Strive India: enabling 500,000 small businesses to succeed in the digital economy by 2025

Our programs

Reaching India’s small businesses to encourage the adoption of new digital tools and enable access to markets and digital financial services

Why this program?

  • India has over 15.7 million women-led micro enterprises, and many other informal businesses that have the potential to play a significant role in the next decade of growth for the country.
  • Supporting women-owned small businesses, in particular, translates into empowering communities, as women are more likely to hire women, repay credit and share increased income with their family
  • This program will bring together an existing body of philanthropic work and take it forward, aiming to enable 500,000 small businesses to succeed in the digital economy, focused on unlocking the potential of micro-enterprises, women entrepreneurs and agri-entrepreneurs

Program overview

Mastercard Strive India will focus its efforts on micro-enterprises, women-owned and -led businesses, and agri-entrepreneurs. This program joins a portfolio of philanthropic programs – supported by the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth – aimed at helping small businesses worldwide thrive in the digital economy. 

The Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth has been present in India since 2014. In 2020, it strengthened its efforts to foster inclusive and sustainable economic growth in the country with a five-year commitment to empower Indians to succeed in the digital economy, including partnerships with local non-profits, an industry association and a government agency. To date, the Center has launched five small business growth programs including: Digital Saksham, implemented by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII); Rural Women Chamber of Commerce, implemented by Mann Deshi Foundation; Mainstreaming Agricultural Networks & Development Initiatives (MANDI), implemented by ACCESS Development Services; She Leads Bharat:Udyam, implemented by Frontier Markets and enabled by Airtel Payments Bank; and our collaboration with Haqdarshak.

Mastercard Strive India also complements other commitments made by Mastercard in India to help small businesses go digital, get capital and gain gyan, including the $100m credit facility launched in partnership with HDFC Bank, DFC and USAID, and Mastercard’s commitment of INR 250 crores ($33M) to support small businesses in India

About the Confederation of Indian Industry

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) works to create and sustain an environment conducive to the development of India, partnering industry, government, and civil society through working closely with government on policy issues, interfacing with thought leaders, and enhancing efficiency, competitiveness and business opportunities for industry. For 125 years, CII has been working on shaping India’s development journey and, this year, more than ever before, it will continue to proactively transform Indian industry’s engagement in national development. With 68 offices, including 10 Centers of Excellence in India, and 8 overseas offices, the premier business association has more than 9100 members, from the private as well as public sectors, and an indirect membership from around 288 national and regional sectoral industry bodies.

About Mann Deshi Foundation

Mann Deshi is dedicated to the economic empowerment of rural women and was founded in 1996 in Mhaswad by Chetna Sinha in the drought-prone region of Satara district in Maharashtra. Mann Deshi’s vision is to empower women to make their own choices and to be celebrated as equal and valuable members of their families and communities. Their mission is to empower women with the knowledge, skills, courage, access and capital to become successful entrepreneurs with more control over their lives. Their model is simple. They run a cooperative bank that provides women with affordable and easy access to credit and a foundation that provides women with the knowledge, skills and support necessary to become successful entrepreneurs with more control over their lives. To date, they have reached nearly a million women through their various programs.

About ACCESS Development Services

ACCESS is a national livelihoods support organization, with focus on incubating innovations for sustainable livelihoods of the poor. With support from DFID (Govt. of UK), ACCESS was established in March 2006 as a professional new generation agency to contribute to and support poverty reduction in India. ACCESS is uniquely structured to work at all levels of the development sector value chain, from implementing programs on the ground, working with the Civil Society Organizations, Government Departments, Corporate Sector and Multilateral / Bilateral Agencies, and also supporting policy at the national level.

About Airtel Payments Bank

Airtel Payments Bank, India’s only profitable multi-segment fintech operating at scale with a banking license, offers a diverse range of safe, simple, and rewarding banking solutions through a strong network of 500,000 banking points spread across the country and its digital platforms. The Bank has also built a robust digital payments ecosystem across the country. Airtel Payments Bank is focused on contributing to the Government’s vision of Digital India and Financial Inclusion by taking digital banking services to the doorstep of every Indian.

About Frontier Markets

Social enterprise Frontier Markets (FM) is India’s premier rural assisted social commerce platform, providing rural households an essential last mile connection to high-impact products and services ranging from financial services, clean energy, agricultural solutions, and domestic products. Recognising the power of women as household decisionmakers, as influencers, and as entrepreneurs, it has trained, ‘digitized’, and onboarded over 35,000 women entrepreneurs as ‘Saral Jeevan Saheli’s’. Working closely with its Sahelis and supported by its custom-built rural- friendly Meri Saheli technology platform, FM offers bespoke go-to-market services and rural market access to a growing portfolio of private sector solution providers. Having delivered over 50 million solutions to rural doorsteps, FM has cracked the code for serving rural markets at the speed and scale, but also with the high-impact solutions that our times require.

About Haqdarshak 

Haqdarshak is a social enterprise that uses technology to enable identification of eligible government welfare programs based on socio-economic profile information of individuals and businesses. Its agent network further provides support services to end users to avail benefits from such programs. Haqdarshak has an assisted-tech model wherein a mobile app is used by field agents to improve awareness about welfare programs and increase entitlement uptake in the community while earning a livelihood in this process. Currently Haqdarshak is operational in 23 states and has impacted 6.43 million Indian households unlocking $2.2 billion in benefits.

Poised to become the country’s largest employer, small businesses can help make inclusion a cornerstone of India’s journey to becoming a $5 trillion economy. They need support — from capacity building to access to tools, new markets and credit — to truly benefit from India’s digital transformation and growth. Strive India is committed to India’s long-term prosperity and will work to connect small businesses to the digital economy.

Subhashini Chandran

Vice President, Social Impact, Asia Pacific at the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth

Implementation partners
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