How we Created a Positive Ripple by Digitally Empowering Entrepreneurs

Recently we celebrated the success of the ‘Digital Acceleration of Youth-led Microenterprises’ project. This initiative, spanning 18 months, has empowered over 1,000 young individuals, fostering sustainable livelihoods through digital literacy and enterprise growth.    

Back in 2022, having just come out of lockdown we launched our 18-month Digital Acceleration for Youth-led Microentrepreneurs project supported by Citi Foundation. The programme saw us provide business development training with a strong focus on learning digital skills, introductions to vendors in markets and mentorship through our partners AWF Pvt. Ltd. and CIRCLE Women. A total of 1040 members of the community were supported, of which over 900 were women.   

The results speak for themselves. 574 entrepreneurs experienced an increase to their incomes of at least 15% and 200 new jobs were created. Also setting off a ripple effect of economic growth for the larger community.  

We carefully crafted the programme syllabus to provide a comprehensive and impactful learning experience for all our participants, offering a blended learning approach with 44 hours of training, including in-person sessions and online modules. Personalised business coaching sessions, interactive training methods, and hands-on activities ensured active participation, knowledge retention, and practical application of learned concepts.  

But the support didn’t stop there. Beyond the training period, participants were provided ongoing support through online resources, networking opportunities, and a community platform. We offered a holistic approach with support provided at every step.  

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Regular evaluation and opportunities to feedback allowed us to refine the project based on participant input. To maintain communication and support, WhatsApp groups, Facebook communities, and cohort leaders were established, creating platforms for women entrepreneurs to connect, collaborate, and promote their businesses.  

Our focus on inclusivity for the programme resulted in training 14 transgender individuals and 20 members from religious minority communities, fostering diversity in entrepreneurship.   

It is always a humbling experience to be immersed in the communities that we work with and hearing the stories of hope, determination and empowerment directly from our trainees. Witnessing the positive outcomes, job creation, and economic impact reinforced through this programme serves as a beacon of hope for the potential of digital literacy in ushering prosperity across Pakistan and the rest of South Asia.  

By Nazia Bilal, Senior Manager Programmes (Livelihoods), British Asian Trust 

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