Even decades after the financial inclusion movement started, the overwhelming majority of Indians neither understand nor have access to basic financial instruments essential for stability and security in their lives. Despite India’s stellar record in micro finance (there has been a lot of lending), basic insurance, savings, and investment products remain beyond most people’s reach. Why? And how do we change this?
These are the questions Enviu’s team turned its attention to after its success in Ghana with People’s Pension Trust.
Research by the Enviu team in India made it clear that achieving sustainable financial inclusion for millions requires innovating alongside committed, like-minded partners willing to experiment and co-create. In Jana Urban Services for Transformation (Jana Services), a wholly owned subsidiary of Jana Urban Foundation, Enviu found the perfect partner to do just that.
Together we will test and evolve path-breaking solutions that will help low- and lower middle-income Indians in their financial understanding and planning, and provide access to appropriate products, including insurance and investments.
Who is Jana Services and what do they stand for?
Jana means people, and financially including all people in the economy is exactly what the Jana Group stands for. Just like Enviu.
Founded by renowned social entrepreneur, Ramesh Ramanathan, the Jana Group consists of both non-profit and for-profit social enterprises addressing India’s urban challenges. Financial inclusion of the urban poor and lower middle class is one of Jana’s primary goals.
Janalakshmi started in 2000 as India’s first urban microfinance institution, and is now the largest, with over 5.8 million active customers.
Jana Group’s most prominent organization is the Janalakshmi Financial Services (soon to become Jana Small Finance Bank). Janalakshmi started in 2000 as India’s first urban microfinance institution, and is now the largest, with over 5.8 million active customers.
Jana Services and its parent, Jana Urban Foundation, constantly strive to understand the world of the urban excluded households and incubate viable and scalable social business models that are central to inclusion. Jana Services has the unique background of providing financial literacy and advisory services, among others, to the urban underserved segment. This includes the emerging middle class, as well as micro enterprises.
Ignite the fuse
In the coming months, Enviu and the Jana team will work together like a swat team sniffing out barriers, and developing and validating potential solutions, with the aim of arriving at a promising subset to further develop together.
Jana’s deep experience, credibility, and leverage to scale solutions, and Enviu’s fresh perspective and innovation approach of learning by doing, form a powerful combination. From crafting user interactions to using modern technologies, the team will experiment with boundary-pushing ideas.
The first step is launching Lakysha! To provide the large numbers of underserved Indians living in urban India with access to simple, suitable and affordable financial products and services, through use of new technologies and a network of on the ground financial planners.
Ultimately, the partnership’s aim is to ignite the fuse for a true financial inclusion revolution in India!