SAARC Woman Entrepreneur of the year Award

To recognise the exemplary success of women entrepreneurs in the SAARC region and to create strong role models to draw inspiration from, the SAARC Chamber Women Entrepreneur Council (SCWEC), under the leadership of its Chairperson, Rifa Musthapha will host the first ever SAARC Woman Entrepreneur of the year Award in Colombo on 2 March.

One outstanding woman entrepreneur from among nominees from each of the SAARC nations will receive the prestigious title of 'SAARC Woman Entrepreneur of the year 2018' at a glittering function that will have participation of women business owners from the region. Women business leaders from SAARC will gather in Colombo for the awards ceremony plus knowledge workshops, to collectively find fresher avenues to economic and societal challenges in the region as well as first-hand networking opportunities.

A designer showcase with a fashion gala will be the showstopper, where designers from each of the SAARC countries of Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Maldives, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bhutan and Sri Lanka will display their design to a choreographed capsule with performances also from each of the countries.

SCWEC Chairperson Rifa Musthapha said,"The inaugural international award is our affirmation and recognition of the trail blazing success of women entrepreneurs in our neighbouringcountries. By giving them the spotlight, we are creating outstanding role models of themselves and their businesses which SCWEC wants to amplify in no uncertain terms and help catalyse seamless cross border trade and investment."

"The entire evening will be a display of everything SAARC," Musthapha went on to note, adding that from the food to the fashion and performances will be an exposition of SAARC, 'a regional pageantry', she summed up.

All proceeds of the event will be channelled to SCWEC's on-going project - a business model whereby a cost-effective sanitary napkin manufacturing scheme has been introduced to women clusters in the Kitulwatte community in Colombo 8, where low cost, bio-degradable, sanitary napkins are being produced and marketed at a nominal price.

The machine and technical know-how was obtained from Dr. Arunachalam Murugananatham, the innovator and social entrepreneur who started a menstrual hygiene movement in South India, the module of which is being replicated worldwide.

"The business model propagated by SCWEC upholds the belief 'by the women, for the women, and to the women' said Rifa Musthapha. "It is a sustainable, revenue generating enterprise that gives stakeholders the opportunity to be actively involved and engaged in manufacturing and distributing the product. This model will be replicated in select townships in each of the SAARC countries."

The SAARC Chamber Women Entrepreneur Council (SWEC) was officially launched on 29 March 2001 by the Women's Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Sri Lanka (WCIC). SCWEC was set up with the objective of creating awareness, closer contact, regional fellowship and cooperation among women entrepreneurs in the countries of the SAARC region.

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