An SME Mela was held on January 24 and 25, by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) in partnership with the Multan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI). The event was attended by officials and members of chambers of industry and commerce, associations of traders and women entrepreneurs, nd SMEs clusters of Multan, Khanewal, Vehari, D.G. Khan besides officials of SBP BSC and banks. Mela inauguration speaker Muhammad Usman Dar, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Youth Affairs, spoke about Prime Minister’s Program for Young Entrepreneurs, which he said had made great strides. In particular, he lauded his personal devotion to the cause. Muhammad Usman Dar, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Youth Affairs, speaking in the inaugural session of the Mela, highlighted the progress of Prime Minister’s Kamyab Jawan Program especially designed for young entrepreneurs in the country. He praised the personal commitment of Governor SBP, Dr. Reza Baqir, appreciated efforts for expanding access to credit at grass root levels including small businesses, women entrepreneurs, and people dreaming to own their home through new credit schemes such as SME Asaan finance (SAAF), Mera Pakistan Mera Ghar (MPMG) and SBP Refinance Scheme for Women Entrepreneurs. Muhammad Ashraf Khan, Managing Director SBP Banking Services Corporation (SBP BSC) inaugurated the event and while giving his keynote address said that SBP is making all its efforts to enhance collaboration with the industry and chambers across the country to spread awareness of its credit schemes to boost their utilization. Besides, SBP BSC in partnership with Industry Chambers and Women Associations is working under a new mechanism to identify potential businesses and their employees to apply in the banks for loans under concessional credit schemes for SMEs and housing. Highlighting the objectives of the SME Mela, he stated that this would bring banks and business community under one roof, providing an opportunity to micro, small, and medium enterprises to seek guidance from concerned officials of SBP and commercial banks about concessionary refinance schemes. He encouraged those SMEs to apply under SBP’s SAAF that have strong business viability but do not have collateral to offer. At this occasion, Khawaja Muhammad Hussain, President MCCI thanked both Special Assistant to Prime Minister and MD SBP BSC, assuring full support of all regional chambers for creating awareness about GoP and SBP concessional financing schemes among the business community of Multan and surrounding areas. On day one of the Mela, participants were briefed about the key features of the SAAF and PM Kamyab Jawan Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme. Under SAAF Scheme, collateral-free financing of up to Rs10 million is available through eight participating banks. Similarly, under Kamyab Jawan Scheme, concessional loans of up to Rs25 million are available at the end-user rate of 3pc to 5pc. On the second day of Mela, participants were apprised about key features of SBP’s financing scheme for renewable energy and Mera Pakistan Mera Ghar (MPMG) Scheme. Over 600 businesses and firms attended the Mela and visited the banks’ stalls to seek knowledge of SBP’s financing schemes and banks’ loan products. Notably, 264 participants registered themselves at various bank stalls to express interest in concessional schemes, including 105 SMEs and women entrepreneurs who applied on the spot for financing under different SBP schemes and Kamyab External Relations Department Jawan Program. During the event, MD SBP BSC also distributed cheques among the borrowers of HBL, Bank of Punjab and Bank Alfalah under SBP’s SAAF.