Care International, MasterCard launch ‘Ignite’

Web DeskWeb Editor

09th Sep, 2021. 08:03 pm

ISLAMABAD: Care International in Pakistan (CIP) and MasterCard on Thursday launched the ‘Ignite’ small business programme during a ceremony presided over by Dr Sania Nishtar, special assistant to the prime minister, a statement said.

The programme is part of a global collaboration between Care and the MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth.

The programme will be rolled out with several local partners, including U-Bank, its financial service provider, White Rice, a behavioral design firm and Mera Maan – a social enterprise focused on capacity-building and enterprise development.

Over three years, ‘Ignite’ will impact 397,000 entrepreneurs, their employees, and family members with capacity and skills building; accelerate the growth of 45,000 entrepreneurs by unlocking access to credit; mentor 3,000 entrepreneurs concentrating on digital skills and tools; and reach an additional two million entrepreneurs through the outreach campaign by creating awareness and understanding on formal and digital financial services.

As the Covid-19 pandemic accelerates the move towards a digital economy, women risk being left further behind without tailored support and digital tools. To ensure they can survive and thrive in the digital economy, ‘Ignite’ will ensure that at least 30 per cent of the entrepreneurs supported are women.

By facilitating access to capital, digital tools and skills, the programme will foster a supportive and empowering environment for women entrepreneurs.

“Through the work of the Center for Inclusive Growth, MasterCard’s social impact arm, we continue to help address barriers to enable entrepreneurs to grow and become more resilient. ‘Ignite’ will provide growth-orientated small businesses with the tools they require to grow so that they can continue to strengthen the economy and catalyse job creation,” said Natasha Jamal, vice president of the Middle East and Africa, MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth.

CIP country director Adil Sheraz said: “Our primary focus has always been to promote women’s economic empowerment through accessible financial resources and increased business skills, and CIP has implemented various projects to address challenges around equal access to and control of economic assets.”

“Our empowerment projects in Pakistan aim to unleash the power of growth-oriented entrepreneurs and contribute to a resilient and inclusive economy. ‘Ignite’ is a transformational project enabling financial and technological access for entrepreneurs, especially women, and will positively impact millions of people.”

Last year, MasterCard committed $250 million to support small businesses around the world and made a global commitment to provide 25 million women entrepreneurs with digital solutions that can help them grow their businesses by 2025.

The Care International believes in taking a market-based approach to service delivery that is sustainable and scalable, by working closely with the local service providers.

These partnerships open up the much-needed access to financial and digital resources, while building entrepreneurs’ business capacity and networks.

Adsence 300X250