LONDON, April 27, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --
Two entrepreneurial British Students are in the running to win $1m in seed capital to get their startup off the ground and impact the lives of people living in some of India's poorest slums.
Monty Berrow (20) from Devon and Bay Downing (19) from Liverpool, who are currently studying at the University of Tampa in Florida, have teamed up with four fellow students to launch OptiMrkt.
A social enterprise, the business will use mobile phones to give entrepreneurs in India the chance to showcase their goods to a wider audience and receive micro loans from global investors.
There is currently a $45 billion financial gap in the micro-enterprise sector in India and the mobile wallet industry is set to reach $10 billion by 2022. OptiMrkt aims to bridge this gap, targeting the 200 million people living on under $2 a day.
The OptiMrkt team has already made it into the top 15 of the Hult Prize, an international student competition, and now have the chance to drive OptiMrkt into the top six and win the seven-figure prize.
If successful, Berrow, Bay and OptiMrkt team will receive $1m and present their business venture to former US President Bill Clinton and a number of global leaders this September at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting.
The concept has also caught the interest of tycoon Sir Phillip Green who indicated there was potential for a future working relationship.
Monty Berrow, commented;
"We are building a sustainable business that directly impacts the bottom of the supply chain in India. Our platform is unlike any other as investments flow instantly to the micro entrepreneurs mobile phones. With current informal interest rates as high as 10% per day, these entrepreneurs currently have no viable access to capital, we are solving this problem whilst also enhancing businesses growth."
Bay Downing added ;
"These under served communities are the most industrious places we have ever experienced. There are 20,000 capable entrepreneurs who hand-craft quality products, but without an infrastructure to trade and market themselves, they will continue to struggle. We have seen the opportunity to bridge the gap to help fund these social entrepreneurs and if we win the $1m prize fund this will allow our vision to become a reality."
If successful, OptiMrkt intends to run its programme in conjunction with charity Sabuj Sangha, which has trained 1,000 unemployed women to make products from their homes.