With Snapdeal, the country’s second largest online marketplace, signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) last week, the trend of online companies promoting entrepreneurship is consolidating.
The MoU will enable Snapdeal and SIDBI to join hands in providing small and medium-sized businesses the necessary financial and non-financial support to help expand their business and reach.
Earlier, in August 2014, Snapdeal had launched ‘Capital Assist’ to help its sellers meet their working capital requirement by offering them customized financing options, based on their business category and requirements. Many banks, both in public and private sector also became part of the initiative.
Before that, Flipkart had partnered with FISME (Federation of Indian Micro and Small and Medium Enterprises) and NCDPD (National Center for Design and Product Development) to boost manufacturing and entrepreneurship in the country via infrastructural support in data analytics, marketing and customer acquisition to help them scale their business.
In April, 2015 leading online taxi aggregator Olacabs partnered with EmpowerPragathi (an investee company of National Skill Development Corporation) and Automotive Skills Development Council (ASDC) for assisting Ola in training, skill development and guiding aspirant women drivers. The company aims to create 50,000 women driver-entrepreneurs in 3 years. The company had also partnered with auto maker Mahindra & Mahindra to offer cars to drivers and operators at discounted prices with finance options.
India has over 1.5 million SMEs, which contribute close to 8% of the country’s GDP. Any initiatives aimed at improving their access to finance is certainly good news for the economy. The initiatives taken by online companies would eventually bring more maturity to the entire entrepreneurial ecosystem.