Visa Foundation Supports Pakistani Small and Micro Business ‘Akhuwat’ with $250,000 in Funding
Akhuwat receives the Visa Foundation funding to support COVID-19 relief loans with an emphasis on female-led small businesses
Visa Foundation announced $250,000 in funding to support small and micro businesses (SMBs) in Pakistan. This funding includes grants to programs that provide SMBs with training, support services and access to capital, with a gender-inclusive and diverse lens. The local recipient of the grant is Akhuwat, which is the world’s largest interest-free microfinance organization that works to alleviate poverty and empower socially and economically marginalized communities. The organization received the funding to support COVID-19 relief loans with an emphasis on female-led small businesses.
The funding is part of Visa Foundation’s Equitable Access Initiative, a $200 million strategic commitment announced in April 2020 to address the longer-term needs of SMBs, with an emphasis on fostering women’s economic advancement, which will be critical to long-term economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“SMBs are the backbone of the economy. It is crucial to empower SMB-owners and entrepreneurs with resources, knowledge, and skills that can support them in rebuilding -or starting- stronger businesses in the current context,” said Kamil Khan, Visa’s Country Manager for Pakistan. “At Visa we are proud that Visa Foundation is funding an organization such as Akhuwat that are addressing the needs and helping to unlock barriers for funding that gender diverse and inclusive SMBs face in Pakistan, and in doing so, helping build stronger communities where everyone can thrive.”
SMBs account for more than 90 percent of global businesses and nearly 60 percent of global employment. There is a $300 billion annual credit deficit in funding for women-owned small and micro businesses globally, which is expected to grow given the current economic crisis’s impact.
“Now more than ever, equitable and efficient access to resources and capital is crucial for SMBs’ sustainability and growth,” said Graham Macmillan, President of the Visa Foundation. “Visa Foundation is committed to funding organizations that help enable SMBs seeking to advance a more inclusive economy.”
Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) and Visa Foundation are committed to providing resources that help SMBs to grow and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Visa works to empower SMB-owners and entrepreneurs with knowledge, skills, and access to networks and financial services that improve their economic livelihoods, ultimately creating a ripple effect throughout their communities.