ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: An Online International Conference “Pakistan-Uzbekistan Women Entrepreneurial Connectivity: Exploring Future Prospects” was jointly organized by the Center for Global & Strategic Studies (CGSS), the Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan in Islamabad, and the Uzbekistan Business Women Association in Tashkent.
The conference brought together women entrepreneurs and relevant subject experts at a single platform for a fruitful discussion.
The significant subject discussions addressed the challenges faced in developing entrepreneurial linkages between Pakistan and Uzbekistan and presented constructive solutions through discussion and linkages.
The conference commenced with the remarks of Ms. Gulnora Makhmudova, Chairperson, Business Women Association of Uzbekistan. She extended gratitude to Center for Global & Strategic Studies (CGSS), Islamabad, and the Embassy of Uzbekistan in Pakistan for the support and guidance to women entrepreneurs of Uzbekistan. She highlighted that cooperation between women of both countries is very important for Pakistan and Uzbekistan as they have a huge potential in economic partnerships, specifically in entrepreneurship. She stated that both countries’ leadership have plans to strengthen this bond more in the future through various initiatives. She emphasized that projects to promote an exchange of information and interaction between the women associations of both countries and joint publications are also being planned.
Ms. Madiha Ghaffar, Media, and Communication Manager, Center for Global & Strategic Studies (CGSS), Islamabad stated that Uzbekistan and Pakistan have always shared great historical, cultural, and religious ties. Under the present leadership of Uzbekistan, the year 2021 has witnessed an impressive improvement in the bilateral trade relations of Pakistan and Uzbekistan. Women Entrepreneurs from both countries can play a vital role in facilitating this connectivity by exploring the possible areas of collaboration.
Dr. Farida Faisal, Associate Professor, University Institute of Management Sciences, PMAS- Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi, Pakistan stated that women in Pakistan are very much interested in exploring ties with their counterparts in Uzbekistan. She stated that running a business is all about finding solutions and opportunities, and the women of Uzbekistan can find a lot of opportunities in Pakistan, as we have a great potential market. Dr. Farida stated that the agriculture sector of Uzbekistan, specifically its machinery is very cost-effective. Thereby, she encouraged that agriculture growth as it provides opportunity for women of both countries to start their businesses in this sector. She also emphasized that there are a lot of opportunities in promoting cuisine of both countries. Both countries have many similarities in food. In this sector, joint collaboration can be enhanced.
Ms. Bushra Siddiqui, Lecturer, Minhaj University, Lahore discussed that we must address the challenges that comes under promoting joint business ventures between women of both countries. She also suggested that we must not ignore the diversity at the global level, it includes culture, policies, laws, policies, time zones, etc. The foundation of all of them is language diversity. She stated that language barriers must be curtailed. In this aspect, teams from Uzbekistan and Pakistan must familiarize themselves with the technical vocabulary and terms, as every field has its own jargons. Ms. Bushra also appreciated the initiative of organizing the conference. She stated that it is a great step towards improving bilateral ties through communication and interactions.
Ms. Odilbekova Dilnoza, Representative of the Business Women Association of Uzbekistan stated that multicultural Marketing is to recognize different ethnicities and cultures in consumer base. This marketing strategy also focuses on subgroups such as gender, age, disability, and religion of the target audience. She stated that a brand is always recommended to refrain from stereotyping cultures and make effort to understand its consumers’ culture. She highlighted that in today’s world, consumers demand diversity in the representation of the products of any brand. Hence, brands must develop a multicultural marketing strategy to connect with their consumers.
Ms. Sehrish Mujtaba, Head of Information Security, TPL Corp Ltd focused on the cyber security of the companies, entrepreneurs, and clients. She suggested that there is a need to save our content, information, and privacy from malicious attacks. She stated that in recent years, cyber-attacks and data breaches have increased. The attacks are also on the small businesses. Small businesses usually don’t have the security infrastructure. Thereby, companies must focus on improving them. Ms. Sehrish suggested that businesses must install firewalls and take precautionary measures to protect their data. Cloud-based services, multi-factor authentication is also a good way to secure access to information. While concluding her speech, she suggested that companies must educate their employees and staff about cyber security and date protection.
