Challenge Fund Investments


Finance Against Merchandise

By SSD technologies Limited. Creating financing opportunities for e-commerce merchants

Private-private Initiative for Access to Insurance Programme

By Pragati Life Insurance Limited and INAFI Bangladesh. Composite micro-insurance covering life, asset and liability


A voice-based ERP solution, backed by a Bengali speech recognition system that eliminates the need for paper-based record-keeping for 70,000 micro and small enterprises by September 2018. Read our Hishab case study


By Bank Asia. Establishing an online loan application submission and credit approval system to provide financing to 10,000 micro and small enterprises by end 2018

Save & Grow

By bKash and participating banks. Mobile financial service that collects deposit payments and disburses loans from banks to provide 7,200 micro and small enterprises with finance opportunities by end 2018

Impact MSE

By ACACIA SRIM Limited. Establishing Bangladesh’s first socially responsible MSE investment platform

Agribusiness Boost Bangladesh

AbB is a young entrepreneurial global initiative with a strong objective to support high growth- and high impact potential agro MSEs (micro & small enterprises).

Aamra Payment Network

By aamra technologies limited: uses Near Field Communication (NFC) as an alternative to expensive point-of-sale machines for micro and small enterprises

‘CVCFL Agricultural Finance Scheme’ by CAPM Venture Capital and Finance Limited, and Agromach and Farming Services

Operating in Naogaon district to provide micro-leasing and access to finance to farmers (crop and fish) in rural areas. Fish farmers and agricultural farmers without appropriate collateral for loans are assisted to form groups so they can apply for as cooperatives from CVCFL. Anticipates funding for 1400 fish farmers/MSEs, and micro-leasing for 200 farmers.

‘IPDC-Orjon’ by IPDC

Aiming to establish an end-to-end supply chain management platform using Blockchain technology. Onboarding corporates, its primary and secondary suppliers, and IPDC into a single platform, will increase visibility of all business transactions and enable IPDC to extend easy low cost credit to 25,000 small businesses in the next five years.

‘Business Access’ by bKash

bKash initiative to equip its entire merchant and agent network with QR codes. Additionally, the initiative will develop agent and merchant mobile apps which will be used to support and promote MFS transactions. 15,000 merchants are expected to be equipped with the application by 2020.  

‘Growing Together’ by Bank Asia, Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO), and Syngenta Bangladesh

Setup 20 farmer centers across the country. The farmer centers will be equipped with agent banking services and create a detail database of 100,000 farmers. NFC cards will be distributed to these farmers who will be able to access flexible loan products from Bank Asia. £ 2.74 million will be disbursed to 15,000 farming entities in the next two years.

‘Creating Cattle Insurance Market by Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) Tracking in Bangladesh’ by Phoenix Insurance Company, and shurjoMukhi

Creating a cattle insurance market using radio-frequency identification (RFID) rumen bolus based technology. Will provide tracking and health related data on the insured cattle heads to both the insurance service provider as well as the farmer. Phoenix insurance is aiming to provide the services to 580 MSEs with a total sum insured of £5.71 million.

Retailer Financing by IPDC

The lack of a credit facility from distributors limits a retailer’s ability to lift the required amount of products to meet market demand. Banks and NBFI’s have not catered to this segment because of a lack of transaction visibility. IPDC aims to use transaction data between a FMCG distributor and its associated retailers to determine the credit worthiness of respective retailers. IPDC will establish trade credit lines for retailers to enable business growth. 150 MSEs are expected to receive financing worth GBP 1.1million through this initiative

Chaldal vegetable network by CHALDAL Limited

The vegetable market of Bangladesh is worth of $1.4 billion annually. There are about 22,000 small and medium retailers in Dhaka City and its surrounding area where most of these vegetables are sold. During the retailing phase, the products purchased during the mid-night and early morning from wholesale markets are packed and carried to retailing spaces/grocery stores/wet markets for customers to choose and buy from. While such a scenario is common all around the country on a daily basis, the system demonstrates some inherent inefficiency from the producers and across individual actors within the supply chain.

Chaldal aims to support micro and small vegetable and grocery retailers by ensuring timely delivery of seasonal vegetables and grains in right quantities at a competitive price through efficient delivery network. Chaldal plans to create a digital transaction profile for each beneficiary and offer suitable financial services. If implemented successfully this would be significant leap towards digitisation of highly unstructured market. Through its financing partner Chaldal aims to provide at least GBP400,000 equivalent of financing to 160 MSE by the end of 1st year of operation.

