Mastercard, CARE launch Strive Women to support women-led businesses in Pakistan

LAHORE-Mastercard’s Center for Inclusive Growth and CARE, an international humanitarian organization, Tuesday announced the inception of Mastercard Strive Women, a program that aims to strengthen the financial health and resilience of women-led small businesses in Pakistan, as well as in Peru and Vietnam.
Strive Women recognizes that women-led small businesses are critical contributors to economies, communities and households worldwide. The program will collaborate with local partners to deliver tailored financial products and support services while addressing unique gender barriers that women face while doing business. Across all three countries, the program aims to reach 6 million entrepreneurs through campaigns, while directly supporting over 300,000 entrepreneurs — the majority being women — to grow their businesses and increase their economic potential.
This new phase of partnership between Mastercard and CARE follows the success of the Ignite program in Pakistan, which provided direct support to almost 51,000entrepreneurs by unlocking loans valuing USD 49.6 million. The initiative also reached 1.38 million small business owners through large-scale campaigns. Following the program, 90% of the participants reported increased sales, and 50% expanded their business.
“Building on our 20-year legacy of empowering people in Pakistan, we continue to join forces with our partners to create a conducive environment for business owners to fulfil their potential. We are delighted to enter the new phase in this partnership with CARE and look forward to providing further support to women-led small businesses in the market,” said Arslan Khan, Vice President and Country Business Manager, Pakistan, Mastercard. Kausar Parveen, an entrepreneur from Pakistan who participated in Ignite commented: “In Pakistan, it is hard for a woman to start a business on her own, as a male guarantor is usually needed to get a start-up loan. As soon as the man is involved then financial control falls to him, stealing hope from women. I was fortunate to get a [growth] loan. I was also connected to other women entrepreneurs, helping me build new connections and develop ideas. The Ignite training has given me the confidence to grow as a woman. People who used to tell me that business is not something that a woman can do now respect me for who I am.”

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