Ignite Program - A Partnership between CARE and Mastercard - CARE

Ignite Program: Unleashing the Power of Entrepreneurs

A woman sits at a desk with a pen and notebook. Behind her are shelves full of paperwork and files.

In partnership with the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, CARE’s Ignite Program unleashes the power of growth-oriented entrepreneurs to contribute to resilient, inclusive economies.


By taking a holistic approach to partnering with local financial and non-financial service providers, the Ignite Program opens up much-needed access to finance, technology, and networks and builds entrepreneurship capacity and skills. The program runs in Pakistan, Peru and Vietnam where large segments of unserved micro and small enterprises are ready for investment.


CARE Ignite x Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth logo lockup


Unleashing the Power of Entrepreneurs

Small businesses are the backbone of most economies, yet they remain unserved. Find out how CARE’s Ignite Program, supported by the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, is supporting entrepreneurs to expand their businesses and build resilience.

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Who we are targeting

Funded by a grant of 5.26m USD from the Mastercard Impact Fund, Ignite will reach 3.9 million entrepreneurs, directly supporting 131,000 entrepreneurs, with a strong emphasis on women. Focused on micro and small businesses with employees who have been in business for at least two years, this program will unleash their potential as agents for inclusive and sustainable economic growth. It will also build their resilience in the face of COVID-19 and increase financial security for entrepreneurs, their families, and employees.

The opportunity

Micro and small enterprises are the economic backbone of most economies worldwide, increasing employment and reinvesting in local communities. However, they are often described as the ‘missing middle’ as they remain unserved or underserved by financial and non-financial service providers. The total Micro, Small & Medium Enterprise finance gap in developing countries is 5 trillion USD.1

The Ignite Program aims to change that by working with local partners to adapt products and services to innovatively meet this vital group’s needs. The program focuses on serving women as, despite being disproportionately disadvantaged, they are: drivers of economic growth, good credit customers, fast adopters of ecommerce, and reinvest in local communities. Enabling women to gain better access to finance could unlock 330 billion USD in annual global revenue.2

Two women, Nguyen Thanh Tra and Trang, stand next to each other in front of a mustard yellow wall full of framed photos.

Core activities

  1. Increased access to adapted financial products & services
  2. Access to wrap-around services: capacity building, skills building, mentoring, digital tools
  3. Outreach campaigns promoting digital solutions, adapted products & services, and addressing social and institutional barriers

Latest news

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In 2020, millions of women left the workforce. As the pandemic accelerates the move toward a digital economy, women are at risk of being left behind.

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Ignite in Pakistan

Over three years, the Ignite project will reach almost 2 million entrepreneurs in Pakistan, accelerating the growth of 45,000 enterprises. Read More

Learn more

Ignite in Peru

Over three years, the Ignite project will reach almost 1 million entrepreneurs in Peru, accelerating the growth of 35,898 enterprises. Read More

Learn more

Ignite in Vietnam

Over three years, the Ignite project will reach almost 1 million entrepreneurs in Vietnam, accelerating the growth of 50,000 enterprises. Read More

Learn more


Nguyen Thi Hien, Specialist Foods, Vietnam

At age 21, Nguyen Thi Hien took over her family business. Since then, she's been taking the business world by storm.

Meet Hien

Saadia Shahid, Clothing Store, Pakistan

Saadia Shahid started her clothing business as a stitching center, and has gradually moved the business online.

Meet Saadia

Maria Elena Menacho García, Jewelry Stores, Peru

Maria Elena Menacho García has two jewelry stores and wants to expand online.

Meet Maria Elena

Tran Quynh Anh, Food Imports Business, Vietnam

Tran Quynh Anh imports foods and believes that passion and hard work will break down all barriers.

Meet Anh

Adnan Ali, Plastics Manufacturer, Pakistan

Adnan Ali has a strong head for business and is keen to diversify his plastics business.

Meet Adnan

María Julia Ancajima Prado, Food Production, Peru

María Julia Ancajima Prado has come a long way since starting domestic work at the age of only 13.

Meet María Julia

Fariha Irfan, Arts & Handicrafts Business, Pakistan

Fariha is supporting a network of artisans through her business.

Meet Fariha

Fouzia Qazi, Travel Business Owner, Pakistan

Fouzia Qazi is blazing the trail for female entrepreneurs in Pakistan.

Meet Fouzia

Mastercard and CARE announced their partnership for the Ignite Program during the Global Inclusive Growth Summit. The $5.26M partnership will reach 3.9 million entrepreneurs and open up much-needed access to finance, technology, and networks and build entrepreneurship capacity and skills.


  1. World Bank, 2020
  2. BNY Mellon & United Nations Foundation, 2018
  3. World Economic Forum, 2019