“Developing countries fail to maximize their most valuable resource – their people – when they disenfranchise half of the population from political and economic life, losing much creative and intellectual capacity needed for democratic and economic development….” Sandra E. Taylor
Despite many barriers to women entrepreneurs in Pakistan, women run and operated businesses are hugely important in Pakistan’s economy — and with greater empowerment they could strengthen it even further.
Most Pakistani women entrepreneurs are SME and micro business owners working in sectors such as homemade textile, furniture, food items, fashion design, and jewelry where branding, trademarks, and intellectual property can make a big difference. To advocate the importance of intellectual property rights (IPRs) among women chambers and women entrepreneurs as an important part of business development, CIPE partnered with the Intellectual Property Organization of Pakistan to organize a workshop on this subject in Lahore for women entrepreneurs.
The topic of the workshop was “Developing a Link between Branding and Trademarks and on Understanding Utility of Industrial Design.” Nearly 150 active women entrepreneurs from various cities of Punjab and Baluchistan enthusiastically participated. At the outset of the event, CIPE Pakistan Country Director Moin Fudda spoke about CIPE programs and their successful initiatives especially in the area of policy advocacy for digital IPR, women’s entrepreneurship, and women’s empowerment.
Hameed Ullah Jan Afridi, Chairman of IPO Pakistan, and Sajjad Ahmed, Director General of IPO Pakistan, shared opening remarks for IPO Pakistan and Women Entrepreneurs and Justice Nasira Javed Iqbal delivered a keynote address on the importance of IPR. IPO Pakistan appreciated the efforts of CIPE in promoting intellectual property rights among women entrepreneurs of Punjab.
Attendees got a chance to interact with fellow entrepreneurs and exchanged success stories. They learned the concepts of IP rights, protection of IPR, trademarks, service marks, patents, branding, the impact of piracy, and business promotion. They also received guidance on resolving their IP issues during the consultation sessions, which were run through brand managers and lawyers. An instant achievement of this awareness workshop was that the bulk of the women entrepreneurs were very keen to register their IP rights and receive protection of their innovations.
Emad Sohail is Program Officer for CIPE Pakistan.