Corporates join hands to empower 1 million small merchants with financial, digital capabilities

Sangeetha Chengappa Bengaluru | Updated on May 08, 2021

Pilot rollout to 50,000 merchants

SnapBizz, a Ratan Tata backed retail digitization start-up, Samhita-CGF’s REVIVE Alliance, a blended finance facility restoring Covid-19-affected livelihoods of entrepreneurs, Nielsen and leading national banks are collaborating to provide small merchants with financial and digital capabilities. The project aims at improving business outcomes of a million small merchants whose businesses have been disrupted by the second Covid wave.

The collaboration has kicked off with a pilot rollout to 50,000 merchants over the next 45 days, which will be further scaled to 1 million merchants with net incomes of ₹20,000- ₹25,000/month who typically run 500 sq ft stores , providing them with easy access to working capital and supply chain.

SnapBizz will provide digital solutions for these local merchants. Samhita-CGF, through the REVIVE Alliance supported by USAID, MSDF, Omidyar Network India, British High Commission and UNDP, will provide financial assistance, through returnable grants and incentives, for small kiranas to access the digital solution and training. TRRAIN will support the initiative through self-help videos for merchants on modern retail practices. Nielsen will provide store acquisition and data evaluation support in the programme.

The Returnable Grant, a zero-interest credit instrument provided by Samhita-CGF’s REVIVE Alliance, will be revolved to support each incoming merchant in adopting the technology. The merchants would be expected to return the money in instalments once they see success. This money would be used to fund a new batch of merchants, creating a system where funds would be used and reused, driving a multiplier impact to the fund invested. They would also be provided with financial incentives such as a digital adoption reward of ₹1,000 at the end of four months by Samhita-CGF and the REVIVE Alliance and other performance rewards and ongoing incentives and promotions from Banks and Brands. The initiative is also expected to open newer in-store promotion avenues for FMCG brands by allowing them to collaborate with local merchants and drive targeted promotions.

“During the first Covid-19 outbreak, small merchants were most worried about their livelihoods, but this second wave has them worried about their lives and livelihoods, as many of them have lost family and friends to the virus and are barely able to run their businesses to sustain themselves. While we are already collaborating with some National Banks and big Brands, we would like to collaborate with many more and leverage their large merchant-connect to rapidly scale up our digitization and timely financial support initiatives” Prem Kumar, founder CEO, SnapBizz told BusinessLine.

Published on May 08, 2021

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