Shattered markets, declining sales and decreased mobility are threatening many women and artisan-led small businesses across Pakistan. Social distancing measures, disrupted supply chains, and decreasing demand for certain goods have had a detrimental impact on small makers and entrepreneurs, intensifying existing barriers such as lack of access to business training, finance and social safety nets.
There is a real fear that this will result in a collapse in the small business or cottage economy. This would not only be devastating for those who lose their incomes but will also set back Pakistan’s economic and social recovery by many years. Added to this is the less tangible but equally devastating potential loss of creative, traditional and indigenous skills and knowledge.
While the approaching economic recession cannot be avoided, it would be catastrophic if an additional price was paid in the form of decimation of the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector, and with it, losses to national capacity to create, innovate, and thrive.
Responding to these issues is critical and a role that Polly and Other Stories is ideally positioned to play. Our brand new intervention has been created to increase opportunities for growth throughout the entire value chain and build a strong foundation on which the artisan sector can flourish. It is clear that practitioners need to go beyond thinking outside existing boxes and create entirely new ones, supporting as yet unimagined possibilities even in the most difficult circumstances.
It is, therefore, with a great deal of excitement that we announce our new initiative, Made It!, which contributes to sustainable development of cultural and creative industries in Pakistan through innovative business models, greater digital access and improved business solutions for analogue makers and creators.
Team Polly has been working for over a year to develop a customised programme for capacity building through blended e-learning and mentoring as well as business and design support for incredible cultural entrepreneurs and creative makers from underprivileged, marginalized and/or underrepresented groups from across the country. Made It! supports innovative mechanisms and networks to improve access to new markets for cultural and traditional goods and facilitates the socioeconomic mobility of traditional artists, makers and cultural actors.
This highly interactive initiative will be personally led by Polly and Other Stories co-founders, Angela Braid and Amneh Shaikh-Farooqui to support the development of independent creative entrepreneurs through a series of engagements that will develop leadership, increase business acumen and skills, provide design support, build capacity and promote access to markets.
Because the time has come for the Pakistani creators, makers and small entrepreneurs to have....Made It!!