Indifi Technologies, one of India’s leading online lending platforms, has recently announced the launch of Pragati, country’s first collaborative resource centre for SMEs, small businesses, and start-ups. By leveraging a collaborative and partnership-based approach, the platform aims to create a pool of financial and non-financial resources to empower 15-20 million SMEs struggling with revival plans in the post-Covid-19 economy.
In a recent survey of its borrowers, Indifi revealed that 90% and 80% of the open restaurants and retail shops respectively are experiencing at least 50% drop in sales. Whereas, half of this lot are operating at less than 20% sales of what they registered in the first two months of 2020. The situation has impacted working capital too, with around 85% of retail stores and 70% of restaurants open at present are getting lesser credit from their suppliers. The survey also found that 75% of the restaurants and 55% of retail stores were non-operational during the third phase of lockdown.
Against this backdrop, lots of business players across the country are endeavouring to adapt to a new reality while looking for ways to restructure their models to safely navigate the pandemic-battered economic landscape. How? By identifying new channels of doing business, evaluating risk and expenses associated with their venture to make it more efficient, and understanding the latest policies to leverage them to their advantage.
Some of the steps that businesses are actively taking in this direction include setting up an online process, selling through social media platforms, and optimising the supply chain, among other things. However, in their pursuit of continuity and growth, business owners are facing numerous challenges. This is the precise need-gap that Pragati aims to address and resolve. Furthermore, the support system enabled by the platform is synergistic. Besides the small businesses and startups, Pragati can also benefit the partners and collaborators by enabling them to tap into a bigger MSME base. For instance, through Pragati, both small business owners looking to resell and platforms providing relevant services can connect with each other.
“At Indifi, the core of our business has been to support businesses in their growth. In sync with this mission, we have launched Pragati, a sector-agnostic, collaborative, multi-service resource centre,” Alok Mittal, CEO & Co-founder, Indifi Technologies commented. “The goal is to enable business owners to get different service providers and content under one trusted platform coupled with exclusive offers which will save them money and time. We invite partners who can provide relevant products and services to MSMEs to join the platform towards this collective goal, and in turn gain access to prospective customers. We also look forward to partners who would like to offer Pragati services to their base of MSMEs.”
“What makes this value proposition uniquely appealing is that the support system enabled by the Pragati platform can mutually benefit both small businesses seeking continuity and growth as well as the service providers looking to expand their customer base. For instance, in our recent survey, we found that 45% of our customers were facing a shortage of staff during the lockdown, a situation that can become exacerbated in the face of the ongoing migration of daily wage workers away from the cities. Here, a manpower management service provider can use Pragati to help out the ventures facing staff shortage while promoting its business at the same time,” he added.
An extension of Indifi’s value proposition, the launch of Pragati follows close on heels of Indifi’s recent partnership with SaasBOOMi to cater to SaaS-based business and with TiE Delhi-NCR to empower start-ups through revenue-based financing. With Pragati, Indifi aims to cover all the segments of the MSME ecosystem. Moving ahead, Pragati will add more financial and nonfinancial products to not only expand its core offerings but also to attract industries that currently remain underserved.