Mastercard, CARE International To Launch Strive Women Financial Health Programme For Female Entrepreneurs

The programme will focus on will focus on strengthening financial health of small women-led businesses by working with local partners in each market to deliver tailored financial products and support services and aims to reach 1.5 million entrepreneurs

Mastercard, CARE International To Launch Strive Women Financial Health Programme For Female Entrepreneurs

New program will focus on women as it aims to reach 1.5 million entrepreneurs in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, March 5, 2024 — To coincide with International Women’s Day, Mastercard’s Center for Inclusive Growth and CARE International in Pakistan are announcing the launch of Mastercard Strive

Women — a new program that aims to strengthen the financial health and resilience of small businesses in Pakistan with a focus on those led by women.

Strive Women, a global initiative that will run in Pakistan, Peru and Vietnam, recognizes that women-led small businesses are critical contributors to economies, communities and households worldwide. The program will focus on strengthening the financial health of small businesses by working with local partners in each market to deliver tailored financial products and support services while addressing

unique gender barriers that women-led businesses face.

In Pakistan, the initiative aims to reach 1.5 million entrepreneurs through campaigns while directly supporting over 100,000 entrepreneurs — the majority being women — to grow their businesses and increase their economic potential.

Held at The Marriott Hotel, Islamabad, the launch event for the Strive Women program brought together key influencers from government, the financial sector and business to discuss how they can build an

ecosystem to better support women entrepreneurs in Pakistan.

Strive Women builds on the success of the Ignite program, funded by the Mastercard Impact Fund, which unlocked USD 49.6 million in loans in Pakistan and directly supported 50,932 Pakistani entrepreneurs (35% women). Following the program, 90% of the participants increased their sales, and 93% reported higher confidence in running their businesses.

“Mastercard has been powering the economy and empowering the people of Pakistan for more than two decades. We are proud to play our role in shaping the country’s ambitious digital future, driving financial inclusion and fueling its economy. We are also committed to empowering women-led

businesses to launch, scale, and grow. The Strive Women program is an integral part of this commitment, closely aligning with Pakistan’s National Financial Inclusion Strategy. We are excited to build on the

success of the Ignite program as we enter this next chapter in our journey with CARE International,” said

J.K. Khalil, Cluster General Manager, MENA East, Mastercard.

“Since launching Strive Women last year with CARE, we have seen how program participants have been able to pay it forward and scale their businesses, which helps their communities thrive,” said Shamina Singh, Founder and President of the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth. “We are excited to go deeper with the program, and find ways to create even more opportunities for women entrepreneurs.”

“We are thrilled to embark on the next phase of our mission to improve the financial health of women entrepreneurs in Pakistan through our partnership and collaboration with Mastercard. The Strive

Women program underscores our commitment to fostering a robust ecosystem that nurtures the growth of women-led businesses. Women entrepreneurs play a pivotal role in driving economic progress, and by collectively addressing the barriers they face, we can unleash their full potential for exponential impact on our economy. As we launch Strive Women, we reaffirm our dedication to creating pathways for

women to thrive in the business landscape. Together with our partners, we aspire to cultivate an

environment where women entrepreneurs can flourish, innovate and contribute meaningfully to our society,” said Adil Sheraz, Country Director, CARE International in Pakistan.

Since 2005, CARE has carried out more than 140 projects and initiatives in Pakistan, addressing challenges around women’s equal access to and control of economic assets and decision-making at individual and household level. CARE’s programming aims at enhancing sustainable life-skills and

vocational training opportunities, improving legal and regulatory protection of productive resources, and collaborating with the government and private sector to promote an enabling working environment in Pakistan. Women’s Economic Empowerment is one of CARE’s priority areas of work in addition to Humanitarian Action, Food and Nutrition Security and Resilience to Climate Change. CARE International in Pakistan (CIP) reached 36.6 million people through program interventions from 2005 to 2022.

More details on Strive Women in Pakistan are available at:

About Mastercard (NYSE: MA)

Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships and passion, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments and businesses realize their greatest potential. With connections across more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all.

Jandre Nieuwoudt l

Notes to Editors:

Additional information on Strive Women

Strive Women will extend the scale and impact of previous programs, going deeper by building a broader ecosystem of stakeholders committed to long-term support for women-led small businesses. The program will also address the unique gender barriers women-led businesses face by testing innovations related to the climate crisis and childcare, which both disproportionately impact women. By taking a women-centered approach, Strive Women will seek to develop methods that can help small business owners balance both household and business cashflow, prepare for and manage financial shocks, and increase women’s decision-making power.

The Strive Women program will focus on four core pillars of work. These include supporting women-led small businesses to grow through increasing access and usage of financial products; partnering with financial services providers to co-design tailored products that best serve women-led small businesses; innovating to overcome gender barriers for women-led small businesses, such as childcare; and building ecosystems of support for women small business owners by activating networks and sharing learning tools.

About Mastercard Strive
Strive Women joins the Mastercard Strive portfolio. Launched in 2021 and supported by the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, Mastercard Strive is a portfolio of philanthropic programs that aim to help small businesses around the world thrive in the digital economy. Through targeted grantmaking and local partnerships, Mastercard Strive supports small businesses with the goal of building more resilient

enterprises that have more opportunities to grow and succeed. Strive Women joins programs active across the globe, including in the U.S., the U.K., Indonesia, Malaysia, and more.

About the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth
The Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth advances equitable and sustainable economic growth and financial inclusion around the world. The Center leverages the company’s core assets and competencies, including data insights, expertise, and technology, while administering the philanthropic Mastercard Impact Fund, to produce independent research, scale global programs, and empower a community of thinkers, leaders, and doers on the front lines of inclusive growth. For more information and to receive its latest insights, follow the Center on LinkedIn, Instagram and subscribe to its newsletter.

About CARE International in Pakistan
CARE is a leading global humanitarian and development organization fighting global poverty and places a special focus on working alongside women and girls. In Pakistan, CARE started its operations in 2005 and since then has supported the Government of Pakistan’s efforts to reduce poverty and suffering of the people affected by disasters. CARE’s programs focus on helping Pakistan achieve its Sustainable

Development Goals especially in the areas of Gender, Health, Education, Women’s Economic Empowerment and Emergency Preparedness and Response (EPR), Food Security and Livelihood,

nutrition and WASH. Since starting operations in Pakistan, CARE has responded with life-saving support to a series of large-scale disasters. Through emergency programs, CARE International in Pakistan (CIP) has provided relief, recovery and rehabilitation support to millions of Pakistanis affected by disastrous floods, earthquakes and displacement. CIP works through its local partners and a range of stakeholders for development, as well as emergency response related interventions, which makes collaboration a key component of its work, across the country. We are a nationally inclusive organization that strives to support the most vulnerable communities all over Pakistan, with particular attention to women and girls and youth.