NRFS, the platform for collective journey towards MSME sustainability in India and Asia

NRFS, the collective journey towards MSME sustainability in India and Asia

Nature Responsive Finance for Sustainability or NRFS (NRMS earlier) is a technology based solution to connect people with information and capacity to adopt sustainable MSME practices. NRFS is a solution that addresses the actual need of the people across MSME, which is a vast ecosystem of 7.9 million registered MSMEs in India.

NRFS connect people with technology and through technology. The evolution of this innovative tech- based solution is supported and mentored by Siemens Financial Services, as a part of global initiative to solve real-world sustainability challenges and shape the future along with Siemens.

The concept and design of NRFS received the acclaim and support of being the winner of “Tech4Sustainability Challenge 2023” by Siemens, under the category of “Financing Growth Sustainably”. Markzin, being a youth- led and technology based Startup company from India considers it a great opportunity to materialize the vision of an inclusive and sustainable economy in India and in Asia.

Currently, we are at the level of launching NRFS across the MSME ecosystem in Maharashtra state of India. We are all ready with the technology solution as well as the information.

In order to commemorate the 76th Independence Day of India on August 15, 2023.

Please have a look at the video on the final presentation of NRFS at Tech4sustainability challenge on March 10, 2023

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NRFS, the spirit of empowering MSMEs for adopting sustainable and responsible business

NRFS is a user-friendly app that utilizes AI and integrates Machine Learning, connecting individuals with technology and facilitating communication through technological means.

NRFS provides information and creates awareness among the vast ecosystem of MSME in India to help them adopt sustainable and responsible business practices.

In addition to provision of information, NRFS provides real time ‘referral and hand holding support’ to its user through “Toll Free Helpline” and regular follow up/ notification support on updates around MSME sustainability. Users can access ‘Online Training’ on various aspects of MSME sustainability, as per their requirement.

NRFS is technology solution to address actual need of the people (users) across the entire MSME ecosystem. Existing MSMEs, prospective or new entrepreneurs across the country are the ‘Primary User’ of NRMS. The other stakeholders as ‘Chamber of Commerce & Industries’, Government bodies and professional fraternities connected with MSME will participate in NRFS and use the App as a step towards attaining the common goal of “Net zero”!

The ultimate objective of NRFS is to make people understand the importance and incentives for being sustainable and responsible. As suggested by our field research, MSMEs require initial impetus of ‘improved access to Finance and Technology’ to continue with their sustainability journey, even after having adequate ‘Information’ on sustainability. NRFS addresses that requirement by providing information and connect with Finance and Technology solutions from Siemens, that act as a catalyst for transformation of MSMEs into sustainable and responsible business.

Online trainings on various aspects of MSME sustainability, technology and finance solutions for sustainability will be available for users. Training modules will be developed as per the actual training/ communication need of users, i.e. MSMEs in India. Local language will be used as the medium of communication.

Given the fact that the MVP version is launched in Maharashtra, NRFS is available in Marathi and English currently. As per our studies across the MSME clusters in India, a total of 5 Indian languages in addition to English can make it capable to communicate effectively across all MSME clusters and conglomerates in India.

Use of local language and provision of immediate referral support through AI Chatbot “Neha” and Toll-Free Helpline of “Neha” makes NRFS more inclusive. NRFS leverages the ‘Power of Technology’ to connect all the ‘People’ within the MSME ecosystem and utilizes the “Power of accurate and timely Information” to ensure adoption of sustainable and ‘nature- responsive’ sustainable MSME practices.

Existing as well as prospective entrepreneurs, that includes marginalized groups like women, youth from disadvantageous or remote locations will directly get immediate access to the information and capacity or finance and technology.

Use of local language in NRFS encourages and supports ‘Financial Inclusion’ of the people who are still outside the coverage of Finance support. NRFS presents information in different forms and formats, such as illustrations, excerpts, videos, and all in local language.

Social media and News section of NRFS connects MSMEs with a larger network and at the same time it keeps them updated on latest progress or best practices around MSME sustainability in India and beyond.

Currently we are finalizing the App design, functionalities, content and socio- economic target coverage. We are doing this in close coordination with Siemens team for adding ‘People’ to our collective vision of ‘MSME sustainability’ in India and in Asia.

We are in the process of launching the solution across all the 6 MSME zones in India to cover the entire MSME community at one go.

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Our Team

Our Team

Ranjana Das

Advisor - Research & Financial Inclusion
Ranjana Das has been working on sustainability and business and human rights for few years now. She has done extensive work in tea and sugar supply chain across states of India. Presently she is focusing more on corporate responsibility in the tea supply chain. She has a growing interest in responsible business and is closely following India's current movement on National Guidelines for Responsible Business Conduct (NGRBC). She is associated with the Indian development sector for two decades and right now trying to bring the grassroot experience in the business responsibility sector. Her core areas of interest have been gender and livelihoods and she enjoys designing trainings and conducting them for a variety of stakeholders from social to corporate. She holds a Master's in Economics from a University of Calcutta and Masters in Development Studies from Institute of Social Studies Netherlands. She has remained a Humphrey Hubert Fulbright Fellow with Cornell university.

