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POPxo Power Women List 2022: Hardika Shah, The CEO Turbocharging India’s MSME Landscape

POPxo Power Women List 2022: Hardika Shah, The CEO Turbocharging India’s MSME Landscape

The MSME Messiah

In 2011, Hardika left her cushy Silicon Valley job to start Kinara Capital, a socially-responsible financial technology firm in India. There was a gaping hole in how small business lending was addressed in India. Shah wanted to improve the situation by providing collateral-free, cost-flexible loans to micro-small-medium enterprises (MSMEs). ‘How will unsecured lending work?’ was a question that she was frequently being asked. More scepticism came from Shah’s non-financial background. Shah didn’t waver from her mission.  A decade later, she has disrupted the small business lending model in India. Kinara has led to incremental income generation by disbursing over 70,000-plus loans and has created/sustained more than 250,000 jobs. Headquartered in Bengaluru, the company has grown to 110 branches across six states and ₹1,000 crores in assets under management (AUM).

Shah’s emphasis on social change has set Kinara Capital apart. She is fulfilling it with compassion and a focus on diversity. Shah has made a conscious effort to retain a women-oriented team and extends her support to women entrepreneurs with Kinara Capital’s HerVikas programme. It offers discounted loans to businesses owned and operated by women.

Power Move 

Shah has steered the company through various sucker punches including demonetisation, economic slowdown, and Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL&FS)-liquidity crises. The COVID-19 pandemic was the most overwhelming among these challenges. It led to a 15 per cent dip in Kinara’s loan disbursements. However, Shah stayed true to her vision of democratising credit and managed to make a roaring recovery within six-eight months. The pandemic propelled Kinara to a digital shift as well. Shah got the company registered on 400 payment gateway applications to give MSMEs hassle-free access to Kinara’s loan process. Shah has proved to be an MSME messiah. With Kinara, she is envisioning a financially inclusive world where every business owner has equal access to funding. She is a glowing testimony that businesses can have a social cause at heart and still be profitable.

The POPxo Power Women List is an annual list that celebrates incredible Indian women from diverse domains who make power moves that have a real impact. With The POPxo Power Women List 2022, we celebrate 22 phenomenal women. To see the entire list, click here.

07 Mar 2022

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