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Visa launches global “She’s Next” program in partnership with HBL to empower women entrepreneurs

07:39 PM | 1 Nov, 2023
Visa launches global “She’s Next” program in partnership with HBL to empower women entrepreneurs
Source: Aamir Kureshi, Head Consumer, Agriculture & SME Banking – HBL, and Umar S. Khan, Country Manager for Pakistan – Visa, addressing the media at the She’s Next program’s press conference, on 1 November 2023. Senior members of both organizations were also present on this occasion.

KARACHI - Women-led businesses in Pakistan primarily face funding, digitization and advisory challenges according to Visa’s Women SMB Digitization Index survey. 

To address these challenges, Visa, a world leader in digital payments is launching its global She's Next grant program in Pakistan for the first time in partnership with HBL, Pakistan's largest private bank, which serves more than 36 million clients worldwide. 

She’s Next, empowered by Visa, is a global advocacy program that aims to support women-owned small businesses through funding, training and mentorship. Starting today, women entrepreneurs from all industries and sectors in Pakistan can apply on the She’s Next website for a chance to be among the five winners to receive a grant of US$ 10,000 each. Winners will also have access to a range of benefits including a tailored training program, She’s Next Club resources such as a workshop library and a community of entrepreneurs. Applications are open until 2 December 2023. 

Umar S. Khan, Country Manager for Pakistan, Visa, commented: “We’re proud to bring our successful ‘She’s Next’ global program to Pakistan, in partnership with HBL. Women entrepreneurs form a small percentage of the SME sector in Pakistan, facing unique challenges such as limited access to capital, lack of mentorship and dealing with gender stereotyping concerns where they are considered less capable of handling high-pressure situations. Currently, a robust digital infrastructure is critical for them to scale their businesses. She’s Next, underscores this vital shift, recognizes the potential of women entrepreneurs, and supports them to thrive innovatively.”

Aamir Kureshi, Head Consumer, Agriculture & SME banking – HBL, said: “HBL is committed to increasing women's participation in the economy by supporting financial inclusion. HBL and Visa have collaborated in She’s Next to develop women entrepreneurs. Through this partnership, we aim to provide women the skill set and training, so they have greater opportunities to improve their lives.”

To better understand the desires and challenges of female entrepreneurs in Pakistan face, Visa ran the Women SMB Digitization Index survey which revealed key aspects of the entrepreneurial journey and identified themes that would drive empowerment:

Theme 1: A Challenging Business Environment

Women in Pakistan are passionate about entrepreneurship, citing financial independence (48%) and leadership (41%) as top motivations. Funding their business is a serious challenge with 86% of women dipping into their savings, while 63% of respondents rely on friends and family. 

Theme 2: Advice from fellow entrepreneurs

Women entrepreneurs in Pakistan are eager to learn from their peers, with many women entrepreneurs requiring specific assistance on overcoming problems (61%), developing online sales (54%), and building a team of employees (43%). Nearly all (98%) women are keen on payment-related training. A section of women (33%) seek advice on the types of payments accepted from customers and are interested in workshops on managing stress in crisis (46%), using social media for promotion (40%), and creating an online store (32%).

Theme 3: Digitization 

Seven in 10 women entrepreneurs claim to be digitally savvy, with 99% respondents planning to digitize their business focusing on digital marketing, business leadership, AI and automation, software implementation, and analytics tools to generate insights and tools for customer engagement and retention. 

Most women entrepreneurs (69%) use both cash and cashless modes of payment, with digital payments weighing over cash in online and offline selling platforms. 

Since 2020, Visa has invested around US$ 3 million in over 250 grants and coaching for women SMB owners through the She’s Next grant program globally including in US, Canada, India, Ireland, Ukraine, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Morocco. 

Daily Pakistan Global Web Desk

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Currency Rates in Pakistan Today - PKR to US Dollar, Euro, Pound, Dirham, and Riyal 12 April

Pakistani currency remains unchanged against US dollar and other currencies in open market on April 12, 2024.

US Dollar rate in Pakistan

On Friday, the US dollar was being quoted at 277.4 for buying and 280.65 for selling.

Euro was quoted at 299.95 for buying and 302.9 for selling while British Pound stands at 349.5 for buying, and 353 for selling.

UAE Dirham AED was at 75.45 and Saudi Riyal's new rates was at 73.30. 

Today’s currency exchange rates in Pakistan - 12 April 2024

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