Social innovations and the fight against poverty: An analysis of India’s first prosocial P2P lending platform
journal contributionposted on 2021-05-06, 12:19 authored by M.N. Ravishankar
Prosocial P2P lending platforms are a novel and powerful example of a digital social innovation (DSI) in which the operating model relies primarily on digital technologies and the overarching focus is on the ‘social’ aspect of the innovation. These platforms establish a virtual connection between low-income individuals and lenders, helping the former access loans at low rates of interest. In realizing their mission of fighting poverty, prosocial P2P lending platforms maintain a challenging hybrid – online and offline – focus. This paper explores how prosocial P2P lending platforms enact their hybrid orientation. It draws on an inductive qualitative study of Rang De, India’s first prosocial P2P lending platform. The analysis highlights five clusters of actions: digital attention-building, digital credibility-building, digital empathy-building, intermediary relationship-building and borrower relationship-building. The paper argues that significant strengths on the online side help establish a sustainable business model. A willingness and commitment to maintain a high degree of engagement with the complex offline world of low-income borrowers helps develop the model as an impactful social innovation.
- Business and Economics