PFAN PPSE Accelerator Graduate, EcoEnergy Represents Pakistan at the 67th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW67)

Shazia Khan, CEO at EcoEnergy, a solar solutions company part of PPSE’s first accelerator cohort, represented the project and Pakistan at CSW67 jointly held with UNIDO and ENERGIA on 17-Mar-2023, in New York City. Khan was invited to be part of a highly esteemed panel comprised of professionals at the intersection of gender and energy.

This panel fell in to the purview of Sustainable Energy for All’s (SEforALL) women’s month activities. SeforALL is an international organization working in partnership with the United Nations, leaders in government, the private sector, financial institutions and civil society with as goal to drive further, faster action toward the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 7, which calls for universal access to sustainable energy by 2030.

While speaking to this theme and where eco-entrepreneurs, especially women fit in, Shazia commented, “Access to capital is a problem. Women receive less than 2% of all venture capital funding across the world – when women are running 38% of business and doing it through bootstrapping”. As women already has less access to capital, inheritance, assets and generational wealth, bootstrapping poses exponential risks to women entrepreneurs, which is a major reason why most women are entrepreneurially risk-averse.

Speaking to the efficacy of the Pilot PFAN Accelerator in Pakistan, Shazia noted that such programmes are critically important to give entrepreneurs the business support that they need to grow and scale their clean energy businesses. She further shared that Pakistan is an important country in the renewable energy space as it has the most to gain owing to its “perpetual” energy crisis and vulnerability to climate change.

Other panelists agreed with Shazia that clean tech businesses in Pakistan and in other emerging economic, have the unique opportunity to solve multiple, socio-economic problems at once. Speaking to women’s inclusion in the clean energy transition, Shazia proposed several solutions to fill gender gap and bolster diversity and innovation. She vehemently stated the dire need to put in more grant money for climate and energy to invest in female-led businesses that are viable. The supply shortage of women-led businesses can be met by training more women through incubator and accelerator programs, such as the one provided by PFAN PPSE.

“These businesses are on the frontlines of catalyzing accelerated adoption of clean energy and facilitating the transition and women must be an equal part in the impact and work.” – Shazia Khan, CEO, EcoEnergy.