Collaborative Efforts Aim to Transformative Access to Finance in Char Areas of Bangladesh

Entrepreneurial ecosystems
Making Markets Work for the Chars (M4C) has signed Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with two start-ups, WeGro Technologies Limited and Pure Fintech (brand name:, to enhance access to finance for char-centric businesses in the project areas. In addition to this, United Commercial Bank Ltd (UCB) has signed an MoU with Char Development Research Center (CDRC) to ensure financial inclusion for char areas of the country. The main objective of this collaboration is to offer char-centric businesses an alternative avenue to access finance beyond traditional sources like microfinance institutions (MFIs) and local money lenders.

Under the MoU, both WeGro Technologies Limited and Pure Fintech will expand their investment services within the char areas of six districts: Gaibandha, Lalmonirhat, Rangpur, Jamalpur, Kurigram, and Shariatpur for the first time. The partnership will last for 16 months, commencing from March 2023 to June 2024. Both companies have committed to investing BDT 1 crore each in char entrepreneurs, to unlock the untapped potential of businesses in these regions and drive economic growth and prosperity.

Till May 2023, the project has facilitated loan services worth more than BDT 101 crore have been disbursed to 29,000 farmers and MSMEs in northern char areas of Bangladesh through partner MFI’s. Beyond this Micro Finance led financial inclusion model M4C collaborated with an agro startup (ifarmer) since 2020. Till April 2023, iFarmer has reached more than one thousand char farmers with loan services. In this context, partnerships like this can contribute to increasing the option and market competitiveness in char regions.

WeGro Technologies Limited is an agri-fintech company that provides smallholder farmers with access to finance, inputs, and markets. They focus on livestock farming and offer asset financing with a profit-sharing model. Till now, they have invested BDT 340 Million engaging more than 3,000 farmers. Pure Fintech, operating as "," is a crowd-funding Islamic financial platform that invests in MSMEs. They have invested over BDT 53,650,000 as of March 2023.

United Commercial Bank PLC (UCB) recently launched an initiative with CDRC  co-implementer of the M4C project to ensure financial inclusion, food security, nutritional quality, and climate-resilient sustainable agriculture in the char areas of Bangladesh. Under this initiative, around 13,000 char farmers and MSMEs will receive financial support for capacity development.  The project also includes research on climate-smart agricultural marketing systems conducted by CDRC.

These partnerships aim to provide resources and support for char farmers and MSMEs, enabling them to expand their operations and seize growth opportunities. By combining expertise in finance, technology, and development, this collaboration will uplift char-centric businesses and transform the economic landscape of targeted districts. These initiatives are expected to have a significant impact on the lives of char communities, promoting sustainable development and prosperity in these regions.

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Entrepreneurial ecosystems
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To reduce vulnerability and increase wellbeing of vulnerable and marginalised char dwellers living in the northern char region of Bangladesh. Chars are riverine land, susceptible to erosion and soil deposition, which remain disconnected from mainland either seasonally or throughout the year. Due to this unique geographical positioning,...