By Vipul Sharma
Milestones are a good time to pause and reflect on our journey so far. At Chqbook we recently celebrated a big milestone when, we announced the launch of our ‘financial control center’ on mobile that will empower India’s 60 million financially underserved small business owners, like kiranas, merchants, chemists, and all others running proprietorship businesses.
During the pandemic, we witnessed how small merchants, kiranas, and mom and pop stores have been the backbone of the Indian economy — showing their resilience in the face of utmost adversity. They supported the communities in which they operate by being open for essential supplies, introducing new services such as home delivery, and being an important job source.
However, limited access to financial resources, especially credit, remains a compounding factor that hurts the underlying health of small businesses. In fact, research suggests that more than 80 percent of small businesses experience cash flow problems and nearly 30 percent run out of cash that risks their very survival. Access to capital has been a bane due to insufficient assets for collateral, procedural red-tape, and inflexible credit terms. Keeping up with day-to-day financial management, especially for retail businesses, is also a challenge and takes away the business owners’ focus from growing their businesses.
We started Chqbook in 2017 to address the challenges small businesses owners face with being traditionally underserved in the financial ecosystem. All of us founders are aligned to our purpose of creating sustainable social impact. This purpose is also very personal to me. I have witnessed at close quarters the impact one generation has when it lifts future ones. It has shaped my life and career choices, and is the north star of our purpose at Chqbook — to be the catalyst that transforms the lives of millions of small business owners thereby having a positive impact on the success of their future generations.
At Chqbook, we are deeply invested in understanding the financial needs of small business owners. The launch of our financial control center on mobile brings together all financial services that small business owners need to survive and thrive. It ensures that they can conduct their businesses without disruption to their daily schedule by virtue of having access to financial services namely current account, credit, loans, insurance, and bookkeeping at their fingertips and on the go. All these services are supported by an industry-first rewards program, where they earn rewards on every transaction.
With our new mobile app, we are at our second inflection point — we are looking at expanding our operations to 50 cities and, increasing the number of customers we serve to 1 million. We are bullish about the future, bolstered by our team who live our mission every day, business partners and investors, who are with us in the first place because they emphasize the importance of enduring values, which translates into both societal as well as business impact.
With over 60 million small businesses in India, the opportunity is immense, and we have only just scratched the surface.