American multinational company Mastercard and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) have announced their partnership on Thursday 19 November 2020 to launch ‘Project Kirana‘. The project gives emphasis on women entrepreneurs by enabling them to launch new businesses, grow their existing businesses, and thrive in this highly competitive market.
The partnership was created under the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative (W-GDFP). With ‘Project Kirana’ they focus on addressing the inequality due to the gender gap that prevents women entrepreneurs to forge ahead in their career and thrive their business. The two year programme will be introduced first in selected cities of Uttar Pradesh- Lucknow, Kanpur, and Varanasi.
Alison Eskesen, Vice President, Mastercard Centre for Inclusive Growth, stated that they will focus especially on developing financial and literacy skills including banking, digital payments, savings, and credit and insurance as well. Critical skills needed for improving the profitability of Kirana shops will also be provided to women for improving their performance.
DAI (Digital Frontiers and Access) development services will be implemented along with the programme which will also include outreach to men and families to derive meaningful impact and reach from the programme. ‘Project Kirana’ is an extension of MasterCard’s commitment to empowering entrepreneurs through commercial products, partnerships, and charitable activities.
The main intention of the programme is to build financial and digital literacy skills and improving basic management skills which include inventory management, accounting, budget management, and consumer loyalty. It also focuses on addressing cultural barriers for women that prevent them from becoming successful kirana entrepreneurs.
Various studies signify how a country’s GDP can grow up to 12% to 25% by bringing in more women in business. Business activities carried out by women have great potential which can transform the economy of the country unfortunately these potentials are left untapped.
Mastercard has announced to invest Rs.250 crore to help Indian Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and enable them to recover from the impacts of COVID-19. This initiative would help small businesses to go online by growing digital payments awareness and giving them access to credit.