UK Department for International Development to Support SMEs through Karandaaz Pakistan
United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) is supporting the growth of small and medium enterprise (SME) sector in Pakistan through Karandaaz Pakistan.
The DFID Director General for Economic Development, Rachel Turner, currently visiting Pakistan, attended the signing of an agreement between Karandaaz and Bank Alfalah Limited. The agreement was signed between CEO Karandaaz Pakistan – Mr. Ali Sarfraz and Head of Retail, Bank Alfalah – Mr. Khurram Hussain. Under the agreement, Karandaaz Pakistan will provide a fixed grant of over PKR 63 million to Bank Alfalah Limited for Supply Chain Financing Advisory Services. This support will build the capacity of the bank to provide credit to small and medium enterprises using cutting-edge financial products through, specially trained teams.
Separate agreements were also signed between Karandaaz and three business incubators- Lahore University of Management Sciences, Balochistan University of Information Technology, Engineering and Management, and Invest2Innovate (Pvt.) Ltd. to launch a country-wide programme for supporting women entrepreneurship with a grant of PKR.25 million. Under this programme, women owned/operated businesses enrolled in the programme will be provided training & mentorship and up to six competitively selected businesses will be provided funding of PKR.15 million each for expanding their business.
Speaking at the occasion, DFID Director General for Economic Development, Rachel Turner emphasized the importance of the SME sector as an engine of growth for a developing economy. “SMEs, especially women-owned businesses, can be a driving force for the sustainable growth of an economy. The United Kingdom is proud to have invested in this vital sector in Pakistan and we are confident that this investment will have long-term dividends for Pakistan’s economy,” she said.
CEO Karandaaz, Ali Sarfraz explained, “Karandaaz is committed to breaking barriers for small and medium entrepreneurs. The partnerships that we have forged today show the large spectrum of strategic interventions that we are making so that SMEs can build their capacities to expand and sustain their operations and also access finance for business development”.
Head of Retail, Bank Alfalah – Mr. Khurram Hussain acknowledged the assistance from the DFID. “This partnership is significant, not just to us as a bank but for the entire SME sector. Bank Alfalah has been declared Pakistan’s ‘Best Bank’ and ‘Best Customer Franchise’, and this alliance is further evidence of our commitment to our customers and to the development of the sector as a whole,” he added.
Karandaaz Pakistan promotes access to finance for small businesses through commercially directed investments and financial inclusion for individuals. Karandaaz Pakistan has financial and institutional support from the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.