Pooja used to be a struggling street vendor, selling puja items, along with her husband and son, in a small UP town. She wanted to set up a shop but found approaching banks for loans to be an insurmountable task. Through word of mouth, she came to know about Arth, a Delhi-based social impact startup, launched by entrepreneur Shweta Aprameya in 2015.
Arth helped Pooja get a loan of Rs 15,000 and the small-time trader built a shop from scratch. She repaid the loan on time and soon made a fresh loan application to expand her business.
Pooja is not alone. Thanks to Arth, which focuses on delivering credit to micro-entrepreneurs, more than 15,000 micro-merchants, primarily women, in about 600 villages across the northern regions of India have been able to fulfil their business dreams. So far, the startup, which also provides its customers with various other livelihood-related welfare schemes, has been able to disburse micro credit worth Rs 25 crore, according to media reports.
In her interviews, Arth founder Shweta Aprameya has said that her organisation uses “a first-of-its-kind credit underwriting tool”, built on a mammoth, existing micro-enterprise data, that take into account socio-economic and geographical parameters. The organisation stresses that it has invested in “robust integrated technological tools and systems that ensure precision in planning, data collection, analysis and reporting”. The whole loan disbursal and repayment system is digitised; loan…