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 vital need for innovation – more affordable financial services with banking industry facilitating affordable access to finance.
“Trade Plus” aims to meet the financing needs of the micro and small enterprises in rural and semi-urban areas by supporting MSEs to conduct mobile-based digital transactions using Near Sound Data Transfer (NSDT) technology. Data from digital transactions can enable financial institutions, especially banks, to develop a better understanding of MSE performance and assess their eligibility to access credit financing opportunities. The ultimate objective of this project is to enable bKash agents and retail merchants to access finance from a formal financial institution.
Trade Plus is a highly innovative initiative in the space of mobile money and financial inclusion. It is an incentive-based product where MSEs will be eligible for working capital loans in proportion to transactions conducted via bKash on an innovative platform. The banking and insurance partners will own the loan and insurance products respectively, while bKash will enable innovative means of undertaking digital transactions as well as disbursing loans to MSEs.
By December 2018, at least 7,550 loan disbursements amounting to BDT 55 million to qualifying bKash Agents and Merchants.