Pramit Joshi is a versatile corporate banking expert with a remarkable track record in trade finance, treasury, and financing solutions throughout India and the Middle East. As Co-Founder of NuPhi, an India and Singapore-based Cross-Border Trade Finance and Technology Solutions firm acquired by Moglix, he's demonstrated remarkable financial prowess. Pramit's experience includes pivotal roles at Citibank, IndusInd Bank, and Yes Bank Ltd., focusing on tailored financing solutions for medium- to large enterprises. He holds an impressive educational background, with a B.E. and Masters from SOM and IIT Bombay.
The agricultural sector has been long considered the backbone of the Indian economy and it still continues to be the largest employer in the country. However, the growth of the modern Indian economy is being powered by its second largest employer, the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector. MSMEs have become a stalwart in the Indian economic landscape, accounting for 30% of India’s GDP, 45% of exports and employing over 11 crore people. Despite their substantial contribution, MSMEs often grapple with timely and cost-effective working capital availability, supply chain and procurement challenges that hinder their growth. The emergence of FinTech in India is revolutionizing these processes and leading the way to paperless prosperity for MSMEs.
The State of MSMEs in India and the FinTech Revolution
MSMEs are the backbone of the Indian economy, fostering innovation and entrepreneurship across various sectors. However, these enterprises grapple with challenges in supply chain management and procurement. Limited access to affordable financing and manual, paper-based processes hamper efficiency.
Enter the FinTech revolution, characterized by the rapid growth of over 3,000 FinTech startups in India as of April 2023. Accessible digital financial services, fueled by smartphones and the widespread internet, are transforming MSMEs' financial landscape.
FinTech innovations, including digital procurement platforms, electronic payments, and blockchain integration, are addressing MSMEs' supply chain and procurement hurdles. This shift promises to usher in a paperless era, enhancing efficiency and competitiveness for these vital contributors to India's economy.
A Modern Supply Chain
One of the keyways FinTech is reshaping MSME supply chain and procurement is through digital procurement platforms. These platforms allow businesses to streamline supplier selection and management, conduct e-auctions, and facilitate online bidding. By digitizing these processes, MSMEs can significantly reduce the time and effort required for procurement while increasing transparency and competition among suppliers.
FinTech has also played a crucial role in eliminating paper invoices and checks from the supply chain. Electronic invoicing and payments enable real-time digital transactions, reducing the risk of errors and fraud. This not only enhances efficiency but also provides businesses with greater visibility into their cash flows.
Further enhancing the operations of MSMEs is blockchain technology. It is gaining traction in supply chain management as it helps ensure transparency and traceability throughout the supply chain, reducing the likelihood of fraud and errors. This technology can be particularly beneficial for MSMEs, as it enhances trust and security in their supply chain relationships. Recently, Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) and Infosys joined hands to develop a dedicated blockchain-based platform for the MSME sector. The project aims to create a gold standard in institutional lending through single-source information among NBFCs, institutional lenders and credit bureaus.
Newfound access to credit and working capital
FinTech has democratized access to credit for MSMEs. Digital lending platforms address one of the primary challenges faced by MSMEs: access to affordable working capital. These platforms leverage technology and data analytics to assess creditworthiness swiftly and disburse loans efficiently. Online platforms such as PSBLoansin59Minutes.com provide digital approval in 59 minutes for loan applications from MSMEs. The platform has already processed over 1 crore applications, with more than Rs 72,000crores disbursed so far.
FinTech has also introduced innovative financing solutions like invoice financing and supply chain finance. MSMEs can now unlock the value of their unpaid invoices, using them as collateral to secure short-term financing. This enables them to bridge cash flow gaps and fulfill their procurement needs without the hassle of traditional loan applications.
These solutions are effective as they employ advanced algorithms and data analytics to assess the creditworthiness of MSMEs, even in the absence of a robust credit history. This ensures that deserving businesses can access the financing they need to grow and prosper.
Large Prospects for MSMEs
The adoption of FinTech-driven supply chain and procurement processes eliminates manual and paper-based processes in MSMEs. This helps reduce administrative costs and minimizes the risk of errors. Through these solutions, MSMEs can streamline operations and reduce a lead time, which enhances overall efficiency.
While the benefits are clear, the adoption of FinTech in the MSME supply chain and procurement is not without its challenges. MSMEs, especially in rural areas, may face challenges in adopting FinTech solutions due to limited digital literacy and access to technology. Even where possible, the digitalization of sensitive financial and procurement data raises concerns about data security and privacy. As FinTech evolves, regulators are continually adapting to ensure the sector operates within a secure and compliant framework. Navigating these regulations can be complex for new MSMEs.
However, the future remains bright for MSMEs powered by the FinTech revolution. FinTech will continue to evolve, offering even more sophisticated solutions tailored to the needs of MSMEs. AI and ML will play a pivotal role in optimizing supply chain operations, predicting demand, and enhancing procurement efficiency. As more companies adopt these technologies, it will also facilitate global integration for MSMEs, enabling them to participate in cross-border trade more effectively.
FinTech is helping usher in a new era of paperless prosperity for Indian MSMEs. These enterprises have long had their growth aspirations kept in check due to supply chain and procurement challenges. However, the emergence of FinTech solutions has transformed these processes, making them more efficient, transparent, and accessible for all.
As the FinTech sector continues to innovate, MSMEs can look forward to a future filled with opportunities. Multifold benefits such as cost savings and increased efficiency, coupled with rapid advancements in technologies led by AI and ML, paint a pretty picture for MSMEs. The path to paperless prosperity for Indian MSMEs is well underway, with an ever-increasing contribution expected to the nation's growing economic prosperity.