The second focus group was conducted in the southern Punjab city of Bahawalpur, known for its creative artisans. Even though Bahawalpur is the 6th most populous city in Punjab, it lags behind bigger urban centers like Lahore and Karachi in terms of infrastructure and growth opportunities for businesses planning to scale up. The unique city profile blending both the potential in its population and the visible room for socio economic uplift, offered an apt opportunity to explore the landscape for women entrepreneurship within the ambit of FEEROSA.
On July 19th 2023, Team FEEROSA from LUMS was welcomed at the women’s chamber of commerce at Bahawalpur where we interviewed and interacted with ten women entrepreneurs who were divided into two smaller groups each with two moderators to develop a better understanding of the challenges faced by local women entrepreneurs. Most of these women were artisans and selling art, handicrafts, clothing etc. We selected women from different age groups from 25 to 60 years with a diverse family and educational background. Women in Bahawalpur were passionate about their businesses and most of them showed interest in learning and developing a deep understanding on how to grow their business with the help of technology and tapping on the international markets. The focus group concluded that women are usually supported by the family members for their businesses, however on conditional basis, they are expected to either contribute financially to the household and/or make sure the household chores are being taken care of.
In conclusion, this activity gave these ten female entrepreneurs a platform to openly discuss their unique challenges during their business journey which made a significant contribution to this project.