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Case study: SMV Wheels

SMV Wheels is an innovative enterprise that promotes financial inclusion of cycle rickshaw pullers in India
I am Naveen Krishna, I am the founder and managing director of SMV Wheels Private Limited based at Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, India Basically I belong to a middle-class family and a high-caste society and my father is a public servant So he gave me a good education and then I was recruited by the CAPART which is the Ministry of Rural Development And I was posted in Northeast India and there I came into conversation with this cycle rickshaw pullers community
From my childhood I have seen these people in Varanasi And I knew the sweat and drudgery they are going through, the pain of the occupation But I never got a chance to interact so closely with them The chance I got while I was doing my job and from my home to office, which was three kilometres oI used to ride on a cycle rickshaw So casually I asked that person How much you earn and where you get the rickshaw So he started telling me about himself and I was amazed after that conversation I come to learn that he is paying 40 rupees per day from last 20 years And he’s not even the owner of a single cycle rickshaw And he was renting it from the fleet merchant The cost of the cycle rickshaw is only 10 thousand rupees that time And he has paid more than 20 times of the cost of one vehicle to the fleet merchant And in spite of putting such hard work and physical effort in the occupation And so I decided to start this work in 2010 I left my job and I come back to Varanasi where I was not very much accepted by my family
because it was a well-paid, secure job which I have left
My father was the first person to oppose me He was of the opinion that he has invested a good amount of money to secure my career and now I leave the job and come to work with the low-caste people so I understood his point of view but for me this cause was of greater importance than the dignity or the fame which was here in the family And so I went to the slums I spent six months with these people in the slums just learning about their lifestyle, how they life, what kind of expenses what kind of health issues they have what kind of mindset actually, that kind of pressure and that kind of environment what kind of pressures it brings to the person at the end of the day how will he behave in the family, what kind of food he is having what are his other entertainment options
so with that idea in mind, we developed a very simple model the model was to convert these daily rentals into weekly instalments and within a year’s time, give them the ownership of the cycle rickshaw Apart from that, giving the ownership was not enough for this community in my opinion so we also wanted to develop an ecosystem around the community giving them insurance, giving them legal licensing which is very hard for a single cycle rickshaw puller to go to the municipal office and get it without paying a bribe to the municipal bodies If you see, it’s a simple model here the people have to pay 300 rupees for 52 weeks, become the owner of the rickshaw Plus, we also sell advertisements on the back side of the rickshaw to the local businesses from where we earn extra revenue which serves as a cushion for our investment and also additionally comes to the cycle rickshaw puller even after they become the owner, the two streams of revenue continue with us one is the insurance, and one is the advertising revenue which is coming to both of us so that way we started with three rickshaws in 2010 and now in say operationally more than three and a half years we have crossed more than 3500 people in two states of India, which are Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand
In our business, we have a very measurable social impact So it’s very countable on fingers So, the number of people who have become the owner of their cycle rickshaw Second, the number of people whose lives have been insured and have got the legal license which also serves as a legal identity to them in the society Third, the increase in income, the bank linkage which we have made the savings accounts which we have opened the amount of savings saved from the day he has signed with the organisation until the day he graduated can be measured.
Third, the increase in income, the bank linkage which we have made the savings accounts which we have opened the amount of savings saved from the day he has signed with the organisation until the day he graduated can be measured.
setting the goal high, does make sense Because we don’t believe in the manual labor and this human beast of burden We want to turn them into dignified entrepreneurs. And that can only be done when the sweat and drudgery of this occupation can be eliminated

SMV Wheels, a social enterprise in India, is working to improve the lives of bicycle rickshaw drivers.

Pay close attention to the different components of their business model. The next Step will ask you to identify the multiple avenues through which SMV Wheels is creating change.

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Social Enterprise: Business Doing Good

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