Standard Chartered and The British Asian Trust (BAT) orchestrated a grand ceremony to celebrate the success and impact of their collaborative “Agri-preneur Project”. This event was held at the British Deputy High Commission’s Runnymede Garden in Karachi, to celebrate the impact of this resourceful venture.
The key stakeholders and distinguished guests expressed their delight on the successful execution of the Agri-preneur project. In eighteen months, this livelihood initiative directly supported 1000 young women and men, enabling them to nurture profitable and sustainable agricultural enterprises, in the rural and peri-urban regions of Sindh and Punjab.
In the year 2020, Standard Chartered Foundation provided a donation to The British Asian Trust (BAT), for enabling the implementation of this Agri-preneur project. It is part of Futuremakers by Standard Chartered, a global initiative by Standard Chartered Bank to tackle inequality by promoting economic inclusion for disadvantaged young people, including those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The project aimed to identify, develop and sell agricultural products thatpromise strong potential in the local markets. Today, it has produced great results, via the local implementing partners: the Sindh Agricultural & Forestry Workers Organization (SAFWCO) and a renowned NGO named – Shirakat.
Rehan Shaikh, Chief Executive Officer, Standard Chartered Pakistan personally graced this vibrant ceremony along with the Deputy Head of Mission – Martin Dawson and the Deputy Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan – Ms. SimaKamil. The Chief Executive Officer of The British Asian Trust – Richard Hawkes also hosted these guests of honour and many other distinguished personalities, who were excited to discuss the insights and knowledge gained from this socioeconomic intervention.
Standard Chartered Foundation funded this programme which leveraged the vast experience of BAT – an organisation that specialises in running Livelihoods projects within Pakistan, to provide valuable support to the young entrepreneurs. The programme also engaged numerous experts and in-country delivery-partners, to combine the development of technical and business skills. Moreover, the Agri-preneurs were provided with vital market-linkages to sell their products. They were also trained to access or develop financial-resources for future growth of their businesses.
Rehan M. Shaikh, CEO, Standard Chartered Bank stated that: “We are proud to share the success of our programme which was launched in collaboration with British Asian Trust a year ago. This was part of the Bank’s Futuremakers initiative to empower the next generation to learn, earn and grow. The Bank and the Trust feel privileged to provide young people with the right support and opportunities for lifting participation. This programme has been able to effectivelyprovide vocational and business-skills training to enable women and young people to increase their incomes and reduce their vulnerability, through agricultural enterprise development.
Agriculture continues to play a pivotal role for Pakistan economy and we are excited to play our part in supporting the renewed focus and initiatives of the Government and State Bank of Pakistan aimed at providing sustainable economic conditions and futures for people linked with this critical sector.”
Richard Hawkes, Chief Executive of the British Asian Trust said, “In eighteen months, we’ve seen people’s lives changed as they have established successful businesses after taking part in this project. With support from Standard Chartered Foundation, and the efforts of our partners SAFWCO and Shirakat, we are delighted to see so many people achieve sustainable incomes for themselves and their families.”
The participants displaying their products during the event also received valuable gifts of appreciation. Before the current Agri-preneur project, The British Asian Trust’s Livelihood programme had already conducted several other programmes. Its previous projects had also supported more than 10,000 women and young people, to improve their lives and income,through employment, or setting up their own enterprises.