MasterCard announces first grant program in Bangladesh

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US$35000 to BURO Bangladesh will go towards providing business and financial literacy, and entrepreneurial training to 100,000 individuals in the country

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Dhaka, Bangladesh, December 1,2013— In line with its commitment towards supporting communities and helping them build a brighter future, MasterCard announced its first grant program in Bangladesh to BURO Bangladesh.

The MasterCard and BURO Bangladesh program will focus on providing business and financial literacy, and entrepreneurial training to 100,000 individuals. By the end of the training, more than 60,000 recipients would have taken the first steps towards starting their own businesses, and thus improving their position in the global economy, raising their standard of living and eventually their communities.

The unemployment rate in Bangladesh is 5%, with about 40% of the population being underemployed. Many participants in the labor force are able to work only a few hours a week at low wages. However, with a growing middle class, access to information technology and shaping of e-commerce in the country, the people of Bangladesh have the tools to fight poverty and unemployment through self-employment. MasterCard and BURO Bangladesh program aims to educate these communities on how to succeed in business and manage personal and business assets. Currently, BURO Bangladesh is already working with this community in these areas which is managed by 5,500 full time work forces.

Dr. Atiur Rahman, Governor of Bangladesh Bank, along with Michael McCarthy, group head, Human Resources, Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, MasterCard; Vikas Varma, area head, South Asia, MasterCard; Pilar Ramos, senior vice president, Global Public Policy and Regulatory Strategy, MasterCard handed over the grant to Zakir Hossain, Executive Director, BURO Bangladesh.

Speaking on the occasion, Vikas Varma, area head, South Asia, MasterCard said: “We are pleased to partner with BURO Bangladesh. MasterCard’s global philanthropic efforts are focused on entrepreneurship as we believe this will help individuals overcome barriers to financial inclusion. Through this program with BURO Bangladesh we hope to help people in Bangladesh achieve positive economic outcomes for themselves, their families and their communities.”

Mr. Zakir Hossain, Executive Director of BURO Bangladesh said: “Principles of self-determination, independence and individual initiative are characteristic of self-employment, and it contains potential for significant reward for the individual, his community and the economy at large. For potential entrepreneurs, these characteristics depend on financial literacy and entrepreneurial training, which this program will directly address.”

Based on the growth potential of the market driven by the growing middle class and e-commerce, MasterCard recently inaugurated its office in Bangladesh. The establishment of a representative office in the country is a demonstration of its commitment to its existing customers in Bangladesh and will enable MasterCard to further enhance its working relationships with Bangladesh-based banks, merchants and consumers.

Globally, MasterCard supports a variety of organizations and programs that help create and sustain entrepreneurs around the world by not only supporting business and financial literacy programs for entrepreneurs but also helping small businesses thrive and grow by supporting programs that provide them with education, training and technology.

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About MasterCard

MasterCard (NYSE: MA), www.mastercard.com, is a technology company in the global payments industry. We operate the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. MasterCard’s products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Follow us on Twitter @MasterCardNews, join the discussion on the Cashless Pioneers Blog and subscribe for the latest news on the Engagement Bureau.

About CSR at MasterCard

MasterCard believes all people should have an opportunity to participate in the global economy. However, millions of people around the world lack access to the most basic financial tools. They don’t have secure places to save money, reliable ways to transfer it, or safe ways to transport it. Our payment innovations, such as prepaid and mobile solutions, as well as our philanthropic and consumer education programs, bring the benefit of finance to the unbanked and underbanked, helping them build a stronger future for themselves, their families and their communities.

About BURO Bangladesh

BURO began in 1990. BURO Bangladesh is a ‘not-for-profit’ organization which specializes in financial inclusion through micro-finance.  It offers solutions to tackle poverty, to promote inclusive development and to address the Millennium Development Goals.

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