Intellecap, a pioneer in providing innovative business solutions and part of the Aavishkaar-Intellecap Group, has launched a report on digitizing rural value chains with high women participation in India. The report focuses on enhancing digital finance services to catapult women’s entrepreneurship in rural India. The report was commissioned by U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) under the Mobile Solutions Technical Assistance and Research (mSTAR) project, implemented by FHI 360.

The report sheds light on rural value chains that have high women participation and are good testing ground for digital financial serviceinterventions that could accelerate India’s financial inclusion agenda and be scaled and replicated in rural India. Women have been identified as the key beneficiaries of this initiative as they play an important role in rural ecosystems both as laborers in sectors like farming and as small-scale entrepreneurs.

Some of the key findings of the report include :

• The dairy value chain has high women participation in rural areas and significant potential to digitise payments directly to dairy farmers’ bank accounts. However, low literacy levels and ecosystem gaps on digital transactions are barriers to digital interventions.
• Food and beverage manufacturing in India involves millions of housewives usually operating at the household level. There are significant digital financial service opportunities at this level, including digitisation of savings.
• Deep analysis of rural value chains indicate that rural retail and microfinance are common intersections for financial transactions for rural women,with both of these segments likely to be able to exert influence on rural communities as enablers of change.

Intellecap interacted with over 100 farmers, women entrepreneurs and other small merchants and rural store owners to obtain insights on digital financial service needs and implementation across the value chains in the study.

Vikas Bali, CEO Intellecap, said,“Digital transactions in the rural value chains will bolster financial inclusion quite significantly. Intellecap is building the ecosystems bottom up, to enable digital transactions in rural environments, at par with the urban markets, as the opportunity and potential benefits are significantly larger there. While we have successfully started digitization of the dairy value chain with the potential to impact 2 million+ women farmers, we hope to extend the learnings to multiple other value chains.”

Himanshu Bansal, Project Lead, Intellecap, said, “This report highlights the significant opportunity that exists in rural value chains for digitisation. We have focused on value chainsthat are large, with high women participation, and offer digitisation interventions that are scalable across the country. Successful financial digitisation in rural India warrants the convergence of value chain aggregators with payment enablers, banks, microfinance companies and new age digital lenders in a carefully stitched together and well managed project, which Intellecap is currently executing.”

Josh Woodard, Technical Advisor, FHI 360, said, “Women play a significant role in economic activities in rural India. Digitizing the value chains they participate in is not only key to their financial inclusion, but it is also key to the economic growth of rural India. This report shows that digitizing value chains in rural India can be viable and has the potential to have real and lasting impacts on rural families and communities.”

To Read or Download the Report click here.