India’s leading branchless banking and digital network, PayNearby, today announced that it has collaborated with Grameen Foundation for Social Impact (GFSI), a leading non-profit organisation dedicated to uplifting underserved communities, to upskill 150,000 business correspondents (BCs) across Indian hinterland and upgrade them to provide digital and financial services beyond cash-in/cash-out to the underserved and tech-shy last mile population. This will strengthen rural BC counters with long term viable business solutions and make them sustainable change agents at the grass root level. The partnership will also work towards providing employment opportunities to the women and youth of Bharat.
As part of this collaboration, PayNearby and Grameen Foundation for Social Impact will launch a pan-India scale-up project titled ‘Scaling Agent Viability and Quality in India’ supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF). The initiative will be completed over the span of next two years. It marks a significant step towards amplifying the impact of BCs’ in enhancing financial accessibility across the country, by expanding their financial product offerings beyond traditional cash-in and cash-out services. Expanded product suite will increase customer retention and empower these correspondents to generate supplementary income streams.
This collaboration between PayNearby and GFSI is not only a strategic step in expanding financial accessibility but also a crucial initiative for empowering women within the financial sector. This initiative places a strong emphasis on skill enhancement among BCs and also gender sensitivity. By offering the necessary skills, knowledge, and support, this initiative will foster increased opportunities for both rural BC counters and women’s professional growth and financial empowerment. The goal is to enlist 15,000 female BC agents, thereby promoting gender inclusivity within this sector.
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Under this initiative, GFSI will leverage PayNearby’s Distribution-as-a-Service network and expertise to streamline operations and enable BCs to offer a diverse range of sachetised and tailored digital and financial solutions across domains such as, commerce, education, entertainment, credit management, insurance and more. In addition to right capacity building, PayNearby will invest in awareness and upskilling of this network to seamlessly enable multiple digital and financial services through local counters. BCs will be made aware of the financial advantage of a diversified product portfolio, and how more loyalty and value per customer can be derived through that.
Speaking on the development, Anand Kumar Bajaj, Founder, MD & CEO, PayNearby, said, “In the dynamic landscape of Bharat, achieving mass transformation necessitates mass mobilisation, and the formidable BC network is ideally positioned to embrace this challenge. BCs have been playing a crucial role in bridging the financial and digital gap at the last mile.
We are extremely honoured to work with Grameen Foundation for Social Impact to upskill BC network and make them viable multi-service counters, beyond cash-in/cash-out services. This is critical not only for the long-term financial viability of rural BC counters, but also the overall growth of communities at the grass root level. A diversified product portfolio will not only drive more value per footfall, but also enhance customer loyalty and retention.”
Alok Kumar Jha, Chief Strategic Initiatives Officer, PayNearby further adds, “We are extremely honoured to be a facilitator for empowerment of women BCs, who are the drivers of rural progress. This collaboration echoes our commitment towards our Sashakt Naari, Sashakt Samaaj, Sashakt Desh mission. Through this, we aim to not only provide sustainable self-employment to Women BC Sakhis, but also ensure more women from Bharat’s hinterland are brought into the formal financial fold through them, thus bridging the gender gap at the last mile.”
Arindam Dasgupta, Director – Innovations In Digital Finance, Grameen Foundation for Social Impact, said, “With the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), we are delighted to embark on this impactful collaboration with PayNearby. Our shared vision to drive financial inclusion and enhance women’s empowerment is at the heart of this partnership. By leveraging our combined strengths, we aim to drive meaningful change by enhancing agent quality, expanding product accessibility, and fostering a more inclusive financial landscape. Together, we are charting a path toward a brighter and more empowered future for all.
The collaboration is underpinned by a shared commitment to enhance women’s capacity to shape and thrive in a more connected business environment, demonstrating the benefits of inclusive development, women’s economic empowerment, and fostering participation from all key stakeholders.”