SME Times News Bureau | 07 Jun, 2022
In an exclusive interview with
SME Times Ayekart Co-founder & CEO Debarshi Dutta said that lack of technology, lack of finance and lack of new market reach are the
major weakness for the Indian MSME sector.
Excerpts of the
tell our readers about Ayekart and its entrepreneurial journey?
Our entrepreneurial journey,
since its inception, has been exhilarating and exciting for all team members.
We had our share of many bumpy rides as well as smooth sailing in the span of
last 8 months while launching the operations on ground and creating mutually
advantageous association, financial and business partnerships. And, all the
efforts of Ayekart teams paid as we concluded the last financial year with the
GTV (Gross Transaction Value) of INR 140 crores approx.
The idea of Ayekart took a shape
as we were witnessing like everyone how the pandemic has thrusted technology
advancement by almost a half-a-decade in India, making ‘digital’ the need of
hour. Everyone started going digital via using mobile, ordering online…from
pizzas to daily utilities, attending school and offices… to the transactions of
multi millions…shifting almost everything from physical to digital! We as a team observed that there was a huge
gap of technology as far as SMEs/ MSMEs/ Retailers are concerned, they were losing
their business to E-commerce giants and other aggregators equipped with far
superior technology, financially much stronger than SMEs/ MSMEs/ Retailers.
Where as all saw this as a threat, we saw this as an opportunity to rebuild
traditional businesses, SMEs/ MSMEs/ Retailers. Enabling them with world class
technology and finance…giving them digital and financial wings to compete, grow
and reach their potential. With core idea of not to disrupt but to enable all
key channels right from raw material to end consumer, Ayekart started this
Speaking about our leadership
team, they bring the vast experience of working with Government agencies and
MNCs engaged with technology, payment, supply chain, agriculture and food
sector in India, South and South-East Asia, parts of Africa, LATAM etc. The
team understands the dynamics of traditional businesses and able to translate
the ideas on ground.
are the products and services you offer and how they are helpful to SMEs?
Ayekart is one stop solution for
SMEs/ MSMEs/ Retailers right from Finance and technology to service everything
needed to survive, revive and thrive on a single platform.
We have developed 3 Apps namely B2B, Hisab and B2C (Hyperlocal). Through our
app SMEs/ MSMEs/ Retailers enter into digital space via bringing their businesses online, procure
as well as sell the products, have technologically enabled managerial support
to run day to day business for e.g., day-to-day business operations, invoicing,
inventory management, integration with tally or other account system, access to
POS – QR code payment, payroll management, award and rewards program to
increase stickiness. The apps offer more benefits like access to world class
technology like scan and pay, single terminal for all transactions and business
management on an integrated platform.
to Supply chain finance: Ayekart is trying to bridge the gap into the access to
the institutionalized credit for the small businesses, through our banking and
NBFC partners. With the supply chain finance these businesses are able to get
timely and adequate credit for the working capital and grow their businesses.
Furthermore, these digital transactions build their financial credibility as
well as credit rating.
C. Service through Ayekart platform: Through our vast network of
FPO, manufacturers, food processors, distributors, our associates, partners,
and all the stakeholders in the supply chain are able to grow their businesses
in new geographical areas. Also, this ensures round the year supplies and
markets availability for all of them.
according to you are the weaknesses and strengths of the Indian MSME sector?
Weakness: In a nutshell, lack of technology, lack of finance and lack of new market reach are the
major weakness for MSME sector. In addition, traditional businesses are
typically powered by the founder and are run through his domain knowhow and
connections, which are informally managed. Employees naturally play the role of
running the day-to-day operations on the ground and have very little understanding
of business nuances. They typically trust family members to be their first-row lieutenants
for diversification and scale. While this model worked very well in the
pre-COVID era, digital marketplaces unleashed by large corporates and
well-funded start-ups took a significant share of their business by disintermediating the supply chain on both B2B as
well as B2C side. This served as a wakeup call for most of them to be prepared
world agrees that next 2 decades are of India, and if India has to make it big
it has to be MSMEs, thus one thing is clear. MSMEs are going to be backbone of
growth of India not only in the economy as a whole but employment as well and
in turn of the globe. Below data, facts and figures proves the same.
Circa 2020, the
growth of MSMEs has become a top priority in India. According to the 73rd
National Sample Survey (NSS), there are about 63.052 million non-agricultural
MSMEs in India, of which 51.25% are in rural areas and 48.75% in cities. MSMEs have
created 111 million jobs, including 36.041 million in manufacturing, 38.718
million in trade and 36.222 million in services. They contribute to 8% of
India's GDP, 40% of the total exports and 45% of the manufacturing output.
is the credit scenario as per as MSMEs are concerned?
International Finance Corporation (IFC), all formal and informal MSMEs in
emerging markets face a funding gap of USD 2.1-2.6 trillion, equivalent to
30-36% of the current credit balance for MSMEs. Undoubtedly, MSME loan market
is underserved as majority of MSMEs do not have access to organised financial
sector and institutionalized credit. And sluggish disbursal didn’t help either
thereby increasing their dependency on unorganised sector like, indigenous lender,
loan sharks etc. for working capital, hence, making them trapped in vicious
cycle of huge debts with impractical credit durations and rate of interests.
share your future plans with our readers.
As mentioned earlier in a small
time of 8 months we have achieved GTV of approx. INR 140 CR. This is a starter,
first baby step, we have tested waters and we know the gap, we have financial,
technological tools as well as market expertise to match demand and supply
side. Today we are present in 6 states, doing business transactions in 12
states, and soon we will be expanding pan India. We have entered into strategic
partnerships that will not only help us in expanding our business but at same
time have impact on farmers, and small businesses. Their upliftment is our
utmost priority while commercially expanding, also we will not be disrupting the
supply chain in a way of by passing one channel to earn more, we believe in
enabling all the channels and strengthen them more. Our mission is to
1. Enable 10 million traditional businesses technologically and financially
in 5 years
2. Go global providing Platform as a Service (PAAS) to 15 countries in 5