COVID-19 achieved the unthinkable: it expedited digitalization by more than a decade across sectors and industries. Due to restrictions and social distancing conventions, even small companies and kiranas have chosen to go digital. Accepting online payments, ordering supplies online, controlling inventories, and more were all part of the package.
All of it, though, came with its own set of difficulties. Despite a dynamic startup ecosystem in the country, sometimes finding funds and investors for small business entrepreneurs in the growth phase is still a challenge. Here are five organizations that are providing solutions and facilitating financial uplift for small businesses by providing low-interest loans and on-demand financing for working capital. They also offer expert guidance on how to invest money and timely bill payment alerts to help people maintain clean credit histories to qualify for larger loans.
StoreKing, a rural retail ecosystem that connects suppliers and financial institutions to rural consumers with Kirana as an anchor, also leverages the retail/kirana stores to cater to the rural masses, by connecting them with NBFC lenders, who are otherwise inaccessible to the village folks. StoreKing has already established a network of 25000 kirana stores, which will be utilized to connect rural folks to NBFC lenders. StoreKing has so far disbursed 120 crores worth of loans and has also had a remarkable collection percentage of more than 99.6%.
Progcap (Desiderata Impact Ventures Private Limited) is a mission-driven, inclusive financing technology firm working to unlock the transformational impact of millions of micro and small enterprises in the last mile by providing them affordable, customized finance and digitizing their supply chains. Progcap uses a mix of technology and its unique delivery model to underwrite credit and thus provide the under-banked semi-urban and rural retailers in India access to flexible, collateral-free working capital.
Sub-K is a digital finance (Fintech) company that offers affordable, accessible, and scalable financial and payment services to rural/urban areas that have difficulty accessing the traditional financial models. They seek to bridge the digital divide, and create a ‘financially included’ society, through a robust and widespread retail distribution network and in-house Fintech solutions. Sub-K creates a high-tech-high-touch operating infrastructure at the last mile to deliver meaningful financial services through a capital-light model and a wide distribution network. They also offer savings, credit, remittance, insurance, G2C, and B2C payments as a channel partner for formal financial institutions. Unlike single product FinTechs and exclusive digital platforms, Sub-K’s innovation lies in offering diversified financial services through digital solutions coupled with list mile connectivity. As a result, their services are cost-effective, customer-centric, highly accessible, and crafted according to the needs of the financially and digitally excluded population.
ShopKirana is a B2B – commerce that started with a vision to empower millions of retailers which connects 1.2 Bn+ population of India in terms of trade. The company is focused on technology and supply chain innovation that aims to empower retailers to be competitive by providing technology, operational expertise, and scale advantage. Idea is to partner with millions of retailers (by becoming part of their supply chain) and making it the biggest and quickest go-to-market channel for products and services. ShopKirana directly works with brands to give them a boost on the demand side and reach to masses with transparency and deep market intelligence.
OkCredit is a part of the Ok network – an ecosystem of apps aimed at digitising small and medium businesses (SMBs) across India. With technology that is simple and easy to access, the startup is solving various pain points in everyday functioning of small business owners, be it tracking their accounts, managing staff at their set-up or the need to go online. Ok network’s first product- OkCredit was launched in 2017 by Harsh Pokharna, Gaurav Kumar and Aditya Prasad. OkCredit has given a complete digital makeover to the traditional register book – ‘Bahi/Udhar Khata’ and made the daily bookkeeping task simpler and effective for millions of small businesses. The app not just helps small businesses keep track of credit transactions – both payments and receivables, it sends timely reminders and also makes it easier for them to collect and settle balance amounts quickly. The app has seen more than 20 million downloads.