Skip to main content

SMEs in Pakistan

This year we worked in partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to deliver a pilot training programme for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Pakistan. This was in response to UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown's 2008 Call to Action, where he urged the private sector to deploy its core business skills to help meet the UN's Millennium Development Goals - objectives intended to address the world's development challenges by 2015.

Our programme focused on the 'S' in SME, targeting those businesses with potential for growth that are traditionally underserved by the financial sector. Our Chief Executive in Pakistan Badar Kazmi launched the first workshop with the Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan in Lahore in March. Subsequent workshops were held in Gujranwala, Faisalabad, and Sialkot.

The programme involved 146 SME participants, 90 per cent of whom were existing customers. We offered two training modules: one in basic finance and accounting and the other in customer service. These modules were based on the IFC's BusinessEdge toolkit. We also offered one day mentoring sessions later in the year, in each of the four cities.

We conducted baseline and post training surveys to measure satisfaction, behaviour change, and the business impact of this programme.

For the SMEs:

  • Improved Business Management Skills - 69 per cent of participants directly applied the training to their business activities.
  • Strengthened Financial Reporting - the number of participants who prepared cash flow statements increased from 70 per cent to 90 per cent, and the number who prepared profit and loss and income statements increased from 81 per cent to 89 per cent. Improved Credit History -prior to the training, 20 per cent of the participants' Electronic Credit Information Bureau (e-CIB) reports highlighted irregular credit histories. Following training, 71 per cent of those participants with irregular credit histories either cleared or decreased their outstanding amounts.

For Standard Chartered:

  • Allowed us to demonstrate our commitment to being a long-term business partner to SME clients.
  • Strengthened our relationships with local stakeholders through collaboration with the State Bank of Pakistan, local chambers of commerce, and the IFC.

In 2010 we will build on the success of this pilot and roll the programme out across other countries in our geographical footprint.

Report tools

Annual Report and Accounts 2009