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Friday April 12, 2024

HBL, Visa to support women SMEs

By Our Correspondent
November 02, 2023
Aamir Kureshi, Head Consumer, Agriculture & SME Banking – HBL,  and Umar S. Khan, Country Manager for Pakistan – Visa, addressing the media at the She’s Next program’s press conference, on 1 November 2023. Senior members of both organizations were also present on this occasion. — Facebook/HBL
Aamir Kureshi, Head Consumer, Agriculture & SME Banking – HBL,  and Umar S. Khan, Country Manager for Pakistan – Visa, addressing the media at the She’s Next program’s press conference, on 1 November 2023. Senior members of both organizations were also present on this occasion. — Facebook/HBL

KARACHI: Visa, in collaboration with HBL, launched a special initiative on Wednesday to address the challenges faced by Pakistan’s female entrepreneurs, such as limited access to funding, a lack of mentorship, and trouble with gender stereotypes.

Pakistani women entrepreneurs can qualify for grants up to $50,000 under Visa’s Global She’s Next programme. In terms of networking, mentorship, and training, this will benefit women entrepreneurs.

Speaking at the event, Umar S Khan, the country manager for Pakistan, Visa, said a small portion of Pakistan’s SME sector is made up of women entrepreneurs, who face particular difficulties, such as limited access to financing, a lack of mentorship, and issues related to gender stereotyping, which makes them appear less capable of managing stressful situations.

At the moment, they need a strong digital infrastructure in order to grow their businesses. She’s Next emphasises this significant change, acknowledges the potential of women business owners, and provides them with the resources they need to succeed innovatively, Khan said.

He said starting today, women entrepreneurs from all industries and sectors in Pakistan can apply on the She’s Next website for a chance to be among five winners to receive a grant of $10,000 each. Winners will also have access to a range of benefits including a tailored training programme, She’s Next Club resources such as a workshop library and a community of entrepreneurs. Applications are open until 2 December 2023.

Aamir Kureshi, Head Consumer, Agriculture & SME banking – HBL, said HBL is committed to promoting financial inclusion as a means of boosting women’s economic participation. Through She’s Next, HBL and Visa have worked together to support female entrepreneurs.

“We hope to give women the training and skill set through this relationship, giving them more chances to better their lives,” Kureshi said. He said the gap between women and banks needs to be narrowed. In general, Pakistani women are a little reluctant to approach and speak with banks in order to receive advice for their businesses. “Women can access banks via the internet and social media instead of physically visiting one. HBL is always ready and eager to lend a hand as much as it can to businesswomen,” he said.