Striving Pakistani Women Entrepreneurs in financial inclusion ecosystem

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Women entrepreneurs of today are chartering unknown territories unabashedly and fearlessly. Be it in ecommerce, education, retail, fitness and everything under the sun, they are proceeding with resourcefulness and unrestrained enthusiasm to change the world around them, making a difference with their ideas and seeking solutions that have never been sought to give rise to new sustainable ecosystems.

With minimum to no support, women in business have proven that leading a company all by themselves is not beyond their ken. Sakina Zulfiqar, a resilient 36 year old independent female entrepreneur from Kasur is an established entrepreneur with a dream to keep growing. Sakina was a homemaker initially while her husband supported the family financially. In her quest to be empowered, Sakina was passionate to start a business of her own and add to the income of her family. Overcoming her initial fears and hurdles, Sakina started her school in a small building with only 3 rooms available.

Growth was slow in the initial years due to non-availability of credit for investment, but Sakina’s optimism kept her going. She came to know about micro loans from Khushhali Microfinance Bank Limited (KMBL) offered to small businesses to invest in their assets and working capital. Regulated by State Bank of Pakistan, KMBL is a pioneer microfinance institution which is working with the objective to increase financial inclusion in the country and overcome access to finance challenges for marginalized segments.

Loans from the bank enabled Sakina to improve her school.  Her desire to build, create and learn, surpassed the fear of the unknown. With the help of subsequent loans from Khushhali Microfinance Bank, Sakina improved the infrastructure of her school and added more facilities, which brought in more students, helping her business grow. Her school is currently offering classes till Inter and has a strength of more than 350 students. Her school is considered as a quality educational institution in the area.

Financial inclusion helped her business to survive when opportunities seemed trifle. Financial institutions like Khushhali Microfinance Bank have made significant progress over the last two decades in improving access to finance for women, especially women entrepreneurs. Microfinance services have enabled masses to access formal financial services to invest in their enterprises, improve their economic potential and raise their family’s living standard.