29 May 2018, Meerut – Queen Maxima of Netherlands, in her capacity as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA) was in Meerut to visit the customers of Aye Finance, a leading fintech lender to the micro and small entrepreneurs in India.
MSME financing has always been a key priority for the Queen and the purpose of her visit was to understand how Aye Finance was bringing this critical sector of our economy in to the inclusive folds of organized lending by providing an affordable line of credit.
Her Majesty has been a Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development since 2009 and since then she has been a global voice advancing universal access to affordable, effective, and safe financial services. Aye Finance was founded in 2014 with a commitment to provide innovative and customer-centric financial services to micro and small businesses and power their growth into the new-age India, and since then it has enabled the inclusion of 60,000 such enterprises into the mainstream of the economy.
Tuesday morning Her Majesty travelled from Delhi to Meerut to meet Aye’s customers, who belong to the sports manufacturing cluster of the city. Aye’s founders, Mr. Sanjay Sharma and Mr. Vikram Jetley briefed her on their unique “Cluster Based Credit Assessment” methodology to underwrite the risk of lending to these bottom of the pyramid businesses. These businesses have been traditionally ignored by the Banks and financial institutions as they do not maintain formal books of accounts and seldom have credit histories making the assessment of their credit worthiness a challenge and there by stunting their growth. Aye Finance has innovated on deriving lending insights from alternate data from its markets and deploys low cost mobility and cloud based technologies to reach out to these thriving albeit underserved micro businesses
Over the past few years, Her Majesty has emphasized on the potential of mobile and digital technology as a strong enabler for financial inclusion. Aye showcased its customer mobile app “mAye” which is helping its customers run their business more efficiently by recording business data in a structured manner and gaining insights on their businesses.
Queen Maxima interacted with three of Aye’s customers who manufacture cricket equipment. They advised her about their aspirations and how Aye has helped by providing adequate finance to grow their businesses. She interacted with their women workers also and was happy to see them being equal partners in these businesses.
The 50 million micro enterprises in India have the potential to uplift the Indian Economy and bring a positive social dividend across a large segment of its population. Inclusion of these enterprises in the formal economy is a governmental priority and is expected to help the Country transition to an economic powerhouse.