Sastodeal partners with UNCDF and SDC to empower 3,500 micro, small and medium enterprises in Nepal

Published On: May 9, 2022 06:14 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, May 9: A new partnership agreement between Sastodeal, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) is set to help 3,500 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Nepal to digitize their operations, including at least 60 percent women-owned businesses.

With the combined funding of $100,000 from SDC and UNCDF, Nepal’s local leading e-commerce company Sastodeal will receive performance-based grants and technical assistance to provide access to digital marketplaces. The partnership will help MSMEs digitize payments, delivery and post-sales services in rural areas in Nepal, in an effort to boost their sales and help them recover from the effects of the pandemic, according to a joint statement issued by the SDC, UNCDF and Sastodeal on Monday.

Working with MSMEs across all seven provinces of Nepal, Sastodeal will help bridge the digital divide between large businesses and MSMEs. With partnership with UNCDF, for the first time MSME will gain access to the Sastodeal e-commerce platform.

“Switzerland is committed to supporting Nepali MSMEs to make them resilient towards external shocks. Through this partnership, SDC aims to leverage the digital solutions and support MSMEs to gain access to the markets and networks, digitize their transactions and eventually make way to access new sources of capital,” the statement quotes Ambassador of Switzerland to Nepal Elisabeth von Capeller as saying.

“UNCDF is proud to partner with SDC as well as Sastodeal to advance the inclusiveness of the country’s digital ecosystem by fostering the digital transformation of MSMEs, which form the backbone of Nepal’s economy. With this project, UNCDF hopes to help Nepal become more inclusive and resilient to external shocks by accelerating COVID-19 economic recovery,” said Maria Perdomo, Regional Coordinator in Asia at UNCDF.

“As Nepal’s leading local e-commerce company, our key responsibility is to bridge the digital divide in the nation. It is a humongous task considering Nepal’s terrain and unequal distribution of technology and infrastructure between urban and rural areas. With this project, our goal is to give entrepreneurs in rural areas the same opportunities that entrepreneurs in urban areas have by leveraging digital technologies and e-commerce platforms like Sastodeal. We are also excited and look forward to our collaboration with UNCDF and SDC in this important project for Nepal,” The statement quotes Founder and CEO of Sastodeal Amun Thapa as saying.

This UNCDF project on leveraging digital solutions for MSMEs is embedded into UNCDF’s ‘Leaving No One Behind in the Digital Era Strategy for Nepal,’ launched in 2021. In addition to engaging with Sastodeal, UNCDF will also be working with Nepal’s MSME federations and associations, as well as South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Business Association of Home Based Workers (SABAH) and Women for Human Rights (WHR).

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