Note to Readers: Moneycontrol, India’s leading financial news digital platform and CommsCredible, an integrated communications consultancy, have come together to partner with Grant Thornton Bharat, one of the largest fully integrated Assurance, Tax & Advisory firms in India, to launch Faces of Vibrant Bharat (FoVB), an initiative that tells stories of organisations making an impact on India's social fabric with their work at the grassroot level.
Enabling the growth of enterprises working towards creating social and/or environmental impact, in a responsible, transparent and sustainable manner, is the raison d'etre of Caspian Debt. As a multisector debt funding company providing customised debt to professionally managed small and mid-market companies, start-ups and social enterprises, Caspian Debt aims to impact social and environmental factors in a manner that is empowering and positive.
Accountability factors are high in Caspian's KRA. As S Viswanatha Prasad, Managing Director of Caspian Debt, puts it, "We hold ourselves equally accountable to not only our shareholders but also our stakeholders, including employees, suppliers, communities, clients and investor partners."
Over the last 15 years, the enterprise has tried to articulate and measure how capital helps address pressing social and environmental problems. Caspian Debt's investee and portfolio companies today impact over 13 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. In addition, it also plays an active role in start-up communities comprising incubators, accelerators, networks, investors to nurture, mentor and support entrepreneurs.
According to Prasad, SMEs account for a critical part of the economy, but their access to finance is a challenge, even today. "Our aim is to provide customised, collateral-free debt solutions to professionally managed responsible SMEs who find it difficult to raise funds from banks without collateral. 80 percent of the companies funded by us go on to raise further equity and debt capital and 83 percent of the companies show positive CAGR in revenues," he adds.
With over 50 financial institutions as clients, Caspian has impacted over 83 SMEs, cumulatively disbursing over 16 billion in loans and impacting over 20 million lives. Over 40 percent of these have been led by women. "We would like to be part of entrepreneurial success and demonstrate that being good is rewarding," adds Prasad.
The journey for Prasad has been made fulfilling by establishing new paradigms in achieving impact without compromising on financial returns, serving low-income customers sustainably and making positive change for communities around them. "Two things that have never failed an entrepreneur is setting up good governance practices and being transparent since the inception of the organisation. It is not something you postpone till you scale, it is the very thing which will help you scale," he concludes.
“While many have an entrepreneurial spirit, funding often comes in the way of sustainable growth. Caspian Debt is a perfect example of how capital, when invested in the right businesses, can lead to positive social impact while boosting growth.” Raja Lahiri, Partner, Grant Thornton Bharat LLP"Caspian Debt is a great story of how the venture can be profitably built and scaled up, even with social development goals at the core of a business model. It has given India's impact generation the financial wings to fly, without fear of losing control." Aman Dhall, Founder, CommsCredible.