Sheba Briddhi by Sheba xyz

In Bangladesh, approximately 95%+ of the services are provided by MSEs and individual sole-proprietors. However, inadequacy of market-relevant business development support, minimal understanding of forward market dynamics, lack of practical opportunities to accelerate growth, insufficient knowledge about latest technologies to streamline business operations and opportunities to link with growth-orientated funding opportunities are largely amiss. Sheba Platform Limited takes an integrated approach to solve the above-mentioned problems through project - Sheba Briddhi, a last mile B2B financial solutions for service-MSEs growth. It packages access to market, business development, account and books management, banking products and financial services - all through one ERP. The project aims to provide forward market linkage to 10,000 MSEs and financing worth approximately GBP 150,000 to 150 MSEs within the 1st year of operation.

BRAC Bank data lab and data strategy development by BRAC BANK

Currently in Bangladesh, the lack of data availability means that the majority of financial services are designed using a top-down approach, where internal experts use their market knowledge to create new products. As a result, service updates tend to be mediated through a relatively inefficient process of trial and error. To establish a greater sensitivity to actual market demands, BRAC Bank has partnered with the BFP-B to establish a Data Lab, which will house its analytics initiatives. The initial project focuses on a robust Business Intelligence platform, which will deliver up-to-date market information to product-design teams. In doing they will be able to move towards customer-centric product design, as well as enabling them to diagnose and address emerging problems across the whole product portfolio. The second phase of the project will use data-driven credit scoring to maximise the chance of accepting viable loan applications, even when the applicant lacks a credit history or collateral.

Cash Management Decision Support System

By Trust Bank Mobile Money and shurjoMukhi: overdraft facilities to 10,000 mobile financial services/mobile money agent

Agent bank services

By Dutch Bangla Bank Limited (DBBL). DBBL agent banking outlets to provide banking services to 15,000 micro and small enterprises


By Bangladesh SME Corporation Limited (BSCL). Third party match making platform between financial institutions and MSEs, which will provide banking and BDS services to 10,000 micro and small enterprises by end 2018. Read our i-SME case study


By pi Strategy Consulting and Robi Axiata Limited. Mobile phone based ERP and business analytics service access to 700 micro and small enterprises by end 2018

Trade Plus

By bKash. 7,550 loans to qualifying bKash agents and merchants by end 2018

Better Life Enterprises Development

By Young Consultants. Developing a marketplace to connect technical service providers with potential clientele

Agriculture Weather Index Based Insurance

By Green Delta Insurance Company Limited. Insurance to mitigate risks from weather events for 9,800 farmers by September 2018

Equity Crowdfunding

By BD Venture Limited. Online platform for investors and investees to create alternative finance opportunities for small businesses

ShopUp’ by Shopfront

Self-learning credit appraisal platform that assesses Facebook MSEs by utilising data from 25 different sources. ShopUp's shop management tool collects necessary information, and the algorithm prepares a loan offer based on the MSE's working capital requirements and repayment capacity. The loan offer is then forwarded to formal financial institutions, who then finance the MSE. Aims to disburse £1m to 800 women entrepreneurs.

‘Shetu’ by S11

A platform to provide a centralised marketplace for commodity exchange among value chain actors in sectors such as readymade garments, agriculture, and automobile parts. On the platform, producers can register and upload products following standardised guidelines and pricing systems. Wholesalers then buy products from merchants directly. Anticipates financing at least 50 small businesses and facilitating at least 200 thousand transactions on the platform.

‘Smart Capital’ by Venture Investment Partners Bangladesh

VIPB has partnered with LightCastle Partners and Syngenta Foundation to create farmers hubs, provide mentorship, and run accelerator programmes and boot camps that helps the agriculture businesses to become fully bankable businesses. VIPB will then invest in the most promising ventures. VIPB anticipates supply chain development of at least 12,000 farmers, with 60 small businesses receiving equity financing

‘Last Mile Agent’ by Dutch-Bangla Bank Limited

Extending benefits of agent-banking by deploying active door-to-door services by agents. This is expected to increase customer traffic to pre-existing business of the agents, especially deposit sales, and improve community standing through bank-brand affiliation. For customers, the expected benefits are greater convenience and cheaper transaction cost. Anticipates 10,000 small businesses with new banking services, with 250 small businesses selected for initial financing of £1m.

