DHAKA: With the objective to effectively address the forward market linkage challenges prevalent in service market industry of Bangladesh and bring the service providers under the financial inclusion umbrella, Sheba Platform Limited joined hands with Business Finance for the Poor in Bangladesh (BFP-B)- funded by UK Aid and managed by Nathan Associates, for a timely endeavor called ‘Sheba Briddhi’.
The ‘Sheba Briddhi’ project offers a suite of B2B financial solutions to facilitate growth of service oriented Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSEs). The services include business development, account and books management, market linkages and access to formal financial services. All the services can be accessed through Sheba’s ERP app sManager.
This project successfully on boarded 10,000 new MSEs on to Sheba’s platform, extended Business Development Services (BDS) to 700 MSEs and facilitated disbursement of GBP 1.5 crore loan to 43 MSEs through leading formal financial institutions of Bangladesh: IPDC, BRAC Bank and BRAC during the one year project tenure.
The grant money from BFP-B has been utilized for skill &behavior curriculum development, launch of credit appraisal system, digital know your customer(KYC) rollout, facility management, product development, training and promotional activities.
The sManager application records MSEs’ order and payment history. This data set can be used to assess MSEs’ credit worthiness. Sheba has also developed their digital KYC system for the on boarded MSEs and can submit full set of documents to the FIs within 01 business day (after collecting from MSEs) which lessens the burden of FI as well for documentation and subsequent processing. The aim is to establish a uniform credit appraisal system by Sheba and associated FIs where the documentation part would be managed by Sheba and FIs would sanction loan solely based on those data with no further assessment.
Both BFP-B and Sheba XYZ have recognized the need for sustained public and private sector collaboration for extending micro-merchant centric financial services. The financial institutions can introduce wider range of digital financial offerings to tap this potent, yet “underserved” service industry. Moreover, the FinTechs can explore the possibility of piloting wallet-based instant-credit facility. Further more, both BFP-B & Sheba XYZ recommend that different government regulators can promote digitization and design special policies to address micro-merchants’ needs.
BDST: 1342 HRS, JAN 29, 2020