Pakistani woman entrepreneur goes digital
For Micro-, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises Day 2023, we celebrate small entrepreneurs from all over the world. Small businesses account for 90% of the world's businesses, 60 to 70% of employment, and 50% of the global economy. They contribute to local and national economies and to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Please describe your business in a few words.
My name is Shaheen Ejaz. Many years ago, I developed a skin problem. I often felt embarrassed because of the scars it was leaving on my skin. I used to research quite a bit on herbal remedies looking for a cure. That is when I decided to share my knowledge about herbal cures with other women.
My small company, MNM products, started from home here in Quetta. I started small. I began with a vision of not only creating top quality herbal skin care products but also providing opportunities for other women to make a living. I believe that man and woman, both must work to give a good standard of life to their children.
What are the challenges that you face or have faced as a small business?
Although I knew what I wanted to sell, I had no clue how to do it.
In the beginning, my sales were so little. I was lacking the right skills to sell back then. So, money was always an issue. I had to take some personal loans. Staying afloat in the early days was not easy at all.
What are your needs to improve/expand your business?
I wish to start a factory where I can continue to produce skin care products employing women to provide them with the means of making their own income. For this, I would need finance to help expand my business.
I need to re-invest my profit back into the business.
How have you found the support from ITC helpful?
My business has immensely benefitted from the e-commerce training that I and my daughter received from the European Union funded Growth for Rural Advancement and Sustainable Progress (GRASP) project in 2021.
As a result, I can independently manage issues related to online business, branding, mandatory registration requirements, promotion of products and even packaging to attract more customers.
What would you say has been your greatest success as a business so far?
My biggest success has been the increase in sales. Ever since I applied my learnings from the training to my business my sales have increased. In the past I would barely make $20 in sales. With my online business, I now make $175 in a week.
Your message to other small entrepreneurs?
My message to small entrepreneurs would be to think big even when circumstances appear dreary.
I want to say to other women like me that they should never underestimate their potential to forge ahead and achieve in life.