Chittaranjan Chattopadhyay

Advisor - Policy Advocacy & Networking
CMA Chittaranjan Chattopadhyay is a Fellow Member of the Institute of Cost Accountants of India, a Certificated Associate member of Indian Institute of Banking and Finance, an Associate Member of Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (London). He is a practicing Cost and Management Accountant with an experience of 38 years in Banking industry. At present he is Central Council Member and Chairman of Banking Financial Services and Insurance Board of the Institute, Indirect Taxation Committee and also Chairman, Cooperative Development Board, Chairman MSME and Start Ups Promotion Board of the Institute of Cost Accountants of India. With his long experience of working with people around MSMEs, Mr. Chattopadhyay believes that change is possible, provided effective strategies are adopted. With his existing and ever - growing networks with government bodies, business and MSME consortiums, he’ll make inroads for NRFS to get the required attention and promotion

Ruchi Adhikai

Advisor- Sustainable Business
Ruchi aims to drive change with finance and integrate sustainability principles into business strategies to create value for society and the environment. As a part of Siemens Financial services, Ruchi has been guiding our Tech4Sustainability solution Nature Responsive Finance for Sustainability (NRFS) since the ideation phase. Her engagement will add value to NRFS to create scalable sustainability capacity building solutions for SMEs and MSMEs in India. She is actively supporting the entire work of identifying MSME cluster- specific sustainability challenges and designing effective capacity building curriculums for MSMEs in India.

Moitrayee Mondal

Moitrayee is a Social Development professional with over 18 years of experience in planning and implementing projects with focus on Women Empowerment and Financial Inclusion of Women, youth and other excluded groups on community. Moitrayee has expertise on social development issues and have demonstrated experiences in program planning and implementation, capacity building, monitoring and evaluation. Moitrayee will help in directing all activities towards ensuring Financial Inclusion of marginalised and excluded sections from all subsets of society.

Anindya Dey

Advisor - Finance
An out and out Finance and Accounts professional with an experience of managing corporate accounts for over two decades, Anindya provides overall guidance in terms finance planning, management and finance & legal compliances.

Poulomi Kundu

Advisor - Communications
Poulomi is a journalist and communications expert. She has experience of working on some very effective Behaviors Change Communication (BCC) initiatives across states of India. She’ll bring her long experience of working on social and development communications.

Suprio Chatterjee

Team Lead
Suprio is a Marketing and Communications Expert with more than 22 years of experience in planning and managing various local, national and international initiatives around Youth Skill Development and social entrepreneurship. Suprio holds Master’s Degree (MA) in two subjects, Journalism & Mass Communications from University of Calcutta and in Political Science from Rabibdra Bharati University. Suprio is also an MBA with specialisation in Marketing. He has strong and diversified knowledge across the fields of Market Research, Business Planning & Promotion and introducing technology based solutions for community development. Through his long years of experience of working as a Social Development Professional, Suprio amassed a wide range of experience and expertise of planning and working at core community level to influence the socio- economic development of the same.

Suman Sarkar

Lead - Operations
Suman leads the operational aspect of Markzin. Suman brings in his strong experience of managing the implementation of business and ensuring the effective coordination between the planning, execution and quality completion of the project. In addition to leading the Operational part of Markzin, Suman provides direct support to the Creative and Designing aspects of all IT and Digital Marketing works.

Rajarshi Singha

Lead - Technology
Rajarshi is young at age but has vast experience of working across almost all the realms of Information- Communication & Technology solutions in contemporary times. Being a Bachelor's of Engineering in Electronics & Communication Engineering (ECE), Rajarshi instils the power of innovation into activities of Markzin and monitors the quality of IT projects.

Rahul Mondal

Lead - Tech & Marketing
Rahul is at the final year of his Engineering (B. Tech) in Computer Science & Engineering (UEM, Kolkata) and has been working with Markzin for the past three years. In addition to his strong inclination towards Software Development, Rahul has passion for working on Graphics Design as well as UI/UX Designing, Frontend Development, Marketing and Entrepreneurship.

Soubhik Sarkhel

Lead - iOS & Full Stack Developer
Soubhik is a promising iOS developer and Full Stack Developer with the capacity to plan, implement innovative IT projects.

Subhodeep Sarkar

Lead - Android Developer
A graduate in Computer Science and a very industrious and energetic professional, Subhodeep leads the activities around development of Android App

Suman Roy

Lead - Frontend Developer
Suman is at his Pre Final year of graduation in Computer Science. Suman leads the works related to Frontend Development of any Web solution.

Uchchhal Dhar

Lead- Graphics Design
Uchhal shines as a promising Graphics Designer with two years of experience, showcasing prowess in planning and executing innovative projects. His versatile skills span design, making them an invaluable asset to any creative endeavor.