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Islamabad

July 12, 2018

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Micro-entrepreneurship changing lives of poor

Islamabad: The Citi – PPAF Micro-entrepreneurship Awards (CMA), delivered in partnership by the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) and Citi Foundation the philanthropic arm of Citibank, Pakistan, announced the national winners of the 12th Citi – PPAF Micro entrepreneurship Awards.

Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan, Tariq Bajwa, was the chief guest at the event. Naseem Maseeh from Karachi and Sanobar from Hyderabad were the national winners for the 12th CMA. Naseem is the owner of a stitching centre, earns Rs50,000 to Rs60,000 per month, and has trained more than 5,000 girls in his centre.

Naseem is physically disabled but he never lost hope and was encouraged by The First Microfinance Bank Ltd. to start his own business. Starting his business with only2-3 stitching machines and now runs a centre with more than 100 machines, Naseem’s journey has been inspirational. He plans to expand his business by opening other stitching centres on large scale in other areas. Naseem says, “Disabled people generally have a hard time gaining people’s trust and acceptance. "I have suffered a lot but now my life has totally changed after I was given the opportunity by The First Microfinance Bank Ltd," he said.

Based in a small remote community, Sanobar contributes to the local economy. Today, she is the owner of a poultry shop but she started her business from a simple cart, selling chickens. She earns more than Rs5,000 per day and plans to invest more in her business to expand it.

In the beginning, Sanober was discouraged by her family members but today she supports her family and employs 6 people in her shop. She says, “I never thought that I could reach this level but this was made possible by the Khushhali Microfinance Bank Ltd. If not for this opportunity, my life would have been very different now.

Qazi Azmat Isa, CEO of PPAF, said that since 2005, they have recognised 450 outstanding micro-entrepreneurs through the Citi-PPAF Micro-entrepreneurship Awards. These micro-entrepreneurs are chosen for their exceptional perseverance and hard work. With microcredit, they have changed their own lives and contributed to the development of their communities.

The Citi Micro-entrepreneurship Awards programme is a fantastic way to highlight best practices in micro-entrepreneurship and to raise awareness about microfinance and its importance for a thriving economy.

Nadeem Lodhi, Citi Country Officer and Managing Director of Citi Pakistan, said like any vibrant industry, microfinance has been evolving in Pakistan going from simple small loans to provision of complex financial products.

Tariq Bajwa, Governor, State Bank of Pakistan was the chief guest at the event and he applauded the endeavour saying that, "I am honoured to be speaking at this forum that has a legacy of recognizing the micro-entrepreneurs who have transformed their lives and are role models in their communities. The CMAs stands as an excellent example of long-standing and successful public-private collaboration.

To be eligible for the Awards, a business must have benefited from an affordable loan from responsible finance providers, and must have contributed to the local economic growth in the community, province or city they operate in. Other winners include Naimat from Badin in overcoming adversity; Razia Samuel from Lahore in positive impact on community and Naseem Bibi from Kot Abdul Malik in positive impact on community category. The Young Entrepreneur Award went to Sania Bibi, who drives a rickshaw to establish a regular livelihood and support her family.

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