Swosti-mfi247’ by Swosti Limited

Bangladesh’s first mobile application-based microfinance and savings management software system. This paperless service enables NGOs, microfinance institutions and credit to transparently, efficiently, and quickly manage their microfinance operations. Aims to facilitate loans to 10,000 new small businesses, with a total of 28,000 disbursements of £12.8m in loans.

Easy access to equity financing for small and medium enterprise (SMEs) by Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE)

Short term deposits financing long term business projects in Bangladesh are generally supported by short term bank deposits. The alternative financial instrument market has not grown to the expected level because of a lack of structured exit route for investors. DSE has launched a new trading board, the SME platform, to enable any public limited company to raise funds. Through the project DSE will provide support to streamline financial reporting standards and governance practices and enlist 20 enterprises to raise GBP 5.7 million through the capital market.

Alternative Credit Scoring & Digital Customer Point Verification (CPV) by CRAB

Complexity on KYC verification and conventional risk assessment process is one of the key reasons for MSEs not getting formal financing. CRAB aims to fill this gap by launching an alternative credit scoring tool for the financial sector. CRAB has partnered with Live Technologies (technical partner) to collateralise non-banking financial transaction data, human capital, social capital and more. The basic design of the ACS (Alternative Credit Scoring) model will use different telco data sources coupled with transaction data through a Machine Learning Approach that encompasses a number of Artificial Intelligence aspects in its design. The credit scoring generated through this will be used by different financial institutions to extend credit to clients and businesses.

Financial Inclusion through the Risk Protection of MSEs- A 360 Degree Insurance Solution by PRAGATI

Pragati insurance is launching a composite insurance product covering life, asset and credit outstanding which will be bundled with SME loan products of banks and Non Bank Financial Institutions (NBFIs). The project aims to derisk the loan portfolio of banks and NBFIs and encourage them to take more risk with their lending. 6000 MSEs are expected to be benefited during the project cycle.

Cash Recycling Program by D Money

Liquidity management in the mobile financial service chain is a challenging process. This leads to a high cash-out charge where distributors and agents take approximately 75% of the total cash out charge. D Money will launch a predictive platform in partnership with an MFS provider to match cash-in and cash-out customers in real time thereby minimising liquidity management challenge which in turn will reduce the MFS cash-out charge. The project which was sourced through BFP-B’s bootcamp pipeline will pilot the initiative to test out the viability of the idea.

Enhancing Bank Asia’s agent banking through data analytics by BANK ASIA

A major issue facing agent banking operators is how to grow the size and span of the agent network in a sustainable manner. As the size of the network increases, selecting where to recruit agents, and which agents to work with, becomes a more difficult problem, as does motivating the individual agents themselves. Bank Asia aims to address the issue by establishing a Business Intelligence platform to assess gaps in service provision and to better understand the drivers of agent success. There will also be dashboard for the agents themselves, that will deliver performance-related information to encourage improvements in outreach. These platforms will help to run the operation at scale, enabling more automated decision-making and interaction. Bank Asia will also aim to introduce a greater emphasis on automated credit scoring by using machine learning techniques to assess incoming credit applications.

Cattle Shield by brac bank ltd. and gdic

The livestock sector is subject to a considerable element of uncertainty arising from death, disease or depreciation caused by natural disasters, sickness or accident and these uncertainties induce substantial income risks to small and poor cattle farmers in our country. Small livestock farmers in Bangladesh do not have enough resources or capital to give collateral to financial institutions against livestock loan. To secure the credit amount and to expand farmers’ capacity, BRAC Bank Limited is planning to implement livestock insurance coverage along with Green Delta Insurance Company Limited. In this project BRAC Bank will provide loans covered by insurance policy by Green Delta Insurance Company Limited. NFC-collar based technology will be used to supervise and monitor the cattle. A technology platform will be developed for the monitoring of the insured cattle. 200 cattle farmers will be financed and insured with at least BDT 200 million of financing by 2020.


Want to learn about funding opportunities through our 'rolling round' of funding? now open