Thursday, July 4, 2019

Nepali startup Khalti wins UN Fintech Innovation Fund

Khalti – a homegrown financial technology startup in Nepal – has won Fintech Innovation Fund from the United Nations (UN). The fund was jointly launched by the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) earlier this year.
Along with Khalti, a total of10 companies from across Asia-Pacific region have won the Innovation Fund, according to a press note. 
After being announced the winner for the Fintech Innovation Fund, Khalti is rolling out a special project within July 2019. The project will support women-led micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in 12 different districts across the country – from Sankhuwasabha in the east to Darchula in the west – aiming at solving gaps between production and sales of goods produced by 3500 women involved in MSMEs in Nepal. Women involved in Dhaka Weaving to Allo Processing and Weaving to Food Processing will be supported as part of this project, the press note reads, adding that the project intends to deliver financial and digital literacy and skills to women-owned, managed or led MSMEs by bringing all the MSMEs to a digital platform and upgrade their current style of working. “Khalti will be providing them necessary training to be self-sufficient and help them in expanding their business and resources.”
Khalti is partnering with SAARC Business Association of Home Based Workers (SABAH Nepal) to implement the project. Furthermore, Khalti is also mobilising Smart Chhoris to assist the MSMEs.
Over the next year, UNESCAP and UNCDF will provide financial and technical support for Khalti to conduct the project and introduce digital and financial solutions that improve access to finance and enhance operational efficiency of these women-led MSMEs.
“Micro, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises are a vital source of employment and a significant contributor to the country’s GDP in Nepal,” director of Khalti Arvind Sah Elated by this achievement shared, adding, “However, most MSMEs have been facing difficulty in accessing loans and other financial services.”
We are building a hyper local market in Khalti platform and conducting marketing and sales of goods produced by the women and enabling payments of goods directly through Khalti app, he said, adding that we will recommend – on the basis of their monthly income level – for loan from our partner bank so that they can expand their business. “This project offers payment solutions and improved access to finance to the women-led MSMEs in Nepal.”
Through Khalti’s innovations: hyper local market and bulk payment processing system, the women-led MSMEs will be able to connect with their end users directly and receive payments on their mobile phone. The project seeks to uplift the livelihood of women involved in MSMEs in Nepal.
Launched in January 2017, Khalti is an emerging mobile payment solution in Nepal. During this very short period of time, Khalti has emerged as one of the most preferred payment choices amongst customers in Nepal. Khalti allows users to top-up their mobile balance, pay DTH bills, internet bills, various utility bills, book movie tickets, flight tickets, hotel rooms, top up Tootle balance, make payments for food ordered online at Foodmandu, and pay at various online shopping sites in Nepal. Users can avail all these services through its app and website.
The United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) launched the Women MSME FinTech Innovation Fund in March 2019 in partnership with the Australian Government (DFAT), the Dutch development Bank (FMO), and Visa Inc, with the financial support from the Government of Canada provided through Global Affairs Canada.
According to the World Bank’s statistics, more than 90 per cent of enterprises in developing Asia-Pacific region are MSMEs, making them a vital source of income and employment. However, more than 45 per cent of micro, small and medium sized companies (MSMEs) in Asia and the Pacific experience access to finance as a constraint. The constraints faced by MSMEs limits regional economic growth.

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