Mastercard on Thursday committed Rs 250 crore to help Indian small and business enterprises recover in view of the severe impact of the pandemic.
"Their dependence on the cash economy and supply chain disruptions have made India's small and medium businesses amongst the hardest hit from the COVID-19 pandemic," Mastercard said in a statement.
As part of this commitment, the company will roll out multiple initiatives to help small businesses by growing digital payments awareness and providing low-cost acceptance solutions, both online and offline.
Further, it will drive inclusive growth by enabling small merchants and kirana stores with access to credit, knowledge and tools that will drive operational efficiencies, it said, adding that under the programme, the company will also empower women entrepreneurs by increasing their business acumen.
This is an extension of Mastercard's expanded worldwide commitment to financial inclusion which pledges to bring a total of 100 crore people and 5 crore micro and small businesses into the digital economy by 2025. In April this year, the company also pledged $250 million to support small businesses globally.
"Today's announcement confirms that the company will dedicate a significant proportion to India to benefit millions of SMEs over the coming five years," it said.
Porush Singh, Division President, South Asia, Mastercard said that small businesses are the foundation of India's economy, contributing nearly 35 per cent of the GDP.
"Mastercard will leverage its network, knowledge, technology and partnerships to help these enterprises sustain and grow their businesses. As a result of these initiatives, India's small businesses and entrepreneurs will gain increased access to credit and build operational efficiencies," he said.