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COVID-19 Crisis: Encourage differently-abled girl entrepreneurs

KARACHI: Today (27th of June, 2020) UN is observing Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Day, (MSMEDay) celebrating their invaluable contributions! This year, the theme is COVID-19: The Great Lockdown and its impact on Small Business.

MSM Day

AlishbaAlishba 2Alishba 3KARACHI: Through the COVID-19 crisis small businesses need to be supported. We must encourage differently-abled young girl entrepreneurs to start up with new ideas to become economically independent. On MSMEDay this scribe is content that Alishba, a differently-abled young social entrepreneur, is successfully running her own digital art studio MashAllah! Her Message to all the girls is: “Stay strong and endeavor to become economically independent!” 

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It is the need of the hour to provide  proper training in term of technology, basic education, planning and execution of business to small business holders, specially women. It is obvious that women who are running small businesses from homes are facing difficulties in reaching the market. As a result they end up getting peanuts while sans toiling middlemen pocket the lion’s share.

One other big challenge of female entrepreneurs is to get funding. They have no knowledge in this regard. They have no support from family, community and society. They have fear of failure. Business environment is not encouraging for them as they face gender discrimination. Then striking a balance between work and personal life is another big issue for them.

UN maintains that small businesses provide jobs and livelihoods for many and are key economic actors, their success is essential to mitigating the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to UN: “These types of enterprises are responsible for significant employment and income generation opportunities across the world and have been identified as a major driver of poverty alleviation and development.

“MSMEs tend to employ a larger share of the vulnerable sectors of the workforce, such as women, youth, and people from poorer households – populations with high vulnerability in times of COVID-19. MSMEs can sometimes be the only source of employment in rural areas. As such, MSMEs as a group are the main income provider for income distribution at the “base of the pyramid”.

UN noted that: “600 million jobs will be needed by 2030 to absorb the growing global workforce, which makes SME development a high priority for many governments around the world. In emerging markets, most formal jobs are generated by SMEs, which create 7 out of 10 jobs.”

ILO holds: “There is broad agreement that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are vital to achieving decent and productive employment as they globally account for two-thirds of all jobs and also create the majority of new jobs.

“Therefore, the promotion of SMEs has been a key area of intervention for the ILO. Its advisory services on SME policies are in high demand among ILO member countries.

“The ILO provides added value because of its focus on both the quantitative and qualitative aspects of employment creation and the fact that it serves constituents that provide a large potential outreach.

“The COVID 19 pandemic will have a strong effect on labour markets worldwide. Especially in developing economies, where more than 70% of the workforce is in self-employment or works in micro, and small enterprises.

“Most MSMEs in developing countries, the smallest often run by women, operate in saturated sectors in the informal economy and most lack social protection.

“MSMEs will therefore be the first to suffer devastating consequences of the economic downturn. Re-starting the economy and creating jobs will be key once the immediate health crisis is over.”

Message from ILO’s Director-General Guy Ryder for International MSME Day 2020:

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M M Alam

M. M. Alam is a Pakistan-based working journalist since 1981. Karachi University faculty gold medalist Alam began his career four decades ago by writing for Dawn, Pakistan’s highest circulating English daily. He has worked for region’s leading publications, global aviation periodicals including Rotors (of USA) and vetted New York Times as permanent employee of daily Express Tribune. Alam regularly covers international aviation and defense-related events including Salon Du Bourget (France), Farnborough (United Kingdom), Dubai (UAE). Alam has reported thousands of events and interviewed hundreds of people in Pakistan, UAE, EU, UK and USA. Being Francophone Alam also coordinates with a number of French publications.