Ms. Amna Malik, President COPAIR, AMG & Melange Media Group from Pakistan shared that there is a need to collaborate in the pharmaceutical and textile sectors. She was of the view that both Uzbekistan and Pakistan should explore the possibilities of connecting women entrepreneurs. She highlighted the prospects of collaborating in construction and building. She stated that we would like to get connected with the craftsman of Uzbekistan to implement their designs in Pakistan. Ms. Amna also highlighted that the best way to connect women is through ICT. In this aspect, we can help startups, SMEs and entrepreneurs to organize training for students and fresh entrepreneurs. Furthermore, organizing public talks for women to share their success stories is also very important.
Ms. Zamira Yunusova, Specialist, Ministry of Textile Industry of Uzbekistan stated that the textile industry contributes greatly to the economy of Uzbekistan. She gave a detailed presentation explaining the textile factories in the country that are operated and run by women. She shared that apart from factories, they also have private companies in the textile industry. These companies have a board of directors in the factory, international counselors, advertising and marketing departments as well they participate in international exhibitions. Ms. Zamira stated that Uzbekistan’s designers work in specific design centers to create new designs, illustrate international clothing and also exhibit them. She also shared that they exhibited oriental clothing in Pakistan and had a great experience with the market and audience in Pakistan. While concluding her speech, she stated that the main focus is develop smart textile technologies in Uzbekistan that will enhance export internationally.
Ms. Kamola Solieva, Sales Manager, Gold Silk Company, Uzbekistan discussed Uzbek national fabric in the world. She highlighted the history of textile, Uzbek textile standing in the international market, and national textile. She stated that from the 19th century the Uzbek textile is very popular in Central Asia and across the world. Moreover, the technologies and machinery have transferred from generation to generation and several women are involved in this sector from various regions of Uzbekistan. Ms. Kamola highlighted that the Uzbek national silk industry goes back to the ancient Silk Road, from ancient times Uzbek people used to export these fabrics.
H.E Aybek Arif Usmanov, Ambassador of the Republic of Uzbekistan to Pakistan graced the conference with his remarks. He extended his gratitude to CGSS and its entire team. He also mentioned the experts from the University of the Punjab, Lahore, and MNS University of Agriculture, Multan. H.E Aybek Arif Usmanov stated that Pakistan and Uzbekistan have shared ties for a very long time. Moreover, the recent developments and official visits have helped our relations to grow dynamically. He emphasized that today’s conference is one more valuable conference for the connectivity of both countries. It will further contribute to the exchange of technologies, expertise and capacity building. He highlighted that the women entrepreneurs of Uzbekistan are playing a great role in this connectivity. He emphasized that during the training and conference the brilliant experts of Pakistan have delivered valuable lectures about many sectors. He was of the view that these lectures, training, and conferences will help in giving new impetus to the the bilateral countries of Pakistan and Uzbekistan.
In her concluding remarks Ms. Gulnora Makhmudova, Chairperson, Business Women Association of Uzbekistan, Tashkent highlighted and appreciated the contributions of CGSS. She stated that in the past two years CGSS has conducted a lot of training for the business women association of Uzbekistan. She said that we are always happy with the active participation of Pakistani experts in conferences and different initiatives. In today’s conference, there has been a lot of positive suggestions from both sides, especially in businesses like dry grapes, herb, textile, egg farming, etc. She stated that these plans and suggestions will help to grow further towards progress.
Ms. Madiha Ghaffar, Media, and Communication Manager, Center for Global & Strategic Studies (CGSS), Islamabad in her closing remarks, stated that CGSS has always taken the initiative to facilitate Women Entrepreneurs, help them in enhancing various skills and provided them effective guidance to promote their cooperation between both countries. She highlighted that this Online Conference is another significant initiative of CGSS in promoting Entrepreneurial connectivity between women of Pakistan and Uzbekistan. CGSS vows to continue to organize such events in the future also.
The conference was moderated by Ms. Laraib Fatima Hassan, Communication & Coordination Executive, Center for Global &Strategic Studies (CGSS), Islamabad, and was attended by 150 women entrepreneurs, businesswomen, students, and women from various sectors of Uzbekistan.