Technology-driven entrepreneurship in India has primarily focused on catering to the affluent segment of the country, leaving the majority of the population – both urban and rural – underserved. The reason is primarily due to the difficulties involved in providing services to a large user base with low purchasing power.
The recent past has witnessed that technology has lowered the cost and time to scale digital services significantly. Despite this, over half a billion Indians remain underserved by the existing solutions.
In 2018, CIIE.CO set up the Bharat Inclusion Initiative (BII) as a full-stack solution to solve the hard problem of financial exclusion in India. Supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, J.P. Morgan, MetLife Foundation, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, and Omidyar Network, BII has five key domains of work – evangelisation of inclusive fintech solutioning, incubation of novel innovations, acceleration of promising inclusive fintech startups, investing seed capital to unlock impact at scale, and research that encapsulates that entire journey from the customer to impact.
In its tenure of five years, BII has accelerated over 54 inclusive fintechs, invested in seven ready-for-scale startups, incubated four promising ideas, supported 24 research studies, and catalysed path-breaking research on rural households. The program has also been a partner in several national initiatives in the areas of payments for feature phones, fintech for women, etc. Startups supported by the program have served more than 32 million customers and raised over 150 million in funding.
Scheduled for March 3, 2023 in Bengaluru, the Bharat Inclusion Summit is designed as a platform to reflect upon the lessons and deliberate on the way forward for inclusive fintech in India. These deliberations will take three forms – carefully-curated panel discussions, forward-looking fireside chats, and intensive product design workshops. In addition to a stellar speaker line-up, the summit will also create intentional spaces for networking and collaborations to be germinated among players in the inclusive fintech ecosystem.
What to expect?
The Bharat Inclusion Summit boasts a line of stalwarts participating in panel discussions and fireside chats. The list includes Nandan Nilekani, Co-founder, and Chairman, Infosys; Nithin Kamath, Founder, and CEO, Zerodha; Ajay Kumar Choudhury, Executive Director, RBI; Suseela Chintala, Chief General Manager, NABARD; Sairee Chahal, Founder, SHEROES; Dilip Asbe, Managing Director and CEO, NPCI; Vipul Sekhsaria, Co-founder, and Chief Networks Officer, Kaleidofin; and several other notable names from the industry.
The summit will begin with a fireside chat on ‘Customer Protection: Building a Responsible Digital Payments Ecosystem’, highlighting a necessary trade-off between ease of user flow and customer protection and will also feature fireside chats on a variety of topics such as CBDC and the Future of Finance in India, Next Frontiers of Financial Inclusion, and Scaling Zerodha: Lessons on Building for Bharat.
The panels will strongly focus on the customer, with themes such as ‘Moving from gender-neutral to gender intentional- how can fintechs start serving women better?’, ‘How can technology aid the scale-up of access to credit and insurance for smallholder farmers?’ highlighting the role of fintech to fill gaps in financial services for women and smallholder farmers, and ‘Micro-merchants: Bridging the capital working gap’ focussing on the essentials to be addressed while fulfilling the small credit/working capital needs of the micro-merchants. There will be several panels exploring the role of enablers in scaling inclusive fintechs and forward-looking panels such as the role of climate finance in building resiliency for Bharat.
Finally, the summit will also feature workshops on ‘Building Digital Pathways for Inclusive Fintech products’ to discuss how the user experience should be designed when building interfaces for the lower-income segments, and ‘How shall fintechs design products that are intuitive for women customer segments?’
Before calling it a day, the summit will end with a networking evening and collaborations with stalwarts from the industry.
So, what’s the wait for? REGISTER NOW for an invite, and to know more about the agenda.