The UK-funded Karandaaz, a non-profit company promoting access to finance for SMEs, has recently signed investment agreements with seven small and medium enterprises (SMEs) led by women. These businesses include New Age Flour and General Mills, M-Tex, Web Work Solution, Lel, Noha Global, Kamal Impex, and Saira Rizwan.
Karandaaz Pakistan, with funding from the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), recently organized the 2nd round of its Women Entrepreneurship Challenge (WEC 2019) to enable the growth of women-led businesses by providing financial and technical support to female entrepreneurs across the country.
During the second round of WEC 2019, Karandaaz provided business advisory support to 19 women-led businesses all across Pakistan. Out of these 19 women-led businesses, seven got selected after a competitive process to receive the investment.
Head of DFID Pakistan, Joanna Reid while giving his remarks on these investment agreements said,
“Women empowerment is at the heart of the UK’s work in Pakistan and through Karandaaz Women Entrepreneurship Challenge, we have supported women all across the country. I am delighted to see the growing segment of women entrepreneurs who are ambitious, innovative and dare to experiment for the growth of their businesses to become leaders in their fields. Economies will only thrive when women get the same opportunities as men. DFID Pakistan believes in empowering women and is passionate in achieving the goal of a prosperous and inclusive Pakistan.”
Mr. Ali Sarfraz, CEO Karandaaz said,
“Women Entrepreneurship Challenge is now successfully entering its third year and we will soon be opening the call for applications for the 2019 cohort. We are very impressed with the quality of applications we received this year and are confident that there are many promising women entrepreneurs across Pakistan who can benefit from this year’s program.”
This investment from Karandaaz will not only encourage the culture of entrepreneurship amongst women but will also enable the women-led businesses to grow and create jobs.
According to the United Nations Development Programme Pakistan (UNDP), in recent years, there have been important developments in gender equality in Pakistan. These days Pakistani women are more likely to participate in the fields like labor force, decision-making, health and education services. Such investment agreements will further endorse that these women-led businesses are a viable segment for the financial institutions in Pakistan.