Bangladesh’s entrepreneurs and ‘gig’ economy workers - many of whom are women - are able to access loans for the first time through a landmark agreement between SBK Foundation and UK fintech AGAM International.
This first of its kind announcement between Bangladesh’s first digital-only microfinance provider, SBK Foundation, and UK fintech AGAM International, will enable Bangladesh’s app-based entrepreneurs to access the credit they need to purchase goods to enable them to carry out their jobs.
This new offer will be focused on ‘gig’ economy riders and makeup sales people to purchase smartphones, bicycles and product samples. The average loan is expected to be around 25,000 to 50,000 BDT.
Under the partnership, SBK Foundation is able to draw on AGAM’s credit scoring platform to enable unbanked people to have access to finance, even when they lack a traditional credit history. AGAM’s data provides the SBK Foundation with the confidence to identify prospective borrowers.
Two of the first businesses whose workers can obtain loans from SBK Foundation and AGAM International are Shajgoj and Food Panda.
Shajgoj - The Bangladesh-based beauty ecommerce platform is now offering over 10,000 personal care products to almost a half of million customers. By partnering with AGAM, SBK Foundation will be providing microfinance to their mostly female entrepreneurs who are selling products directly to customers via the Shajgoj platform.
Food Panda is Berlin-based Delivery Hero’s lead brand in Asia. It is a popular online food and grocery delivery platform in Bangladesh employing thousands of riders. Through AGAM and SBK Foundation, riders will be able to receive credits for purchasing a bicycle or a smartphone as an initial investment and start their work with Food Panda immediately.
Shabnam Wazed, CEO and Founder of AGAM International said: “We are changing the face of finance, making finance accessible for all. As a female founder I am particularly proud that AGAM has joined with SBK Foundation to enable it to deliver financial products to large numbers of entrepreneurs and ‘gig’ economy workers, the majority of whom are women, giving them the dignity to be able to apply for a transformative loan.”
SBK Foundation’s Founder, Sonia Bashir Kabir said: “We are delighted to be able to connect with AGAM International to work together to empower workers to access the credit they need through technology. It is great to see two female-led Bangladeshi organisations work together to make change for individuals and communities.”
With its 64 established Tech Hubs in 64 districts of Bangladesh, the SBK Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation that works to inspire marginalised communities and grassroots entrepreneurs, predominantly women, to generate income, learn skills and share knowledge throughout their communities.
AGAM, which means ‘advance’ in Bangla, is driven by a mission to enhance lives and livelihoods. It provides smart access to digital finance, empowering individuals and businesses while putting responsibility directly into their hands via a dynamic credit scoring system. This system is based on the LARC algorithm (Literacy, Access, Resilience, Confidence – AGAM’s scoring technology) and also includes financial education modules to improve credit score.
Passionate about innovation in fintech services and education to improve lives, founder and CEO, Shabnam Wazed, of Bangladeshi descent, set up AGAM in 2019 in the UK. With the support of senior entrepreneurs, tech and banking experts, Wazed aims to make a difference for the people of Bangladesh.