HDFC Bank, Mastercard, DFC, independent agency to provide $100 mn credit facility for small business owners & women entrepreneurs

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HDFC Bank, Mastercard, the US government’s Development Finance Corporation (DFC), and the independent agency administering civilian foreign aid — the US Agency for International Development (USAID) on Thursday launched a $100 million credit facility to help Indian small businesses with digitization and recovery from the Covid impact. The aid would be exclusively available for new-to-credit small businesses owners, including at least 50 percent of women entrepreneurs.

“Women have been disproportionately impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, facing economic hardships that directly affect the livelihoods of their families and communities. Through this partnership, USAID will help facilitate access to finance and support the digitization journey for women-owned small businesses and entrepreneurs to help them recover from the pandemic and reach their full potential,” Veena Reddy, Mission Director, USAID India said in a statement.

Under the partnership, HDFC Bank said it will reach beyond its existing customer base to make at least 50 percent of this credit facility available to ‘new small business borrowers’, with a goal of 50 percent of the facility being used for lending to women entrepreneurs.

On the other hand, through collaborations with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Confederation of All Indian Traders (CAIT), Mastercard will provide skills training and education to small business owners on their digitization options.

Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth said it will also help businesses boost their revenue through different philanthropic training programmes, part of Mastercard’s Rs 250-crore commitment to enable small businesses in India to recover from the pandemic.

DFC and USAID will facilitate the extension of the credit support by ‘de-risking HDFC Bank’s lending to small business owners. DFC’s investment supports its 2X Women’s Initiative, through which the agency invests in projects that are owned by women, led by women, or provide a product or service that empowers women.”

While the government data on the number of MSMEs and women-led units impacted or shut due to the pandemic hasn’t been available so far, a large number of such enterprises had reportedly faced temporary closure of production units, job losses, and severe impact on working capital.

Out of the total 1.65 lakh businesses listed for sale on the platform, 52,000 came onboard from April 1, 2020, onwards, of which 7,000 are verified or approved listings. In fact, before Covid, the daily average of businesses listing for sale was 10 that increased to 20 before the second wave, and was about to cross 25 in September.