USAID challenges fund for Pakistani SME sector

Observer Report

United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to uplift Small and Medium Enterprises Activity (SMEA) has launched a “Challenge Fund” to provide grant and business development services support to improve the financial and operational performance of competitive Pakistani economic sectors such as Information Communication and Technology, hospitality, logistics, light engineering, minerals, textiles, and agri-business and processing, including targeted support to women-led businesses through this project.
The Challenge fund provides growth and innovation grants to start-ups and existing businesses. Under the project USAID provided a grant to Imran Soleh, a resident of Lahore. Soleh, after acquiring a grant from USAID improved his business and started making cheese of international quality.

Through the grant Soleh set up his company “Farmer Cheese Making Company” has started producing quality cheese in Pakistan that is comparable to international quality cheese standards. Soleh started cheese-making in his kitchen in 2009. He says that in addition to growth in my business the grant enabled him to create job opportunities for others.