Market Assessment

MEDA & ECDI Pakistan - Assessing Supply of BDS for Women MSEs 2003

    MEDA and ECDI conducted a study to determine the feasibility of a marketing initiative for women entrepreneurs in multiple subsectors across Pakistan. They found that, although government supported increased recognition of women and an improved environment for women-owned enterprises, there were limitations on what government programs could offer and it would support independent sector activities.

    Capitalizing on study results - the readiness of women to engage in increased entrepreneurial activity and a supportive, if limited, political climate - MEDA-ECDI undertook a SEEP Practitioner Learning Project (PLP) that would contribute to the assessment and improvement of BDS to women's MSEs. The project piloted a supply-side assessment framework that identified BDS providers in selected subsectors and regions and assessed their ability to understand the market and design services that would help women-owned MSEs access markets and increase sales. The framework was designed for eventual expansion to a multi-sectoral, national program. Interviews were conducted with 56 female entrepreneurs in the garment, handicraft, IT sectors and 125 BDS suppliers. In phase 2, 58 providers participated in FGDs.

    The study resulted in the design of a program to strengthen the supply of BDS providers and relevant services for the fashion industry.

    Methods for info gathering
    SE interviews, Provider interviews, Focus group discussions, Qualitative

    Summary of results
    Private sector providers operate primarily in the garment (25) and handicraft (46) subsectors. Most supply services (finance/credit, training/counseling, marketing, product development, input supply) to women only. Seven work in IT (one with women only) and none operate across sectors. Women business owners said their most pressing BDS needs were product development, technology and technical skills development, marketing (the main priority), and entrepreneurship training. The study concluded that such services could be strengthened to help women increase sales and access new markets.

    The most significant finding was the awareness of both MSEs and BDS providers of the need to access more information and the willingness to pay for services -providers for workshops and MSEs for services. Commercial BDS providers were aware of their shortcomings with target markets and requested assistance with: information on buyers in foreign markets, links with chain stores in the UK & US, brand name development, quality and standards, product development/ design, market research, and interaction with other (government, NGO, etc.) BDS providers. Women MSEs were also aware of these issues and were open to using BDS support services and to participating in the development of markets for their products.

    The study helped MEDA & ECDI decide to focus on the fashion industry, which includes both the garment and handicraft subsectors. They are particularly interested in the idea of branding to make MSE products from Pakistan recognized in the global marketplace.

    Associated Activities and Documents
    Programme Design
    »Access to Contemporary Markets for Homebound Women Embroiderers in Pakistan, MEDA 2003
    »Appuyer les petites entreprises a travers les intermediaires, MEDA ECDI Pakistan 2004
    »Middlemen as Agents of Change, MEDA and ECDI, Pakistan, 2005
    »Access to Contemporary Markets for Homebound Women Embroiderers in Pakistan, MEDA, ECDI 2003-2007
    Impact Assessment
    »From Behind the Veil - Impact Assessment, MEDA, ECDI Pakistan 2007