Crediting the Common: Microfinancing for the better

Shazia’s story of empowerment through financial inclusion

07:17 PM | 1 Aug, 2021
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 Success comes to those who make a sincere effort towards its achievement. They take initiative, struggle and persevere through hardships but never lose their focus. They may not end up changing the world but they do manage to alter the course of their own lives whilst producing a concrete change in their community circles through setting the right example and exerting a positive influence. 

Shazia Waqas, aged 36, a resident of Lahore’s Maryam Nishat Colony and mother of three is an enterprising role model who was able to convert challenges into growth opportunities for herself and capitalized on them through her commitment and untiring efforts. 

Shazia had always dreamed of running a garments outlet to generate a sustainable revenue stream for herself and her three children but lacked the necessary capital to kickstart her business venture. Many people had cautioned her about the risks associated with being a business owner but she remained steadfast about her decision of taking the reins of her life in her own hands to provide for her family.

While exploring options for financing her dream venture, she was approached by a representative of Pakistan’s largest digital bank, Mobilink Microfinance Bank Limited (MMBL), who offered her a microloan of PKR 100,000 to initiate her business. This was a unique opportunity for the would-be home entrepreneur and she immediately decided to avail it. Owing to the Bank’s comprehensive digital ecosystem that accommodates swift and seamless operations, Shazia’s loan request was readily processed.

Having secured the necessary capital, Shazia converted an outer room of her house into the shop area for her outlet, stocked it with cloths and garments, and was soon able to open it for business. The word spread around the locality and gradually customers started visiting her store. Most of them were inspired by her commitment and steadfastness in realizing her dream and were eager to support her. This support coupled with Shazia’s relentless hard work helped the venture take off and return healthy profits. Within a year, she was able to repay her loan.

The business showed potential for further growth and Shazia decided to expand the enterprise by procuring further financial support from MMBL. She received an amount of PKR 125,000 during the second loan cycle and expanded the business by adding ladies’ and kids' garments to her inventory. The idea worked and she was able to secure more financial returns for herself and her family. Her business also started making a socio-economic impact in the locality, as she hired two helpers to meet the increasing sales and customer footfall at the outlet.

With her feet strongly anchored, the home entrepreneur is ready to take a longer leap in the future. She has great expansion plans in the making to take her business to the next level. In the next loan cycle, she plans to rebrand her shop and install an air conditioner to improve the ambiance and make it more comfortable for the customers, besides adding new racks, fresh stock, and a Juki machine to the outlet.

“I wouldn’t have made it this far without the timely financial backing from MMBL”, says Shazia while sharing her experience. “The loans proved instrumental in materializing the plan that earlier existed only on the paper. However, the most important aspect is the easy access to financial services provided by MMBL that truly enabled me to carry the plan forward. It is heartening to see how the bank prioritizes financing women-led enterprises and enables them to play a proactive role in the society.”

 Being the largest digital bank in the country, Mobilink Microfinance Bank Limited (MMBL) is committed to bringing women into the fold of financial inclusion by providing easy access to key financial services like savings, credit, insurance, and payments, etc. Only 29% of women in Pakistan have a bank account, among the lowest in the world, and this disparity severely impedes national economic development. Given the wide gap, MMBL has made women's empowerment a top strategic priority and has undertaken effective steps to reduce the gender divide in financial inclusion.

Women Inspirational Network (WIN) is MMBL’s flagship program that focuses on enabling women through the provision of financial services, skills enhancement workshops, and training in entrepreneurship. The bank’s comprehensive digital products and services portfolio effectively drives its women empowerment initiatives far across the country, especially in remote rural regions, to promote financial inclusion for all.