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Meet the Women

Shah

Islamabad, Pakistan

Profession
Interior Design
Business
SMARTEK
Country
Pakistan
partner school
Thunderbird School of Global Management
10,000 Women gave me vision, self-confidence, creativity, self-control and courage, which has allowed me to fulfill my entrepreneurship dream.

Business Overview

I am the founder of SmarTek, an interior design business that designs, renovates, constructs and implements space planning with complete turnkey solutions for corporate clients. We provide innovative design solutions from inception to completion that use specialized materials.  

Challenges

It is very difficult being a woman entrepreneur in Pakistan in a male dominated sector. I had a successful career in business before starting SmarTek, but struggled with gender discrimination. I felt I could do more as an entrepreneur but I am continually fighting resistance from society and my family in order to be able to sustain and grow my business.

I also face challenges accessing finance, where women face discriminatory lending practices.

Results

Since graduating from 10,000 Women, my business has grown by 30% annually and I have hired 17 new employees.

10,000 Women gave me confidence and focus, and I now plan and manage my business in a more professional manner. I have also developed a business strategy, and built up my team with more technical and professional staff. This has resulted in increased customer satisfaction and enabled me to extend our services to other cities in Pakistan and introduce new products. I have made several changes to improve my employees’ standard of living, including increased salary, medical assistance, free meals during office hours, and an education allowance for employees' children.  

I regularly mentor other women and three of the women I mentored have started businesses of their own. I have also started an internship program last year for new graduates, especially females, to obtain work experience. This has provided a safe and secure environment for educated women who are reluctant to work in this field because of family constraints or the lack of confidence to build their skills.

Future Goals 

I want SmarTek to be one of the top design companies in Pakistan. I plan to introduce new products including construction materials, flooring, and office furniture under my brand.