Kaiyan Yousaf, Senior Manager Knowledge Management, Karandaaz Pakistan, spoke about the importance of supporting women-owned enterprises and startups at the Women Entrepreneurship Conference – WECON ’17 – held at the HEC Auditorium, Islamabad. He introduced the concept behind the second round of the Innovation Challenge Fund (ICF) that will focus on women’s entrepreneurship and is funded by the Department of International Development (DFID) UK.
WECON ‘17 brought together a veritable who’s who from Pakistan’s entrepreneurship landscape to not only celebrate our iconic women entrepreneurs but also hold in-depth discussions with ecosystem builders, incubators, accelerators and Government bodies as well as fresh startups on the challenges, opportunities and way forward to build a stable, scalable and sustainable ecosystem that helps women-led businesses succeed in our particular environment.
Karandaaz Pakistan launched the first round of the Innovation Challenge Fund in 2016 which focused on improving the current mechanism of foreign remittances from Pakistani workers employed in different parts of the world. Some of the crucial aspects that the ICF focused on improving included the outreach (specifically rural), speed, security, cost, ease of use and increased awareness.
Karandaaz Pakistan, a not-for-profit company registered under SECP in August 2014, promotes access to finance for small businesses through a commercially directed investment platform, and financial inclusion for individuals by employing technology enabled digital solutions. The Company has financial and institutional support from leading international development finance institutions; principally the United Kingdom Department for International Development (UKAid) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.