zar Aslam and Sara Naseem standing next to pink rickshaws for PWEP.

American University (AU) and Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) launched the Pakistan Women Entrepreneurship Program (PWEP) at an event at LUMS in Lahore on March 25, 2015. The program is designed to increase the capacity of female entrepreneurs in Pakistan, as well as to create and strengthen their businesses.

PWEP is a flagship program of American University’s School of International Service (SIS), which is a co-sponsor of the U.S.-Pakistan Women’s Council, a public-private partnership between the U.S. State Department and AU. PWEP reflects the Council’s mission to increase economic opportunities for women and focuses on promoting entrepreneurship, employment, and education in Pakistan.

Through the support of the U.S. Department of State via the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, faculty from SIS and LUMS will work together to create a certificate course in entrepreneurship for potential female entrepreneurs in Pakistan. The course will be piloted at LUMS, one of the largest and most important universities in Pakistan, later this year. Mentors, networking opportunities, and leadership training will also be provided to help sharpen the women’s business leadership skills, build their confidence, and ensure their success.

Speaking at the event, U.S. Consul General Zachary Harkenrider congratulated AU and LUMS on the launch and timeliness of this project.

“The entrepreneurship program is being launched at a critical and challenging time for Pakistan’s economic development,” said Harkenrider. “The World Bank and many studies demonstrate that income in the hands of women is an economic development multiplier -- helping women succeed in business empowers them, their families, their communities and their countries. Helping women to transform their micro or small businesses into medium and larger enterprises -- as this program will do -- has an even wider ripple effect, as more jobs, higher incomes and more vibrant consumer markets are created.”

Harkenrider also congratulated the women entrepreneurs who will benefit from the project on behalf of the U.S. Consulate in Lahore, the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, the U.S. State Department, and the U.S.-Pakistan Women’s Council at AU.

Learn more about the U.S.-Pakistan Women’s Council at SIS:

Learn more about efforts to support Pakistan's female entrepreneurs:

Bodley-Bond is the project manager of PWEP.