UAE-based group empowers housewives to become entrepreneurs

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Dubai - Tamkeen is a business support group launched under the Ladies Forum of Pakistan Association Dubai.

By Saman Haziq

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Published: Fri 29 Jan 2021, 8:45 PM

When the pandemic started affecting jobs last year, Pakistani housewife AM was among those who found her family in crises. Her husband, the only earning member of the family, was made redundant. With bills mounting and their savings fast depleting, AM felt she had to find new ways to earn some income. Now, she’s getting ready to start her own business.

AM stumbled upon a women economic empowerment initiative called Tamkeen — just at the right time.

Tamkeen is a business support group launched under the Ladies Forum of Pakistan Association Dubai (PAD) amid the Covid-19 situation, with the sole aim of helping women set up their businesses or stablise their enterprises.

Around 50 female entrepreneurs are now part of the group, upgrading their skills with the help of trained professionals.

“We didn’t have much savings and with kids’ fees and other expenses, we were worried that would run out of funds soon. This is when I heard of Tamkeen and I attended their free virtual trainings and free private consultations with highly qualified business consultants, who guided me on how to convert my passion for making hand paintings into a business.

“This has been a turning point in my life as I am now gearing up to launch my own business soon,” the housewife said.

AM’s story echoed with several other women who joined the group. Most of them either had a Covid-hit online business or their husbands were suddenly out of work.

When Tamkeen was launched in October, its main goal is to give talented women a platform to learn the tricks of the trade from certified coaches for free and become economically and financially strong to support their families, said Sadaf Ather, vice-president of the Ladies Forum and board director for women empowerment at PAD.

From private business counselling through video calls, virtual training sessions on how to build a business, making right partnerships, marketing your work, planning and licensing to skills development — Tamkeen offered women entrepreneurs a number of services and trainings every week.

The group is open to women of all backgrounds and nationalities, representing the true spirit of a multicultural society of the UAE.

After conducting free trainings and consultations for three months, the women empowerment team of PAD held a small meet-and-greet session, where a few entrepreneurs and coaches were invited in batches, keeping in mind the Covid safety restrictions. At the session, there had been an inspiring exchange of experience and success stories.

“The idea of setting up this group came to me when I personally saw some women, whose husbands were laid off during the pandemic. They were seeking guidance on how to start some business from homes. This is when we came up with this platform and got certified professionals together through the PAD network, who agreed to find time and offer their services for the larger good of the community,” said Ather.

“Our training sessions have helped women learn how to use social media to grow their business, get a business licence, make flyers and videos to market their products, display and package them beautifully,” she added.

Ather said Tamkeen also aims at connecting early-stage startups, helping them collaborate with each other and promote their businesses.

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