Mastercard Commits INR 250 Crore to Uphold Indian SME Segment

Addressing the needs of SMEs, Mastercard has proclaimed to commit INR 250 crores to help reboot Indian SMEs and enable business recovery
  • BY Jaspreet Kaur

    Feature Writer, BusinessEx

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  • Jul 09,2020
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  • 17 Mins Read

Woes of small companies can be seen in the economic downturn. Though lockdown has been lifted, the problems of SMEs have not ended. Addressing the needs of SMEs, the American financial company, Mastercard has proclaimed to commit INR 250 crores to help reboot Indian SMEs and enable business recovery.

As per the company’s commitment, it will start various initiatives to help small businesses by growing digital payments awareness and providing low-cost acceptance solutions – online and offline – that are simple, safe and secure. It will drive inclusive growth by enabling small merchants and kirana stores with access to credit, knowledge and tools that will drive operational efficiencies. It has also agreed to empower women entrepreneurs by increasing their business acumen.

"Small businesses are the foundation of India's economy, contributing nearly 35 percent of the GDP. Mastercard will leverage its network, knowledge, technology and partnerships to help these enterprises sustain and grow their businesses. As a result of these initiatives, India's small businesses and entrepreneurs will gain increased access to credit and build operational efficiencies through improved customer and inventory management, employee engagement and regulatory compliance," Porush Singh, Division President, South Asia at Mastercard, said in the company’s official statement. 

The present commitment is an extension of the US-based company's  worldwide commitment to financial inclusion which pledges to bring a total of 1 billion people and 50 million micro and small businesses into the digital economy by 2025. In April this year, it also vowed $250 million to support small businesses globally. The recent announcement confirms that the company will dedicate a significant proportion to India to benefit millions of SMEs over the coming five years.

"We offer the highest levels of safety and security leveraging our technology, furthering trust and enabling faster adoption of technology. Global analyses indicate that SMEs can see their revenues increase by up to one-third with such technology adoption," Singh added. 

Aiding Small Businesses in Becoming Digital

The cited initiatives have emerged from collaboration of Mastercard and Confederation of All India Traders to thrive digital payments awareness and uphold merchant on-boarding for digital commerce. 

In the previous year, the company launched the multi-city Team Cashless India campaign with a goal to equip 1 crore merchants in India with digital payments acceptance capabilities. It escalated the popularity of its brand ambassador, M S Dhoni, who is former captain of the Indian cricket team, to educate merchants and consumers on the benefits of digital payments.

"During the extended nationwide lockdown, more than 90 percent of SMEs were closed for business. To adjust to the changing scenario, small brick-and-mortar shop owners are rushing to take their companies online. To help these enterprises resume operations, we are pleased to partner with Mastercard in their efforts to support merchants with quick and easy ways to move their businesses online, facilitate much-needed access to credit, and address shifts in consumer buying behavior towards digital contactless payments over cash," Praveen Khandelwal, National Secretary General for CAIT, said in the official statement. 

In June this year, the Amercian financial services company collaborated with Axis Bank and Worldline and launched a digital point-of-sale (POS) solution with 'tap-on-phone' functionality that allows merchants to accept payments simply using their smartphones. The solution enables face-to-face payments with Bharat QR and NFC payments, as well as remote payments for home deliveries via link-based payments. This solution enables fast and easy on-boarding of merchants and acceptance of digital payments by merchants and kirana stores.

To further boost confidence in digital commerce and ensure safety and security of digital transactions, Mastercard has launched easy-to-use AI based applications that help preempt and prevent cyberattacks.

Enabling growth by access to credit

To address the vast working capital gap for small businesses, Mastercard is working with large companies along with banks to introduce credit solutions and schemes that enable easy and fast availability of credit, ensure supply chain continuity, and bolster entrepreneurs' financial resilience. The company has partnered and provided data and AI based applications for emerging markets that catalyze merchant access to supply chain credit with key suppliers using SME purchase history.

It is also collaborating with local partners to develop solutions that will help small businesses to create web stores and provide them with technical support and analytics to deliver better user experiences.

Unlocking Economic Potential of Women

The company is working along with various institutions to bring more women into fintech, support women business owners and cultivate more women entrepreneurship. It has partnerships with microfinance institutions and small finance banks to digitize and tailor their products for women entrepreneurs.

It has created programs for education and awareness of women entrepreneurs to increase their business acumen. Under the program training and basic technology education is imparted to women Kirana shopkeepers, using Buddhimoney, empowering them with ease of doing business, increased access to credit and market access.

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