by Nasir Taimoori
Mariam Rehman from Rahim Yar Khan is the epitome of hard work and perseverance, who sought to open her own business to relieve her family from financial constraints. Despite having limited capital and increasingly challenging social and cultural barriers, she managed to open a small salon in her native city with the support of her husband. “It was not an easy task to start my own business but my husband motivated me to do so. I was determined to overcome the difficulties and circumstances and hence, I took the opportunity and started my beauty parlor,” shared Mariam.
An Ode to Hard work, Passion and Success
Soon enough, Mariam realized that her salon was not making a reasonable profit and planned on expanding it to offer a varied range of services for clients. However, business expansion demanded more capital, and unfortunately, Mariam did not have adequate resources to fund it. She discussed the dilemma with her close friends and family and was informed about Mobilink Microfinance Bank’s (MMBL) easy financial support for women-owned businesses as well as SMEs. After learning about MMBL’s loan service, Mariam decided to contact the Bank to apply for a small loan. “My husband and I searched for affordable sources of financing and mutually agreed that MMBL’s Fori Cash loan was our best option,” recalls Mariam. “I applied for MMBL’s Fori Cash Loan and received PKR 130,000 for the first loan amount, through a seamless process. The loan enabled me to serve my customers more effectively. My confidence and determination to achieve better results grew manifolds and empowered me to successfully expand my beauty salon into a well-trusted small enterprise.”
MMBL’s Fori Cash loan improved the quality of life for Mariam as it provided her family with the financial stability they needed. Satisfied with the results, Mariam decided to apply for another loan cycle. To upgrade her salon, she applied for a second loan. “This time, I applied for MMBL’s Karobar Loan and received PKR 100,000 that allowed me to install better equipment,” explains Mariam.
What started as a small step towards financial empowerment turned out to bring true financial stability for Mariam with the help of MMBL’s Fori Cash Loan and Karobar Loan. Building on its success, MMBL strives to deliver access to easy financial support for struggling female entrepreneurs in Pakistan. With the help of the microfinance loans provided by MMBL, Mariam was able to expand her beauty salon and consequently receive a quick return on her initial investment.
“Owning a small business has given me the freedom to provide for my family. MMBL has empowered me to believe that I can continue to achieve success as long as I strive to work hard,” shares Mariam.
Women make almost 49% of the total population in Pakistan but financial, social, and cultural barriers restrict them from engaging in the economic sphere. To achieve complete financial inclusion, Pakistan needs to provide its female population with equal opportunities and encourage them to be truly empowered.
Keeping this aim in mind, MMBL is determined to achieve financial inclusion across the nation with its wide portfolio of uniquely designed products and services to marginalized communities and individuals who are unable to access traditional banking services. With over 38 million registered users including 14 million monthly active mobile wallets, MMBL recognizes the need to provide greater financial access for women and enhance their financial literacy. MMBL has transformed many lives by offering sustainable digital enablement and financial empowerment, especially for women-owned SMEs. Staying true to its passion for promoting women empowerment, the bank initiated its flagship program Women Inspirational Network (WIN) earlier this year, which is aimed at upskilling women entrepreneurs and uplifting them nationwide.
(Nasir Taimoori is a freelance journalist working for different digital publications. He writes on various social, national and international issues. He has also an interest in translation.)