April 3, 2023: BharatPe Group, one of India’s leading names in fintech industry, today announced its partnership with Women Entrepreneurship Platform (WEP) with the objective of enabling women entrepreneurs across India in their journeys of self-reliance and business growth. The partnership aims to build a robust ecosystem that brings together women entrepreneurs from different parts of India and equips them with the required domain knowledge as well as the financial and technical know-how needed to fulfill their business goals. The core focus area will be facilitating the development of a first-of-its kind aggregator platform that gives access to peer support, mentorship, networking channels and a wide range of learning resources.
Launched under ‘BharatPe Cares’, a corporate social responsibility initiative by BharatPe Group, this partnership is in line with the Group’s brand purpose to empower lives through inclusive, innovative and reliable fintech solutions. This specific initiative rests under the CSR program of PAYBACK, a BharatPe company.
According to the sixth economic census by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, women comprise only 13.76% of the total entrepreneurs in India, which is 8.05 million out of the total 58.5 million entrepreneurs. The figure indicates that women entrepreneurs need to be empowered so they can follow their dreams. With this in mind, the partnership aims to address the constraining barriers faced by women entrepreneurs across the landscape in India and facilitate a level playing field wherein women enjoy equal opportunities for growth.
Speaking on this announcement, Nalin Negi, CFO and interim CEO, BharatPe, said, “While India is a startup and unicorn hub, the share of women entrepreneurs in the country still remains low. I strongly believe that there is a huge untapped potential for unlocking entrepreneurship among women in India. WEP has an impeccable body of work towards driving women entrepreneurship in the country, and we are proud to partner with them on our shared vision of enabling women entrepreneurs to catalyze the growth of their businesses.”
Nalin adds, ‘As a homegrown fintech, our regular engagement with women solopreneurs and small business owners has helped us understand the challenges faced from their lens- the most important being lack of access to financial know-how, networking channels, mentorship and fundraising opportunities. Also, as per an industry report, women entrepreneurs in India can generate 150-170 million jobs by 2030, which is more than 25% of the new jobs required for the entire working-age population. Thus, driving women entrepreneurship would boost the economy through job creation, and is critical to building India as a US$ 5 trillion economy. Our partnership with WEP is aimed at facilitating the development of a plug-and-play digital infrastructure to address the existing gaps and aid the growth of women entrepreneurs.”
Commenting on the partnership, Anna Roy, Mission Director, WEP, said, “The entrepreneurial ecosystem in India is thriving but women-led businesses still need a lot of support to help scale businesses, and more so due to social biases. Women entrepreneurs across the country face an unfair disadvantage due to exclusion from networking channels and mentorship opportunities. Women entrepreneurship platform is a public private initiative that aims at providing a continuum of support to women entrepreneurs by leveraging the network of various stakeholders who are part of the ecosystem. The idea is to make these connect seamlessly across board, overcome information asymmetry and empower women by giving them the right information at the right time. With the partnership with BharatPe Group, WEP adds another important stakeholder to this vast and growing network of partner organizations that will help combine the effort of both the industry players towards leveling the playing field for women entrepreneurs as well as expanding the funnel to get more women to start their own enterprises.”
BharatPe will also facilitate the development of learning sources curated around specific sectors to support capability development and equip women entrepreneurs with the required domain knowledge to scale their businesses.
BharatPe was founded in 2018 to make financial inclusion a reality for Indian merchants. In 2018, BharatPe launched India’s first UPI interoperable QR code, the first zero MDR payment acceptance service. In 2020, post-Covid, BharatPe also launched a card acceptance terminal – BharatSwipe. Currently serving 1 crore merchants across 400+ cities, the company is a leader in UPI offline transactions, processing 30 crores+ UPI transactions per month (annualized Transaction Processed Value of over US$ 24 Bn in payments). The company has already facilitated the disbursement of loans totaling close to ₹8000 crores. BharatPe’s POS business processes payments of over US$ 3.5 bn annually on its machines. BharatPe has raised over US$ 583 million in equity till date. The company’s list of marquee investors includes Tiger Global, Dragoneer Investment Group, Steadfast Capital, Coatue Management, Ribbit Capital, Insight Partners, Steadview Capital, Beenext, Amplo, and Sequoia Capital. In June 2021, the company announced the acquisition of PAYBACK India, the country’s largest multi-brand loyalty program company with 100 million+ members. In October 2021, the consortium of Centrum Financial Services Limited (Centrum) and BharatPe, was issued a Small Finance Bank (SFB) license by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). BharatPe also entered the Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) segment with the launch of postpe in October 2021. postpe has over 8 million downloads and an annualized TPV of close to Rs. 5000 crores. Recently, BharatPe Group received an in-principle nod from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to operate as an online payment aggregator.
WEP (Women Entrepreneurship Platform) was ideated and incubated in NITI Aayog and presently being operated as a unique public private partnership. WEP is a one-stop platform that aggregates resources and services for women entrepreneurs, providing them with personalised information and services to assist in their entrepreneurial journey. It brings together stakeholders with the same goal of creating an enabling environment for women entrepreneurs, thus providing a comprehensive solution to address their unique challenges and needs. As a public private initiative, it works through partners where Government remains an enabler and a partner. You can access the platform at https://wep.gov.in/