Remarks at the Launch of Pakistan Women Entrepreneurship Program (PWEP)

Dr. Sohail Naqvi, Vice Chancellor of the Lahore University of Management Sciences; Dr. Ehsan-ul-Haq, Dean of the Suleman Dawood School of Business; Saulat Salahuddin, Managing Partner of Pronto Promo Private Limited; Ayesha Ahmad Mansoor, CEO of Mausummery Textiles Pakistan Limited; Dr. Misbah Tanveer, Project Director for the American University – LUMS partnership program for women entrepreneurs;

Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished students and faculty of the Lahore University of Management Sciences– good afternoon and Asalaam-u-Alaikum

It is an honor for me to join with you today in launching the Pakistan Women Entrepreneurship Program—a partnership between American University in Washington D.C. and the Lahore University of Management Sciences

This program is supported by a grant provided by the Department of State through the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad.  It is also a flagship program of American University’s School of International Service, which is a cosponsor of the U.S.-Pakistan Women’s Council, a public-private partnership led by the Department of State and American University.

The entrepreneurship program reflects the U.S.-Pakistan Women’s Council’s critical mission:  to increase women’s economic participation in Pakistan through entrepreneurship, employment, and higher education.   And like The Pakistan Women Entrepreneurship Program, the Council’s focus is on high potential women entering Pakistan’s rising middle class.  As a world class business school, LUMS is known for enabling women and men to attend and succeed.  LUMS has also established an entrepreneurship center, so American University could not have found a more fitting partner for this important work.

What we are announcing today is an entrepreneurship certificate program that will help women address barriers they face in launching and scaling businesses in a practical and integrated fashion.  Mentors, networking opportunities and leadership training will help sharpen women business leaders’ skills, build their confidence, and ensure their success.

The entrepreneurship program is being launched at a critical and challenging time for Pakistan’s economic development.  World Bank and many other studies demonstrate that income in the hands of women is an economic development multiplier –helping women succeed in business empowers them, their families, their communities and their countries.   Helping women transform their micro or small businesses into medium and larger enterprises — as this program will do – has an even wider ripple effect, as more jobs, higher incomes and more vibrant consumer markets are created.

This entrepreneurship program is an example of the broad-based and enduring partnership that exists between the United States and Pakistan, not only between our governments, but between our institutions, our prestigious universities, and the people of our two countries.  This program will foster lasting people-to-people ties by engaging American University’s School of International Service and LUMS faculty and staff in exchanges of information, experiences, and expertise relevant to expanding women’s entrepreneurship in Pakistan.

On behalf of the U.S. Consulate General in Lahore, Embassy Islamabad, the State Department, and the U.S. –Pakistan Women’s Council, I congratulate American University, LUMS and, most importantly, the women entrepreneurs who will benefit from this program and lift themselves and their communities towards greater prosperity.  Thank you.