Creating equal opportunities for women entrepreneurs: A necessity for gender equality & an economic priority

Mastercard and USAID partnered with each other under the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative (W-GDP) to launch ‘Project Kirana’ for empowering women entrepreneurs through financial inclusion.

December 19, 2020

Mastercard and USAID partnering together towards women empowerment through its Project Kirana.

Mastercard has committed US$ 250 million towards small and medium enterprises and US$ 33 million in India alone.

Project Kirana will support women with access to financial services, thereby bringing them into the formal economy.

Women entrepreneurs have been recognised as an untapped source of tremendous potential for economic growth.

Ushering in an era of growth for women entrepreneurs, Mastercard and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announced their partnership to launch ‘Project Kirana’, with a singular aim of building financial and literacy skills amongst the women entrepreneurs, which in turn will help in the country’s economic rehabilitation and growth. This project is a two-year long programme, finding itself initially manifested in select cities of Uttar Pradesh- Lucknow, Kanpur and Varanasi. The project aims to increase the revenue stream, expand financial inclusion and adopt digital payments for kirana shops that are owned or run by women. It also seeks to build financial and digital literacy skills; improve basic business management skills including inventory management accounting, budget management and customer loyalty; overcoming cultural barriers to help women become successful entrepreneurs, by also including this outreach to men, the family members and community. Project Kirana is designed to support women to provide them with financial services, thereby bringing them into the formal economy.

Globally, Mastercard has committed US$ 250 million towards SMEs (small and medium enterprises). In India alone the company has committed US$ 33 million to help SMEs and empower women entrepreneurs and help reboot Indian SMEs and enable business recovery amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Keeping this motion in mind, the company has launched multiple initiatives in India to help small businesses go online by facilitating more digital payments. 

Women owned businesses in India have enormous unused ability to successfully transform economies. They have the potential to create jobs not only for themselves but also create further employment opportunities. It is imperative to help women unlock their potential, strengthen their skills, and enhance their participation in business.