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Ignite in Pakistan

A woman wearing a blue headscarf stands in front of a group of women working on computers.


The Ignite project in Pakistan unleashes the power of growth-oriented entrepreneurs, contributing to a resilient and inclusive economy. It will also support the Government’s National Financial Inclusion Strategy for enhanced formal financial access. The project is part of CARE’s global Ignite Program, in partnership with the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, which runs in Pakistan, Peru, and Vietnam where there are large segments of unserved micro and small enterprises ready for investment. By partnering with local financial and non-financial service providers, Ignite opens up much-needed access to finance, technology and networks and builds entrepreneurship capacity and skills.

Interested in partnering with Ignite? Contact us at ignite@care.org.

Who we are targeting

Over three years, the Ignite project will reach nearly 2 million entrepreneurs in Pakistan, accelerating the growth of 45,000 enterprises and impacting 397,000 entrepreneurs, their employees and family members. At least 30% of entrepreneurs will be women. The project focuses on growth-oriented entrepreneurs with two to 10 employees who have been in business for at least two years.


A group of men kneel down on the floor together.

Key Activities & Partners

With a Financial Services Provider (FSP) to increase access to finance for entrepreneurs.

Design and delivery of a portfolio of adapted financial products and services.

With a specialized firm focusing on capacity building and enterprise development

Delivery of wrap-around services: capacity building, skills building, mentoring, and digital tools.

With a behavioral design agency linked to entrepreneurship ecosystem through mass campaigns.

Delivery of outreach campaigns promoting digital solutions for entrepreneurs.

The opportunity

Micro and small enterprises are the economic backbone of the Pakistani economy. There are almost 3.3 million SMEs in Pakistan, representing 30% of Pakistan’s GDP. They increase employment and reinvest in local communities. However, entrepreneurs – especially women – remain unserved or underserved by financial and non-financial service providers. Now is the time to act.


Meet Saadia

Name: Saadia Shahid

Location: Rawalpindi, Pakistan

Business: Online fabric store owner

Monthly Sales: PKR 80,000-100,000 (US $500-$625)

Employees: 4

Trading: Since 2015

Aspiration: “I want to grow my business and sell internationally.”

Needs: More financial capital to build up stock; skills and support to diversify; access to entrepreneurial networks


  1. Small & Medium Size Enterprises in Pakistan: Definition & Critical Issues, Pakistan Business Review 2017
  2. Global Financial Inclusion (Global Findex) Report 2017, World Bank
  3. GSMA Mobile Gender Gap Report 2020
  4. Sarfaraz et al (2014), The relationship between women entrepreneurship and gender equality
  5. Are Pakistan’s Women Entrepreneurs Being Served by the Microfinance Sector? World Bank Study 2013