Ananya was 17, a student at the University of Oxford, England, when she decided to be an entrepreneur and a catalyst for change in rural India.Like a chess player, she spent a year strengthening her knowledge base, strategising and consulting with experts.Knowing their reasons and needs makes it that much easier to find effective solutions,” she says.Currently, Svatantra Microfin has 27 branches in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.In this post, we’ll show you step-by-step how to use your own custom-trained models… As a child, she honed her passion for chess to emerge as a champion in school tournaments.And she’s not afraid to get her hands dirty: From taking on an idea to creating a business to scaling it, Ananya has taken up multiple roles in her startup.In the early days, she was the company’s field officer, and travelled to remote parts of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh where she met with women entrepreneurs to see how best the MFI could serve them.
It took a lot of convincing on her part before people realised that she was serious about this business. It offers livelihood-related loans at 22 percent, compared with standard interest rates of 25-26 percent.
It was also a challenge building clients’ faith in taking loans from Svatantra and to make them understand the firm’s value proposition, which is considerable, she explains: To begin with, it has a 100 percent cashless disbursement through national electronic funds transfer (Neft); it also helps its clients open bank accounts, which is its way of adhering to one of its core missions of financial inclusion; its field officers don’t carry cash, thus reducing cases of fraud which these businesses are susceptible to.
The MFI’s website claims it has 44,919 active clients and a total client portfolio of Rs 46.91 crore.
As an adult, though she has left the world of competitive chess behind, the life skills she learnt from the game—be it the power of strategy or the importance of patience—have held her in good stead.
Today, the 21-year-old is making the right moves in the challenging world of microfinance with the aim of empowering women in the under-served rural areas of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.Like most seasoned entrepreneurs, Ananya believes that the backbone of any business lies in having the right team.