The Power Women program, an initiative by the Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) Technology Accelerator PlanX is aimed towards increasing the female entrepreneurial activity in Pakistan, by engaging women in a number of capacity building trainings, and assistance programs. The accelerator expresses that in its two years of being operational, only 4% of the startups have been female led, an unwelcoming statistic considering that a majority of Pakistan’s population comprises of females, while the female labor force participation stands at a discouraging 28%.
In an effort to bring women to the forefront of the entrepreneurial spectra in Pakistan, PlanX in a press release on 7th October stated that “With this in mind, we designed the PlanX Power Women initiative, to inspire, connect, and support Pakistan’s women in the process of leading the next wave of innovation and entrepreneurship in our country.”
The accelerator plans on engaging women studying in Pakistan’s top-tier universities with hackathons, training, and academic partnerships aimed at increasing female participation in the workforce, and to encourage female students into becoming entrepreneurs. The PlanX team aims to do so through a series of seminars in universities targeted particularly at engaging women.
Read more: Technology as a Learning Tool
In addition to this, PlanX intends to actively pursue female founded startups for its acceleration program. These startups will be given a chance to join PlanX in their pre-acceleration cycle for 3 months of training, and mentoring. Alternatively, they can also apply for PlanX’s Acceleration Program, which is a 6-month cycle that includes all of their facilities.
Director PlanX Hafsa Shorish at the launch of the Power Women program expressed that “we as a team at PlanX have a great gender balance and that promotes a healthy working environment. Through this initiative I’d like to encourage more female contribution in the work force.”
Female entrepreneurship in Pakistan has stepped leaps and bounds over recent years with entrepreneurs like Fiza Farhan, co-founder of Buksh Foundation being listed in Forbes 30 Under 30 social entrepreneurs. Last year, Shiza Shahid, co-founder of the Malala Fund, and Khalida Brohi, founder of Sughar (NPO), were named in the very same list.
This comes in addition to the United States and Pakistan signing an action plan on women’s entrepreneurship and economic empowerment during a major business conference earlier in June 2016.