One of the important goals of the project is to make the MSEs, performing through e-commerce, more creditworthy for conventional financial institutions. One of the reasons MSEs are avoided by mainstream financial institutions is their lack of record keeping because of which the scale and size businesses cannot be presented to the financial institutions for proper assessment. Furthermore, these MSEs do not have sound inventory management system and as such they are unable to present reliable data regarding business volumes undertaken.
The project aims to create access to finance for the MSE e-commerce merchants who retail through an e-commerce (including f-commerce or Facebook commerce) platform and situated inside or around the city of Dhaka. These merchants are predominantly women. They are generally considered not bankable i.e. not eligible for formal financing by banks and financial institutions, mostly due to small size, absence of proper recording of business transactions, lack of visibility of business volume in bank accounts, absence of proper inventory management and reporting.
The project adopts a number of innovations (such as the application of an electronic warehouse receipt system, and benchmarking of performance of the MSEs and the provision of advisory services) which together could have a significant impact on the way financing is provided to smaller enterprises engaging in e-commerce, especially given that this growth sector is currently at a very early stage of development, and is dominated by very small businesses in terms of size and business volume to traditional businesses
Participating MSEs are segregated into bankable and non-bankable groups. Bankable MSEs receive financing from formal financing institution and non-bankable MSEs from an access to finance partner. Additionally, non-bankable MSEs receive advisory and capacity building services, e.g. record-keeping of sales, procurement and financial transactions, to establish credit worthiness and become bankable. The MSEs receive outsourcing services including warehousing, inventory management, and merchandise delivery services, to enable them to expand business. Furthermore, these services would provide risk management for the financiers.
By September 2018, at least 800 merchants will be registered and receive finance worth around BDT 320 million from e-Courier and FIs.