ISLAMABAD - Karandaaz Pakistan will provide a fixed grant of over Rs63 million to Bank Alfalah Limited for Supply Chain Financing Advisory Services.

The Director General for Economic Development in the Department for International Development (DFID), Rachel Turner attended the signing of an agreement between Karandaaz and Bank Alfalah. Under the agreement, Karandaaz Pakistan will provide a fixed grant of over Rs63 million to Bank Alfalah for Supply Chain Financing Advisory Services. This support will build the capacity of the bank to provide credit to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) using cutting edge financial products through especially trained teams.

Karandaaz Pakistan promotes access to finance for small businesses through commercially directed investments and financial inclusion for individuals. Karandaaz Pakistan has financial and institutional support from the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. SMEs in Pakistan will get more support from the UK, following a new agreement signed today with Karandaaz Pakistan.

Meanwhile separate agreements were also signed between Karandaaz and three business incubators – the Lahore University of Management Sciences, Balochistan University of Information Technology, Engineering and Management, and Invest2Innovate (Pvt) Ltd – to launch a countrywide programme for supporting women entrepreneurship with a grant of Rs25 million. Under this programme, women owned and operated businesses enrolled in the programme will be provided training and mentorship. Up to six competitively selected businesses will be provided funding of Rs15 million each for expanding their business.

On the occasion, Rachel emphasized the importance of the SME sector as an engine of growth for a developing economy. She said, “SMEs, especially women-owned businesses, can be a driving force for the sustainable growth of an economy. United Kingdom is proud to have invested in this vital sector in Pakistan and we are confident that this investment will have long-term dividends for Pakistan’s economy.”

Karandaaz CEO Ali Sarfraz said, “Karandaaz is committed to breaking barriers for small and medium entrepreneurs. The partnerships that we have forged today show the large spectrum of strategic interventions that we are making so that SMEs can build their capacities to expand and sustain their operations and also access finance for business development.”

Bank Alfalah Limited Head of Retails Khurram Hussain acknowledged the assistance from the DFID. He said, “This partnership is significant, not just to us as a bank but for the entire SME sector. Bank Alfalah has been declared Pakistan’s ‘Best Bank’ and ‘Best Customer Franchise’, and this alliance is further evidence of our commitment to our customers and to the development of the sector as a whole.”