Triumphant women-led businesses at trade exhibition in Pakistan

6 March 2024
ITC News

Women entrepreneurs are being brought to the forefront through Growth for Rural Advancement and Sustainable Progress (GRASP) programme.

When Zahida Jiskani, from Sindh province of Pakistan, participated in the latest edition of Women Entrepreneurs Network (WEXNET), little did she expect that she would completely sell-out her banana chips.

She was thrilled at the response from buyers across the country.

Eager to showcase their products, more than 900 female exhibitors from rural areas of Pakistan, connected with potential clients and achieved significant sales transactions at the exhibition.

Asia Tariq’s sheep wool handbags, rugs, and wall hangings were an instant hit with Middle Eastern buyers, and were out-of-stock by the second day.

Rozina was able to sell 95% of her value-added dairy products and Shaheen Ejaz secured a promising agreement to supply Sebu thorns, an ingredient that she uses in a herbal cosmetics line.

Organized by the Trade Development Authority (TDAP), WEXNET is Pakistan’s largest women-exclusive exhibition and provides women entrepreneurs with a unique opportunity to showcase their products, develop market linkages, build mutually beneficial collaborations, and share their experiences, all under one roof.

The Growth for Rural Advancement and Sustainable Progress (GRASP) project funded by the European Union (EU) provided valuable support to the entrepreneurs in logistics management, transportation, and on-site strategic advice ensuring an effectual participation. It also facilitated connections between the small businesses and the International Trade Centre’s (ITC) platforms, offering guidance on online business registration, website development, product branding, and integration with financial platforms.

Women entrepreneurs from remote districts of Balochistan overcame logistical challenges with project support and made it to the expo with their products.

The enterprising women were not only able to exhibit products developed within the GRASP value chain, but also forge vital connections and secure sales that would shape the future of their businesses and families.

Increased competence with business registration processes was also instrumental in expanding their online presence and service offerings.

Connections with national-level platforms, enabled them to present and sell their products to a growing customer base that included both new and returning clients.


About the GRASP Project

The Growth for Rural Advancement and Sustainable Progress (GRASP) programme contributes to the reduction of poverty through development of rural SMEs in the Sindh and Balochistan provinces of Pakistan. As such the programme contributes directly to the attainment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The project is funded by the EU and implemented by the ITC.

GRASP is creating gender inclusive employment and income opportunities in the rural areas through targeted support to both the public and private sectors.

ITC SheTrades plays a pivotal role through collaboration with the provincial teams and gender advisors, crafting a comprehensive gender mainstreaming strategy for the project that spans all project outputs and supporting the work with partner organizations, policymakers, and women entrepreneurs on different levels.

For more information about the project, click here.