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inde svatantra proparco afd microfinance women empowerment
Svatantra Microfin Pvt. Ltd. (Svatantra) - India’s foremost microfinance company, is working with Proparco - the private sector financing subsidiary of Agence Française de Développement Group, a leading European Development Finance Institution (EDFIs) to advance women's empowerment; as France becomes the EU Gender Champion in India.

Mumbai-based Svatantra Microfin was founded by Ms. Ananya Birla at the age of 17.

Svatantra Microfin is one of the youngest and fastest growing NBFC-MFI in the country. Till date, it has crossed an AUM of 1 billion USD, 7000 employees, a CAGR of 120% (2015-2022), and is consistently accorded “Great Places To Work”. With a CRISIL A+ rating, Svatantra is the youngest and one of the highest rated organization in the sector. Svatantra has impacted over 18 million lives, and adopted the 100% cashless disbursement method since inception.

On this partnership, Ms. Ananya Birla commented, “It is an honour to associate with the French government and AFD Group, and for Svatantra to be recognized as a key driver for financial inclusion in India. This is the beginning of a long-term relationship to further the cause of gender equity and women empowerment.”

We are thrilled to start our cooperation with Svatantra Microfin, an important Micro Finance Institution in India, which strives to support development of women-led microbusinesses. Its strategy of achieving responsible financial inclusion of financially excluded populations in rural areas of India with the help of technology, contributes to Sustainable Development Goals achievement and is fully aligned with Proparco’s strategy in the region. We look forward to witness Svatantra’s journey of creating significant impact in India.” said Ms. Francoise Lombard, CEO of Proparco.  

The signing ceremony for USD 15 million credit line was organised in the French Embassy in New Delhi in the presence of French Foreign Affairs Minister Ms. Catherine Colonna, Ambassador of France to India Mr. Emmanuel Lenain, AFD Executive Director Mr. Philippe Orliange and Proparco Regional Director Ms. Diane Jegam.


About Proparco

Proparco is the private sector financing arm of French public entity Agence Française de Développement Group (AFD Group). It has been promoting sustainable economic, social and environmental development for over 40 years. Proparco provides funding and support to both businesses and financial institutions in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle-East. Its action focuses on the key development sectors: infrastructure, mainly for renewable energies, agribusiness, financial institutions, health and education. Its operations aim to strengthen the contribution of private players to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the international community in 2015. To this end, Proparco finances companies whose activity contributes to creating jobs and decent incomes, providing essential goods and services and combating climate change. They contribute to building sustainable economic growth and reducing poverty. For more information www.proparco.fr/en.

About Ananya Birla

Ms. Ananya Birla is a successful business-woman and platinum selling artist. Her first company, Svatantra Microfinance Pvt Ltd, founded at the age of 17, is amongst India's fastest growing MFI's, has crossed an AUM of 1 billion USD, 7000 employees, a CAGR of 120% (2015-2022), and is consistently accorded Great Places To Work. With a CRISIL A+ rating, Svatantra is the youngest, highest rated organization in the sector. Svatantra successfully acquired Micro Housing Finance Corporation Ltd. in 2018. Her innovation across the business has resulted in a number of firsts in the industry, and solidified Svatantra's position as an industry leader in financial services. Ms. Birla is also the founder of design-led home decor brand Ikai Asai. On the social front, Ms. Ananya Birla has co-founded Mpower, and advocates the need for conversations around mental health in India; and the Ananya Birla Foundation that does pioneering research in mental health and social impact. Alongside the Chairman, Mr. Kumar Mangalam Birla, she is involved in various group businesses driving key strategy across industries. As a Director of Aditya Birla Management Corporation Pvt. Ltd., she works to expand the financial, fashion and entertainment portfolio within the group. Her role will further contribute to strategy led decisions in new businesses and investments, across India and overseas.

About Svatantra Microfin Private Limited

Svatantra was incorporated in 2012 by Ms. Ananya Birla. It started its operations in March 2013. In a short span Svatantra has emerged as the most differentiated process and technology-driven microfinance entity, which offers micro-credit at the lowest rates in the country. Svatantra today with a team of 7000+ employees serves over 3 million rural customers across 19 states with a GLP of INR 7008 Cr. The organisation provides complete and affordable financial and non-financial solutions to rural women who are entrepreneurs themselves. The company was one of the first microfinance institution to receive the Non-Banking Financial Company – Microfinance Institution (NBFC-MFI) license from the Reserve Bank of India. With a central aim of financial inclusion, Svatantra is the only MFI with 100% cashless disbursements facilitating activation of bank accounts for its clients since inception. The A+ graded organization was awarded the best microfinance organisation of the year in 2021 and was placed in the top 30 best places to work in its segment by globally recognized Great Places To Work two years in a row (2020 & 2022). In addition, Svatantra MHFC, her micro housing arm, is the only housing institution to focus on the EWS/LIG segment, and to have a completely branchless model.

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