‘Smart Village App’ enables business growth and alternate economic development

Cognizant of the economic difficulties faced by rural villages due to the restrictions during the pandemic, Sarvodaya Development Finance (SDF), the financial services arm of one of Sri Lanka’s oldest social movements, the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement, plans to launch the ‘Smart Village App’ to enable better connectivity and strengthen business growth and financial outcomes.

Having started it’s digitisation journey prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, with meetings conducted via Zoom and Google Meets, SDF takes the next step in transforming ethical financing through the introduction of the ‘Smart Village App.’ The prime goal of the app is to provide financial access to grassroot level communities by providing greater access to digital platforms, through which they can sell their products and services and run their business and manage their finances.

SDF who already worked closely with over 5,400 Sarvodaya societies, closely connected to villages, handed out handheld digital devices to enable online payments for utility bills, insurance, and banking and finance payments among other options, in a pilot project that initially focused on a sample of 75 societies and their neighbouring communities. This was scaled to the rest of the societies after the success of the initial pilot that saw great engagement and a significant impact in a short span of time. The devices, now to be pre-loaded with the ‘Smart Village App’, stand to play an integral role in ensuring greater customer convenience and more timely payments.

The App, soon to be available on both the Google Play and Apple app stores, stands to bring about a number of benefits. From ensuring better connectivity between village or community products and services, to enabling effective capacity sharing, enabling a more structured distribution network when seeking opportunities for transporting products, sustainable consumption and more importantly allowing reach into a global market.

Commenting on the upcoming launch of the app, Chief Executive Officer of Sarvodaya Development Finance, Nilantha Jayanetti, stated, “We have long seen the benefits of using digital avenues to drive economic inclusivity and financial equity, and our next endeavor, the Smart Village App, has the potential to transform the financing landscape and bring about a plethora of benefits for the underserved and underrepresented. The App enables showcasing local village products on an international stage and drives collaboration and greater access to financial portals and online marketplaces – driving transactions and economic growth while ensuring health and safety is secured, during the course of the pandemic.”

Sarvodaya Development Finance prides itself as a dynamic financial services provider that places emphasis on narrowing the digital divide in the financial services sector. It uses modern digital platforms to drive the development of small and medium enterprises through customized development opportunities through a shared economy eco-system.

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