With the rampant rise in E-commerce and explosion of mobile commerce, the economic playing field for women in Pakistan is changing rapidly and has a positive transformative impact on women entrepreneurs. Not challenging the culture barriers that sometimes require women to stay at home, e-commerce offers women in Pakistan the liberty to work from the comfort of their homes while expanding their online businesses and earning a livelihood.
According to data from UN Women, currently only 45 per cent of women worldwide have access to the internet, while most mobile phones are in the hands of men. Moreover, women represent less than 10 percent of the people who work on the design and prototyping of tech products, reveals UNESCO.
Lack of trusted e-commerce stores, reliable postal services, as well as barriers to obtaining a digital payment-enabled bank account, are among the top reasons why there is still a lag in Pakistan and people are not buying into global e-commerce.
The rapidly increasing e-commerce market shows an opportunity to increase economic growth of women in Pakistan. The SARs CoV pandemic may be a major reason for increase in demand for online shopping. According to a report by International Finance Corporation, e-commerce in Southeast Asia tripled in size between 2015 and 2020. However it is noted that these women still require support in the form of mentorship, training, business support and platform.
Keeping this in mind, Mahe Zera Husain, CEO of FiveRivers Technologies has created an e-commerce portal “PakistanCreates” https://pakistancreates.com/ specifically for the women in Pakistan. This is a free online marketplace where women artisans and entrepreneurs from Pakistan can register and develop their e-shop free of cost. There will be no commission on sales, no sign-up cost and no subscription fee. It truly is free of cost, no strings attached. The vision behind “PakistanCreates” was to have a global e-store where startups and talented individuals can showcase their Made in Pakistan products for sale. It has incorporated online payment methods to facilitate businesses as well. Sellers can choose to integrate with the payment partner PayFast or avail other options like COD.
“Women in Pakistan are an incredible asset for the nation but unfortunately we are not adding enough women to the workforce. Be it working in offices or working from home we really need to add more women to the economy. That is the only way for the country to grow. Through “PakistanCreates” we aim to target creative people who have skill but no platform to sell on. Not everyone can create their own website and store and then manage all technical aspects of running an online business. We are here to help! We will train, facilitate and help as many creative businesses with Made in Pakistan products as possible. For our buyers we offer curated sellers – sellers that have gone through a quality assurance cycle to ensure there is no fraudulent seller on our platform.” shared Ms. Husain.
Starting a new business or venture can be extremely daunting and there can be a possibility of failure but beyond the risk always lies the opportunity for success and growth. The launch of “PakistanCreates” has opened up new avenues and opportunities for the women in Pakistan, giving them much needed direction and support. Such initiatives will definitely improve the social ranking of women in Pakistan and encourage them to start their businesses from the comfort of their homes and pursue their passion and dreams as well as empower them.