Market scoping exercises involving female entrepreneurs revealed that unfavourable business and regulatory environments, coupled with societal and cultural barriers, lack of networks, knowledge and links to high-value markets impeded access to finance for women-led and managed businesses. While this was a problem for SMEs in general, it was disproportionately impacting women in Pakistan.
Recognizing that financial institutions were reluctant to develop a sustainable strategy to address this significant market gap, Karandaaz launched its own program to help serve women-owned businesses.
Karandaaz Women Entrepreneurship Challenge (WEC) has evolved into Women Ventures. Women Ventures (WV) is an institutionalized and scaled-up approach to supporting women-led businesses in Pakistan. WV will be accepting applications on a rolling basis throughout the year, from high growth, scalable, women-led enterprises seeking growth capital. To maximize chances of success for women entrepreneurs, Karandaaz will also be providing business development support to selected businesses.