LAHORE: Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) and National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) on Monday inked a broad-based Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to provide the SMEs with joint financial and non-financial services including collaborative research, training and lending programs with a special focus on promotion of young SMEs and women entrepreneurs.
The document of the MoU was signed here by Hashim Raza, Chief Executive Officer SMEDA and Arif Usmani, President NBP. Senior Officials of both the organizations and a number of the representatives from SME sector also attended the signing ceremony.
Under the MoU both the organizations have agreed to create awareness and outreach of financial and non-financial advisory services for young entrepreneurs, small businesses, agriculture, growers, women entrepreneurs and other SMEs in Pakistan.
Both the organizations would organize financial literacy awareness and training programs for students of vocational and technical institutions and will also provide handholding services to young entrepreneurs in collaboration with community organizations NGOs, chambers of commerce and industry (CCIs) and trade associations. Collaborative efforts would also be made to work with universities in the country to motivate and support students and fresh graduates for managing business start-ups. The MoU would also enable the NBP staff to have adequate awareness on importance of non-financial advisory services.
The MoU has also knitted SMEDA and NBP on undertaking joint research activities for enhancing SMEs access to finance and also developing pre-feasibility studies from the bank’s perspective, besides designing lending programs for various SME clusters.
One of the most important initiative under the MoU is collaboration of both the organization with the financial sector to develop online interactive repository of SME financing products and options for knowledge sharing and replication.
SMEDA CEO Hashim Raza and NBP President Arif Usmani, while addressing the singing ceremony assured to implement the MoU in letter and spirit, through strong mutual cooperation for achieving the goal of financial inclusion, diversity and access to finance for SMEs. They also assured to jointly organize capacity building programmes for SMEDA Help Desk and NBP officials to effectively assess and respond to financing needs of SMEs.
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