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Facebook introduces financial education initiative for women-led businesses in Pakistan

In a remarkable step to promote women empowerment, Facebook decided to expand its women-empowerment-centered project, ‘SheMeansBusiness’ to Pakistan.

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To boost the financial inclusion and resiliency of women-led businesses in Pakistan, social media giant Facebook has decided to expand its women-empowerment-centered project to Pakistan.

Launched in 2016, ‘SheMeansBusiness’ is currently operational in 21 countries around the globe, including Pakistan and more. The program supports women-owned enterprises to enter the digital economy, through skills training and business inspiration.

Till now, more than 1 million women have been educated in digital skills across 38 markets by Facebook and its partners. Facebook conducted BRFE with USAID SMEA, targeting the alumni of SheMeansBusiness digital marketing training program.

Implemented in collaboration with State Bank and the USAID Small and Medium Enterprise Activity (SMEA).  The goal of the new component of the program, ‘Business Resilience through Financial Education (BRFE)’ is to improve financial management skills to enhance the flexibility and sustainability of women-led small and medium businesses (SMBs) in the country.

BRFE was virtually inaugurated at an official event Embassy Islamabad by US Embassy Islamabad Chargé d’affaires Lesslie Viguerie and Deputy Governor, State Bank of Pakistan Sima with a number of senior government officials and representatives of Facebook, Chambers of Commerce, USAID, Ministry of Commerce and Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) in attendance.

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Director of Policy Programmes and Government Outreach for the Asia Pacific at Facebook and Global Head of SheMeansBusiness Beth Ann Lim delivered the keynote speech, highlighting Facebook’s objectives of ‘SheMeansBusiness’ and the newly-launched Business Resilience through Financial Education (BRFE) component in Pakistan along with other Asia Pacific countries.

“Financial education is crucial for sustainability of women-led businesses in Pakistan and elsewhere. SheMeansBusiness mirrors Facebook’s long-term commitment to supporting the economic development of women in the APAC region, with a strong focus on sustainability of women-led businesses”, she said.

In a video message, Chargé d’affaires Lesslie Viguerie highlighted that the US Government holds the economic empowerment of women as a key pillar of its development efforts in Pakistan and across the world and firmly believes that investing in women’s empowerment can help eradicate extreme poverty and build vibrant economies.

Deputy Governor of State Bank Sima Kamil lauded the efforts of Facebook and other partners for socio-economic uplift of women in Pakistan. She said it is crucial for women-led small and medium businesses to achieve a degree of sustainability and resiliency through skill enhancement and access to finance.

Moreover, the event also included two-panel discussions with members of the Ministry of Commerce, State Bank of Pakistan, USAID, and with the alumni of the pilot program of BRFE. The panel members discussed the significance of financial management skills for women SMBs with a particular emphasis on problems and opportunities and exchanged ideas for promoting the financial inclusion of women by overcoming the current obstacles.

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