Mastercard Introduces Strive India to Bolster Small Businesses

Mastercard has unveiled its ambitious initiative, the Mastercard Strive India program. With a mission to empower 500,000 small businesses in the nation to make the digital shift by 2025, Strive India is keen on supporting:

  • Micro-enterprises
  • Women-driven businesses
  • Agri-entrepreneurs

Collaborative Efforts

The program’s success rests on strong collaborations. Mastercard is leveraging partnerships with trade associations, non-profit organizations, and government bodies. Their mutual aim is to enhance the adoption rate of digital tools, ensuring seamless access to digital markets and financial services.

Mastercard’s Inclusive Vision

The initiative is backed by the Mastercard Centre for Inclusive Growth, an entity that has been actively promoting digital inclusion in India since 2014. The center’s past achievements include the launch of three pivotal digital inclusion programs. Among these are:

  • Digital Saksham, in association with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)
  • Rural Women Chamber of Commerce, supported by the Mann Deshi Foundation
  • Mainstreaming Agricultural Networks & Development Initiatives (MANDI), facilitated by ACCESS Development Services

Commenting on the launch, Subhashini Chandran, Vice President, of Social Impact, Asia Pacific at the Mastercard Centre for Inclusive Growth, emphasized the crucial role of small businesses in India’s growth trajectory. “Small businesses are positioned to be India’s leading employers, contributing significantly to the nation’s $5 trillion economy dream. To harness the full potential of this sector, there’s a dire need for comprehensive support, from capacity building to expansive access to digital tools, new markets, and credit.”

Additional Support for Small Businesses

Strive India is just a part of Mastercard’s broader vision for India’s small businesses. Previously, they had initiated a $100 million credit facility in collaboration with HDFC Bank, DFC, and USAID in 2021. This was specifically for small businesses eager to digitize. In 2020, Mastercard pledged a robust sum of $33 million over a span of five years to uplift India’s small businesses.

Real-world Impact

One of the beneficiaries, Ranjana, an entrepreneur associated with the Rural Women Chamber of Commerce, narrated her success story. By leveraging the business support services extended by Mann Deshi Foundation and the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, she saw her business grow manifold. “Post my association, I expanded my workforce, ventured into e-commerce to scale sales, and began exporting my organic turmeric to Switzerland. It instilled confidence and boosted my business growth,” Ranjana shared.

Stakeholder Participation

The forum is expected to witness participation from a wide array of stakeholders, including policymakers, tech innovators, financial institutions, and business leaders. Their collective wisdom will be instrumental in shaping the roadmap for a more inclusive and sustainable business ecosystem in the region.

Future Engagements

Mastercard Strive India’s commitment to the nation goes beyond just monetary assistance. In a move to foster inclusive discussions, they will be hosting the inaugural edition of the Asia Inclusive Growth Forum on August 25th in New Delhi. The event aims to bring together over 100 influential leaders from varied sectors to foster candid, outcome-driven dialogues, setting the foundation for a more robust global south ecosystem. The forum is envisioned as a platform that will not only shed light on the challenges faced by small businesses in the evolving digital landscape but also brainstorm viable solutions that can expedite their growth and integration into the global economy.


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