We are a group of individuals who believe in the potential of women entrepreneurs in Pakistan. After many years of working in this field, we have become acutely aware of the need for a separate Chamber of Commerce and industry, which is solely dedicated to promoting the cause of women in business. To this end, we are proud to announce the establishment of WCCI. The chamber can also be looked upon as an advocacy group for dealing with issues of economic empowerment of women.
Message from founder president Dr. Shehla Javed Akram
As the Founder President of the Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry Lahore Division (WCCIL), I extend a hearty and warm welcome to all current and prospective members.
At the inception of this chamber, I encountered multiple hurdles since there was absolutely no legislation to facilitate the establishment of a separate womens’ chamber. It was an uphill battle to generate sufficient support for the idea of a women’s chamber which I achieved through massive efforts in canvassing and campaigning; which resulted in being able to drum up the idea of a chamber.
I had to repeatedly advocate to the government of Pakistan to allow the establishment of separate chambers for business women in Pakistan.We began working on this mission in 2002 and obtained our license in 2008. The chamber began with just 10 members and today we cater to 4000+ women entrepreneurs.
In the past 15 years, WCCIL has built up a fund of knowledge and experience alongside developing a treasure trove of benefits for our members.
Being the founder President, my goal remains to facilitate continuing growth and awareness of WCCIL, both in Pakistan and globally. I continue to strive to create an enabling environment where women could have access to opportunities and resources, be properly represented, take up membership without any hesitation, and establish their businesses through training and marketing of their products in the local, national and international markets.
Our chamber acts as an institution where women entrepreneurs, no matter how small or big their scale might be; receive support, mentoring and guidance. The chamber is a melting pot of all women-led businesses and a common ground where they find mentors, kindred spirits and support.
I welcome you to join me on this journey of empowering women entrepreneurs in Pakistan
Dr. Shehla Javed Akram
Founder President WCCI (Lahore Division)
Message from President
Having been elected unopposed to President over the Women Chamber of Commerce & Industry, ho I’m reminded of the plight of women in our country and the patriarchal dominion that prevents them from dreaming of a role beyond that of a mother, sister, wife or aunt.I’m reminded of the systemic oppression that suppresses our women from taking financial independence in their own hands and realizing their full potential.I’m reminded of a sociopolitical setup that prefers businessmen to shape the economic landscape but does little to empower businesswomen in becoming equally contributing members of society.Finally, I’m reminded of the burden of trust and responsibility that this honor comes assigned with and how all of that needs to change if we are to evolve as a nation.
Global marketplaces in the here and now are not dictated by gender, but by skill, vision and the drive to solve hard problems. It is therefore of paramount importance that in order for us to succeed in the contemporary world, we develop a female workforce that has instant access to a robust platform which provides the necessary skills and instruction to enable it to work alongside its male counterparts and drive the engines of the national economy as a single collective. That we nurture the talents and business acumen of women belonging to all walks of life and morph them into individual self-starters capable of analytical thought. And that is precisely what I aim to achieve during my tenure as president: to help transition the WCCI into a critical platform for women-led businesses of all shapes and sizes seeking incubation, mentorship and support.In addition to realigning existing SME initiatives and streamlining them across the board, I intend to utilize the WCCI platform to nurture the talents of promising female entrepreneurs so as to inspire them to become trendsetters, trailblazers and thought leaders in their respective domains. To instill in them the importance of personal finance and cultivate in them the confidence to overcome beat-your-head-against-the-wall challenges so they remain unfazed when odds are stacked against them. I will particularly strive to identify women entrepreneurs belonging to the rural areas, especially those from marginalized communities; encourage them to step forth with their ideas and talents so they could be provided the necessary training and mentorship to see their businesses spring to life, generate revenue and create jobs. That being said, this vision will only be realized by the support of both new and existing comrades.To that end, I would like to take this opportunity to thank my parents, friends and family for their relentless support. It is through their trust and belief in me that I find myself today in a position of authority to help aspiring businesswomen of our country.Lastly, I would like to thank everyone at the WCCI for entrusting me with this role, especially Dr. Shehla Javed Akram, for her inspiring leadership, and Qasira Sheikh for her relentless support as well as EC members at all levels. Our stakeholders can rest assured that I will do everything in my power to represent their voice and implement solutions with wide consensus.I live my life by the mantra that incredible things happen when women support each other and as president I will dedicate my time and effort towards ensuring that no woman is left behind and support of the WCCI is extended to women of all colors, castes and creeds come what may. After all, that’s the only way we can chart a way forward towards a better tomorrow.
Mrs. Sahar Malik
President WCCI (Lahore Division)
Message from Senior Vice President
I am both grateful and honoured to have been elected Senior Vice President of the Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Lahore Division for the year 2022-2023.As a lifelong champion and supporter of women empowerment, I am excited to continue my journey with WCCI, an esteemed organisation that has been successsfully advocating for and supporting women entrepreneurship for years. I hope to fulfill my role and responsibilities with the utmost commitment and diligence while achieving WCCI’s objectives and upholding their values.I am also looking forward to working alongside all the wonderful and strong women who continue to make WCCI more effective every year.
Ms. Nilopher Sikander
Senior Vice President WCCI (Lahore Division)
Message from Vice President
It’s a great honor and privilege for me to be a Vice President of WCCI. I’m so grateful to Dr. Shehla. Who is an inspiration for all working women. Due to her considerable efforts and dedication, we all women are able to convey our voice to the higher authorities. Being the Vice President of WCCI, I’ll do my best to empower women in our society and will leave no stone unturned to encourage and support all working women and entrepreneurs.This is the second time that this prestigious chamber shown its trust in me. I pray to Almighty Allah to give me the strength and focus for the betterment of the women.
Ms. Aisha Khurram
Vice President WCCI (Lahore Division)