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Smita Ram and Ram N.K, Founders, Rang De

Monday February 22, 2010 , 4 min Read

Sharing the colours of joy!

India is a land of complaints. We complain about things that are not right and how things should be; but only few of us come forward to embark upon them. One of those few is RangDe.Org.RangDe is the brainchild of Smita Ram and Ram N. K that enables individuals to create a social impact by lending small sums of money to rural entrepreneurs. It all started in 2008 when Smita and Ram alighted themselves in Social entrepreneurship to fight against poverty by making RangDe transparent and sustainable way of maing difference.

RangDe's mission is to make low cost microcredit a reality by reaching out to those people for whom even traditional microcredit is not affordable. They enable this by allowing individuals to become social investors who can lend small sums of money to borrowers listed on the website. Borrowers are usually rural entrepreneurs and are screened by their field partners. Borrowers pay an interest rate of 8.5% per annum out of which 1% per annum comes to RangDe to cover the operational costs. The social investor earns a return of 2% per annum.

"Living in India prepares us to accept everything. . We have even begun to believe that it is difficult to change anything in India.The quest to find a sustainable solution to poverty led us to Microcredit and the different approaches to it. " says Smita.

Considering that there is a huge unmet need and a tremendous oppurtunity for Indian microfinancing sector to grow, "Microcredit is just the beginning of an individual’s fight against poverty. For RangDe to become a wholesome initiative, it is key that we go beyond microcredit. We are exploring an array of initiatives in the clean lighting, water and sanitation space." says Ram

So far RangDe has allocated loans to more than two thousand rural entrepreneurs across ten states in India. Close to thousand social investors have contributed small sums of money to fund the loans of these entrepreneurs. And now they plan to scale up their business by reaching out to maximum number of investors and borrowers and to make low cost microcredit a scalable and sustainable initiative by reaching out to India’s poorest of the poor

RandDe was self funded by Smita and Ram. They invested around six thousand pound and subsequently got funded. They started with one field partner and fifteen borrowers and now they have grown to twenty field partners across ten states and disbursed around twelve million!

Never in their journey they felt like giving up. Their passion drives them to stay buckled.

"The undying passion of our team, the borrowers we service, the support of 1000 social investors and the great enthusiasm of our chapter members keeps us going no matter what." says Ram

There had been many challenges in their jouney. The major one was to earn the trust of the people.

"We are overcoming this challenge by focusing on some of our non-negotiables –transparency and communication. We go out of our way to communicate to our social investors – be it good new or bad news, keeping the communication channel open is very important." say these young entrepreneurs.

Along with the challanges they have had many success stories to boast of. Reaching out to more than two thousand rural entrepreneurs with a great network of field partners is their biggest achievement. Their recognition comes in the form of feedback from social investors and entrepreneurs they service.

Smita and Ram both wants social entrepreneurship to become the next buzz word! According to them social enterprise is still at its nascent stage. They share their word of advice and suggest the budding entrepreneurs to work with unreasonable passion and reasonable amount of realism which will not only help them to meet the need but also bring them tremendous success. wishes Smita, Ram and RangDe all the luck and wishes that this noble cause bring them lots of achievement and excellence.