Muhammad Sabir Shah, 33, and has experienced many difficulties in life. Ten years ago, Sabir lost his left arm and badly fractured both of his legs in an accident that left him bedridden. It was a traumatic experience for him, as it forced him to rely on his brothers and wife for both physical and financial support for many years.
Despite his limitations, Sabir wanted to find a way to generate an income and become financially independent. He heard about the First MicroFinance Bank Pakistans’s financial assistance services and approached the bank to start his own retail outlet for building and construction materials in the industrial city of Gujranwala (Punjab). He received his first loan from FMFB-Pakistan in 2009, followed by several others over the years for expansion.
With the help of FMFB, Sabir has managed to turn his life around. He started his initial business in Pakistan’s seventh-most-populous city from a single room in his house, with a small inventory. Initially, he only earned PKR 10,000 ($100) in a month. Now he has successfully grown his business from a micro-enterprise into a bigger venture, with monthly sales exceeding PKR 250,000, thereby increasing his monthly income to PKR 40,000 or more. With an improved income, Sabir is trying to ensure that his four children get a proper education to give them the best start in life, especially his six-year-old daughter. He also provides employment opportunities to other people in his community.
Sabir has been innovative in his business and sought to collaborate with labour and construction/repair service providers in his area to purchase raw materials from them. This marketing strategy has helped him in becoming a contact point to locate labour for repair/construction work. He has also involved the local transportation services in providing services to his customers, which has doubled their monthly income.
His next move is to rent a shop and convert it into a warehouse to store additional materials, allowing him to take on bigger projects.