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Etimad Online facilitating access to finance for SMEs

Etimad Online is an initiative to reduce inflation and alleviate poverty from Pakistan by promoting and helping local manufacturers to get proper shelf space and by connecting farmers directly to the end consumers. We have launched over 50 stores across Karachi and aiming to have more than 300 such stores across Sindh by April 2021. Through these stores, we have created selling space for local products and now encouraging and inviting young entrepreneurs to have their own businesses through the platform of Etimad Online Groceries. Etimad Online will be providing these budding entrepreneurs logistical support to make sure they reach the market properly.

Etimad Online is a brainchild of its chairman Mr. Azim Adil Sheikh who realized the need of such platform after Covid-19, which has wreaked havoc on the global economy. Pakistan, where there is no price mechanism for the basic commodities – sugar, wheat, poultry, meat, vegetables, fruits, dairy etc. and the absence of check and control system for the anti-market practices has lead in the artificial and unethical price rise. Everyone from retailers to wholesalers are charging premium rates, which is directly effecting the end consumer for whom it is becoming impossible to run a household on lower income and on the other hand the farmer who is producing everything, is still dying of hunger.

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Such price rise become the reason of inflation in a country that needs to be controlled for the economic betterment or growth and working towards the economic growth of a country is not only its governments responsibility and that’s why Etimad Online is also encouraging and supporting budding entrepreneurs and SMEs as supporting them will help in revival of the economy and will create millions of jobs. SMEs can serve as the backbone of economy if these are supported by the government also. As per many reports, SMEs constitute nearly 90% of all the enterprises in Pakistan and has 40% annual share in the GDP. Even after all of this, SMEs are constrained by financial and other resources.

Major help that these SMEs need are in financial resources as well as professional guidance. The government is ready to support the young entrepreneurs and introducing many new policies to give out loans for small businesses but that also could result in a chaos. Many policies and schemes have been introduced in previous governments also. We get to know of such financial programmes on regular basis but even then, the SMEs in the country are still struggling and now if these struggling entrepreneurs get loans through such schemes, it will create an alarming situation with the young generation in debt of government and banks because no one is training these entrepreneurs on how to run a business and that’s why Etimad Online has decided to provide that professional support and guidance to the budding entrepreneurs.

In the pre-launch event of Etimad Online where the Governor of Sindh was the Chief Guest, he told the audience that the government is introducing different policies to promote small and medium enterprises because Prime Minister’s vision is to encourage SMEs and promote small businesses and for that, through these policies, Government has launched Kamyab Jawan programme through which 21 different banks are giving loans to young entrepreneurs to start or scale up their businesses.

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Keeping that in mind, Etimad Online is working as a facilitator to the young entrepreneurs for the Kamyab Jawan project and facilitating people to apply for loans through which they start and scale up their businesses and not only that Etimad Online has gathered different professionals and experts from the fields of marketing, advertisement, designing, branding, production, procurement, packaging, finance, audit, human resource, communication etc. who all are ready to guide and help the young entrepreneurs under the umbrella of Etimad Online, which is not only training and helping the SMEs but also promising to bring them business and providing selling space across country which will increase the demand of local products and will also reduce inflation.

Many of these SMEs are becoming a part of Etimad Online by starting their own retail stores through Etimad Online Groceries. Although, people from all the genders are applying to become a part Etimad Online Groceries but as the Kamyab Jawan programme is encouraging more and more women participation and we at Etimad Online also understand the role of Women SMEs in the economic growth of our country, we are coming up with a specific project for Women SMEs to help them start their own business in the fashion industry.

The contributor Mehwish Ayyub is a Manager PR & Communications, Etimad Online

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