Ease of doing business for MSMEs: Fintech company BharatPe under its corporate social responsibility initiative BharatPe Cares has partnered with NITI Aayog’s Women Entrepreneurship Platform (WEP) to support women entrepreneurs in the country. The company said the core focus area will be to facilitate the development of a first-of-its-kind aggregator platform that gives access to peer support, mentorship, networking channels and learning resources to women entrepreneurs.
The initiative is under BharatPe’s company PAYBACK’s CSR programme. BharatPe had acquired PAYBACK – a multi-brand loyalty programme in 2021 from American Express and ICICI Investments Strategic Fund.
According to the sixth economic census by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, women comprise only 13.76 per cent of the total entrepreneurs in India, which is 8.05 million out of the total 58.5 million entrepreneurs.
Also read: Over 3,000 MSMEs led by women entrepreneurs shut post Covid: Govt data
With this in mind, the partnership aims to address the constraining barriers faced by women entrepreneurs across the landscape in India and facilitate a level playing field wherein women enjoy equal opportunities for growth, the company said in a statement.
Nalin Negi, CFO and interim CEO, BharatPe, said, “As a homegrown fintech, our regular engagement with women solopreneurs and small business owners has helped us understand the challenges faced from their lens – the most important being lack of access to financial know-how, networking channels, mentorship and fundraising opportunities.”
“Our partnership with WEP is aimed at facilitating the development of a plug-and-play digital infrastructure to address the existing gaps and aid the growth of women entrepreneurs,” he said.
Anna Roy, Mission Director, WEP, added that while the entrepreneurial ecosystem in India is thriving but women-led businesses still need a lot of support to help scale businesses, and more so due to social biases.
“Women entrepreneurship platform is a public-private initiative that aims at providing a continuum of support to women entrepreneurs by leveraging the network of various stakeholders who are part of the ecosystem,” said Roy.
Also read: Realizing Women’s Financial Inclusion: from Access to Usage of Bank Accounts
According to BharatPe, it will also facilitate the development of learning sources curated around specific sectors to support capability development and equip women entrepreneurs with the required domain knowledge to scale their businesses.
As per the MSME ministry’s FY23 annual report, out of 6.08 crore proprietary units in the country, only 20.3 per cent were owned by women entrepreneurs. In fact, post Covid till February 2, 2023, as many as 3,057 MSMEs led by women entrepreneurs were shut, showed data from the Udyam portal shared by the minister of state in the MSME ministry Bhanu Pratap Singh Verma in the Rajya Sabha recently.
Subscribe to Financial Express SME (FE Aspire) newsletter now: Your weekly dose of news, views, and updates from the world of micro, small, and medium enterprises