IPDC is actively targeting marginalized SMEs for support

Rizwan Dawood Shams, Managing Director of IPDC Finance PLC, on Prioritizing Small Businesses and Beyond Just Lending

IPDC Finance PLC, under the leadership of managing director Rizwan Dawood Shams, has undergone a remarkable transformation in recent years. What started as a corporate-focused lender in 1981 has now evolved into a champion for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Bangladesh.

In a recent interview, Rizwan Dawood Shams shed light on the organization’s journey towards prioritizing small businesses and going beyond just lending to support SMEs. He highlighted the shift in focus that began in 2008 with the establishment of a dedicated SME department, which has since become central to IPDC’s mission.

The commitment towards SMEs has only strengthened over the years, with a significant portion of the portfolio now consisting of small businesses. The launch of ‘IPDC-DANA’ has further expanded the organization’s reach to micro merchants, including those in remote areas.

One of the key aspects of IPDC’s approach to SME financing is keeping entrepreneurs “tension-free” in accessing loans. The organization offers a variety of loan options, including working capital financing and collateral-free loans, to cater to the diverse needs of SMEs. Additionally, streamlined processes and innovative cashflow assessments ensure a smoother and faster approval process for entrepreneurs.

Despite the challenges faced by SMEs in accessing low-interest stimulus loans, IPDC has tailored its services to meet their needs and provide essential support beyond just financial assistance. The share of SME finance in the loan portfolio has been steadily growing, reflecting IPDC’s commitment to fostering sustainable growth among SMEs.

IPDC’s SME loan scheme, Joyee, specifically focuses on empowering women entrepreneurs with competitive interest rates and comprehensive support services. The response to Joyee has been overwhelmingly positive, with a growing portfolio and an increasing number of female entrepreneurs benefiting from the program.

In terms of linking SMEs with large industries for rapid industrialization, IPDC has launched initiatives like Joyee 360 to address market access and skill development opportunities for entrepreneurs. By financing entrepreneur fairs, providing training workshops, and offering business support services, IPDC aims to create a conducive environment for SMEs to thrive and contribute to economic development.

Looking ahead, IPDC has plans to expand branch coverage and leverage technology to reach rural SMEs more effectively. By embracing digitalization and collaborating with aggregators and commercial bodies, the organization is committed to ensuring that SME entrepreneurs have the support they need to grow their businesses and contribute to a more inclusive financial landscape.

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