At a ceremony held in Islamabad, the United States government, represented by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), celebrated the successful conclusion of its six-year Small and Medium Enterprise Activity (SMEA). The event, which coincided with Global Entrepreneurship Week, honoured the accomplishments of Pakistani entrepreneurs who received finance and assistance through SMEA to create and expand their small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs).
Through SMEA, the United States assisted Pakistani entrepreneurs in overcoming obstacles, securing capital from the private sector, and strengthening their firms. Entrepreneurship and innovation contribute to the growth of a nation’s economy, as well as its employment, productivity, and commerce. This USAID-funded initiative has helped over 6,000 SMEs and granted grants to 141 SMEs over the previous six years, creating $158 million in revenue, leveraging $51.5 million in private sector investment, and increasing exports by $74 million. 28 percent of the 6,000 SMEs funded by SMEA were owned by women. Additionally, SMEA created nearly 48,900 positions, of which 30% were occupied by women.
SMEA was a component of U.S. assistance to Pakistan designed to encourage private sector-led, inclusive economic growth by enhancing the business-friendly environment and expanding employment opportunities. SMEA increased the competitiveness of Pakistani small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in target industries such as agribusiness, information and communications technology, textiles, hospitality, logistics and packaging, light engineering, and women-led businesses.
At the ceremony, USAID Pakistan Mission Director Reed Aeschliman stated,
“I am pleased to see that the modest seeds we planted through USAID SMEA’s funding and company development initiatives have yielded profitable realities and inventive solutions for future generations. Since 1975, the United States and Pakistan have been development partners. We share a vision for a vibrant private sector, enhanced business practises, robust business-to-business connections, pro-business policy reforms, competent human resources, and expanded access to financing. This vision is directly reflected in SMEA. Such steps can go a long way toward assisting SMEs to realise their full potential, as proven by the USAID SMEA.”
USAID supports private sector-led economic growth in Pakistan in order to create jobs, encourage entrepreneurship, and expand economic possibilities. SMEA has successfully improved the environment for private sector-led growth and enhanced the financial and operational performance of enterprises as part of the US government’s long-term commitment to assist Pakistanis build a more prosperous future.