Despite the presence of a massive microfinance industry in rural and semi-urban areas in Bangladesh, the government-backed efforts to provide for the financing needs of the MSEs have faced many obstacles. There is a pressing need for innovative and more affordable financial services, with the banking industry, to facilitate affordable access to finance.
The Save & Grow project targets a wide cross-section of MSEs, including bKash agents and retail merchants. It is a highly innovative project being implemented by bKash in collaboration with banks to support financial inclusion for MSEs. With Save & Grow, bKash aims to bolster Micro & Small Enterprise (MSE) access to the formal financial system in Bangladesh by acting as a mobile financial services intermediary that will collect deposit payments and disburse loans issued by banking institutions. The objective is to create a dual impact in the financial ecosystem by creating a savings habit amongst MSEs, thus enabling them to access formal and affordable credit financing opportunities.
The Save and Grow product to be created by a banking institution will be trialled during a pilot phase targeting a limited sample of MSEs. If the business model is proven to be successful and scalable, further efforts will be undertaken by bKash and its banking partners to widen access to the product nationally
By December 2018, 7,200 individual MSEs will be availing credit, with at least BDT 100 million of loans disbursed to these MSEs.