Women-owned small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Pakistan lack the capacity to engage in international markets, improve their product lines, and grow customer base. They also lack trainings tailored specifically to women business owners to help them develop business management skills
Making Cents International provided targeted technical assistance to women-owned SMEs in the garment sector to help them expand their businesses, establish linkages with export-oriented distribution chains, and access international markets.
We began by conducting an assessment that encompassed 25 women-owned SMEs in the garment sector, Women Chambers of Commerce, women’s committees of Chambers of Commerce, and employers in Islamabad, Karachi, and Multan with significant numbers of female employees. Our findings identified key capacity-building needs of targeted SMEs and informed the training curriculum we developed to improve their business-management and technical skills.
Making Cents designed and facilitated three complementary workshops for the 25 women-owned SMEs. These addressed product development, costing and pricing, and marketing, emphasizing skills and knowledge needed to enter and be competitive in export markets. Session addressed topics such as differences in garment sizing, pricing, and design; merchandising and sales tools; international standards for customer service; and incorporation of customer feedback.
Another workshop, Introduction to Fashion Design, responded to the growing interest of participating SMEs. So did an internship program that taught pattern making and international sizing for bulk orders and export markets. These workshops culminated in the “Pakistan Handmade” Fashion Show and Exhibition in Islamabad, attended by U.S. wholesale buyers, local media, and the U.S. Ambassador.
Later, we worked to accelerate sales and investment for t-shirt and textile firms in Karachi. We also provided trainings for leading Pakistani supplier firms that prompted them to acquire certifications and adopt the international industry standards demanded by US buyers.