Udhyam Learning Foundation through its vertical Udhyam Vyapaar, is focussed on enabling micro and small-scale entrepreneurs to scale and succeed. They have been helping nano-entrepreneurs or vyapaaris in the city build their business back to pre-Covid income levels and aim to do this by providing interest-free loans and necessary skill-sets and training to over 500 nano-entrepreneurs.
Many business owners were badly hit during the lockdown period and found it difficult to sustain their business due to loan sharks and lack of other monetary aid. Udhyam Vyapaar, therefore, designed a unique model that not only offers monetary support but also enables the vyapaaris to undergo finance and digital lessons post the loan is availed. Creating business plans, managing profit and loss accounts, developing capabilities in marketing decisions and customer services are included in the training curriculum, which enables the vyapaaris to better utilise the funds. Besides, these vyapaaris are also provided with on-demand consulting and a WhatsApp group has been created for them to easily communicate, share their challenges and discuss new business ideas.
A vyapaari is eligible for Rs10,000 collateral-free loan and the repayment model is Rs 100 in 100 days.
Udhyam Learning Foundation Founder Mekin Maheshwari said, “A vypaari on an average earns around Rs 500 daily and the informal money lenders charge exorbitant interest rates sometimes over 60% p.a. for a loan of Rs 10,000. They are unable to get credit from the formal banking system, which requires assets, documents and evidence that they do not have. We envision being able to create models that can be used by NBFCs and banks to lend viably to this neglected segment of entrepreneurs. We hope to dispel myths around exorbitant non-payment by these hard-working entrepreneurs. Our digital training lessons and financial literacy aims to make them ready for the future and more resilient to cope with challenges.”
Udhyam Vyapaar has been able to raise funds through crowdfunding and corporate donations. Over 70 loans have been sanctioned to more than seven lines of business such as tea shops, ironing/laundry, homepreneurs, fruit/vegetable sellers, and over 61% of small entrepreneurs were able to scale their existing businesses while 39% kick-started new businesses.
ULF, through this initiative, is also working on helping vyapaaris gain access to formal credit and enabling them to get rid of informal money lenders who charge exorbitant interest rates.