ISLAMABAD: The US-funded Entrepreneurs Project in Pakistan spurs entrepreneurial growth among low-income communities to address a growing need for economic opportunity.
According to a press release issued by the US embassy here on Monday, this project provides skills and improves the business know-how of low-income women with home businesses. Through this project, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) provides female artisans with the skills to improve their products, access better markets, and increase their incomes.
“My income has grown manifold as a result of the training I received from USAID’s Entrepreneurs Project. Now I don’t have to think about what I will feed my children anymore. Instead, I can think about my children going to school and learning things I don’t know,” says Jamila, one of 26,000 women who will benefit from this project by 2014.
“My husband is a day laborer. His modest income does not cover the family’s basic needs. I used to embroider fabric using Sindhi and Balochi stitching and I did beadwork, but I had very few orders, and was only earning $7 a month. One day my friend told me about a training program sponsored by USAID’s Entrepreneurs Project which helped women like me earn a living. Today, I manage a team of 65 women embellishers and also help these women receive orders, collect and deliver finished products to the buyers. Now I earn more than $19 a month,” Jamila explained.
Although she has no education or experience on the formal labor market, she now supports her family by earning additional income.
Jamila, who, along with her husband and seven children, lives in the impoverished district of Karachi called Malir, registered for the USAID-sponsored training on embroidery design development to earn more money and improve her skills.
The project also trained her to represent other businesswomen to the purchasers of embellished fabric. Together, the women are able to offer large quantities of products and receive better prices.
The USAID Entrepreneurs Project will train 26,000 embellishers across Pakistan to improve their skills to increase their incomes by 2014.
US-sponsored courses teach women embellishers to identify products in high demand, to access better markets and business service providers, and to create new value-added products to attract higher profits.
The project links participant entrepreneurs to local financial institutions to access loans in order to grow their businesses.
This initiative is just one part of a comprehensive US economic assistance program which creates jobs and boosts incomes with projects that expand Pakistan’s agricultural output, build roads to facilitate trade, and offer a private equity fund to help small- and medium-size businesses grow, the release concluded.