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  Social Responsibility

Women Empowerment
Published on: Feb. 13, 2020, 4:35 p.m.
Mastercard's BuddhiMoney has been conceived as a youthful neighbourhood superwoman
  • Financial sustainability for rural women

By Business India Editorial
T

he Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth partnered with ACCESS ASSIST to create the BuddhiMoney programme. BuddhiMoney aims to build professional skills of micro and small business owners.

An animated female superhero, BuddhiMoney has been conceived as a youthful neighbourhood superwoman who is wise on matters of finance and has a ubiquitous presence in helping solve problems that the community constantly grapples with on matters relating to business. She imparts critical financial and digital literacy education and provides business skills to help entrepreneurs to grow their companies. This is done through a short yet entertaining video that tells a story about how adopting new business practices, such as registering for Udyog Aadhar, using mobile banking, and leveraging the digital economy, can catalyse business success. It is disseminated to business owners through social media.

Mastercard is running a pilot of this project with 10,500 business owners in Jaipur and is in discussions with the Government of India and other corporate donors on bringing effective skill development to Indian entrepreneurs through partnerships. To understand the impact of this programme, a baseline survey of 2,000 targeted entrepreneurs has been conducted to measure the adoption of skills and analyse the success of different dissemination approaches. Nearly all entrepreneurs that attended the BuddhiMoney workshops in-person have adopted digital banking and registered for Uydog Aadhar. A small percentage of entrepreneurs has begun using digital banking since being introduced to the concept of BuddhiMoney and receiving the video over social media.

Making them successful In another project, with Mastercard’s support, Mann Deshi provides rural women with the support they need to translate their business ideas into start-up enterprises. Since the mid-1990s, Mann Deshi Foundation and Mann Deshi Bank have been addressing the non-financial and financial needs of women in Maharashtra. This includes enterprise development, financial literacy training, access to markets and access to financial products and services. Thus, women participants gain access to local mentors, participate in exposure visits and engage in networking opportunities. With Mastercard’s support, Mann Deshi supports entrepreneurs to become more successful in their business. Using a grant from Mastercard, they have connected 3,000 businesses to key services that help them grow their enterprises. The goal is to reach 10,000 women entrepreneurs by June 2020.

Mann Deshi has also set up a Rural Women Chamber of Commerce, the first of its kind. It has three chapters in Satara, Pune, and the newest in Chiplun. It offers 13 critical services to its members, including but not limited to, access to new weekly markets, mentoring connections, legal advisory clinics, access to business centres, B2B networking, marketing clinics, and financial literacy training. In the first six months, over 2,900 women business owners joined the Chamber of Commerce. Mastercard aims for the Chamber of Commerce to become financially self-sustaining.


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