Saving a Dime a Time is Helping Small Entrepreneurs become Financially Strong
Udhyam distributed Piggy Banks to street-side entrepreneurs in Bangalore to inculcate saving habits.
When Dinesh, a streetside tea-seller, started saving money using a piggy bank he was sceptical about it making any real difference to his life. Nevertheless, he decided to try and started putting away Rs.100 a day in the piggy bank. He soon realised something that is at the centre of the ’savings’ program - putting away a little money, even Rs 100 a day, every day goes a long way.
Dinesh had been saving for a few months when his sister contracted dengue and needed to be hospitalised. Not wanting to go the moneylender route (interest rates of 80-120% are not uncommon) he decided to use the money from the piggy bank. The Rs.10,000 he’d saved was enough to cover the treatment and helped Dinesh stay away from the cycle of returning money at high interest.
Today, Dinesh sees the importance of saving and he’s gone back to saving money and intends to continue doing so. This is not an isolated story. Over 50 streetside entrepreneurs, whom we call vyapaaris, have been saving in piggy banks for the last few months and several of them have come back to us with stories just like Dinesh’s.
The genesis of this idea was the realisation that most vyapaaris like Dinesh rely on expensive moneylenders and informal sources of financing for everything from buying everyday inventory for their shops to paying school fees for their children. Although many of them have bank accounts, there is an apprehension of the formal banking sector which means that few actively use their accounts to save money. Fewer still believed they could save - according to them, savings involve putting large sums of money away and they don’t have large sums of money readily available and they can’t afford to park away what they have.
What could we do to capitalise on existing behaviours such as giving small amounts of money on a daily basis - whether to a chit fund or for a loan repayment to a money lender, to create a lasting shift in behaviour?
Giving vyapaaris a piggy bank in which they could save a small amount each day seemed like the simplest solution - we made only one request, that they keep the piggy bank at their place of work where they could see it and be reminded to save every day. We started off with a handful of vyapaaris a few months ago and have been steadily expanding since. We believe there is a scope to reach millions of street-side vyapaaris across the country.
Now that we have a proof of concept for the savings program, we want to create a movement with people all over the country helping street vendors in their area - the local tea, fruit, vegetable sellers or ironwalas start saving and making a lasting difference to their lives.
These vyapaaris are an intrinsic part of our daily lives who offer us easy access to a wide range of goods and services. With your help, more vyapaaris like Dinesh have an opportunity to build a more financially secure life and take better financial decisions. According to official estimates, there are at least 10 million streetside vyapaaris across India. Imagine the far-reaching impact we'll have together!
For more information, contact us and we’ll help you get started. Let's start changing lives around us!
This impact has been possible through Udhyam Vyapaar, a Udhyam Learning Foundation program that engages with micro-entrepreneurs to help them create substantial and sustainable income uplift.