Karandaaz Invites Women-led Businesses to get Support from ‘Women Ventures’

Karachi (Muhammad Yasir) According to the ‘Global Findex Databse 2017’ of the World Bank, merely 1% of the Pakistani women are currently pursuing entrepreneurship in Pakistan and out of whom, 6% owns the businesses. In addition to it, only 4% Pakistani women own an asset, according to the database. As we are aware that the Global Findex database is the world’s most comprehensive data set on how adults save, borrow, make payments and manage risks. Launched with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the database has been publishing every three year since 2011. The rationale of the Karandaaz’s ‘Women Ventures’ (WV) is based upon this compact database, which is why it initiated this mega program in 2020 with the main sponsorship of UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This year too, the Karandaaz is accepting applications on a rolling basis from Pakistani women entrepreneurs that will be provided with the growth capital and business development support of upto Rs 35m to scale up their businesses. In this regard, Karandaaz Pakistan recently held an online session for women entrepreneurs where Ms Shumaila Rifaqat – Head of Innovation Challenge Fund (ICF) & Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning while giving detailed overview of the program, answered the queries of the women entrepreneurs. Ms Rifaqat herself is a learned professional that holds a Master degree in Public Administration (MPA) from Harvard University, Cambridge and a Master degree in Economics (MSc.) from Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad. She brings with her 15 years of work experience in influencing public policy, designing and implementing large scale reform programs, institutional development and change management. While talking to the participants at the Facebook live session, Ms Rifaqat said that under this program, any of the registered Pakistani women entrepreneurs with having more than 50% shareholding in the business and has an active role in its management would be eligible to apply for this facility. The businesses should have an operational history of atleast three years with having earned revenue of Rs 5m in the last 12 months. “Besides allowing the loan facility, Karandaaz Pakistan would also be offering customized business development support, trainings and capacity building sessions”, she said. This ‘live’ session received an overwhelming response from the Pakistani women entrepreneurs. Experts believe that this initiative is scaling-up the women-led businesses besides creating jobs through increased economic activity.