I and my entire friends circle were very fond of partying and loved to try new eateries. Sometimes, we just looked for some reasons to cherish fabulous homemade food like birthdays, job promotions, various kinds of successes of our kids and all. One day, we were partying at a friend’s house whose cooking was terrific, with the specialty in desserts. We advised her to open a food spot of her own for her unique desserts. She got flattered but seemed confused. Finally, she opened up.
“Many times, I thought of it, but did not know where to start from?” She said and we all jumped into the discussion. Finally, we concluded that for ambitious Pakistani Women Entrepreneurs, we needed the basic supporting infra-structure.
HOW, WHERE & HOW were the significant questions for a person like Aleena when she came across a business idea. She didn’t know who to consult for basic small business education or training. There were some names online, but who to rely was a big question mark. Government institute like SMEDA, TEVTA, offered something, but “Are they reliable and good enough?” was the question sowed the seed of confusion and worry in our minds.
“Sometimes, I apprehend as what if someone steals my recipe once I enter the market?” was her other concern. She seemed right, she needed business protection. I could imagine putting myself into her shoes. Who would provide this protection? Only the LAW. So, where could we get the legal security? And, definitely, we wanted it in black and white. We couldn’t suggest her any reliable names that took care of her legal affairs and arranged for the legal documentation of her business venture. If there were some service providers for the purpose, the major issue was again the same, “Who to trust with our business matters”.
“I know someone”, blurted out one of the friends on the spot, “Actually, I had a personal experience with them. They did not cater me professionally as a client. They set meetings with me but never followed the meeting timings. They promised for so many services as NTN, advertising, online promotion and so on, but even after payment and reminding them again and again, they provided only a few, the faulty ones. Ultimately, I dropped the idea.”
Apart from it, there were many more issues as packing material, serving size, pricing, etc. Aleena wanted to survey if there were some actual clients for her product in the market? If yes, WHO to access immediately and HOW?
Another discussion point led us to another question, “Where to start her business from?” Were there any exhibitions and business promotion places? If there were any, were they safe enough for a woman entrepreneur to conduct her business?
“I can handle the production, but I need marketers or distributors to buy my product and market it on their own.” Aleena was pensive.
“Yeah…” We all agreed. Social media marketing was another challenge.
“Did you hear about WBIC, a USAID project conducted by SMEDA? They provide all these services,” a voice pops up.
“Unfortunately, WBIC is no more.” Someone informed us sadly.
“Hmmm…So, we need professional business consultancies to train Pakistani woman entrepreneur on how to set up her business, who may help her get the legal documentation and protection, who aids her access her all potential clients, who can direct her to the market plans to promote her business, who may get her to packing and logistics, and, above all, who devices a system where women entrepreneurs are paid for their services without any delay and scam.” I concluded.
They all smiled in approval.