The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is a large international banking and financial services company. Headquartered in Edinburgh, RBS serves over 24 million customers worldwide. As part of its sustainability mandate, RBS believes in inclusive growth and demonstrates it by supporting local communities in the countries in which it operates. RBS implements several programs to promote enterprises, with a special focus on livelihood generation, youth and women.
RBS India in line with the global objectives works towards economic inclusion for those excluded from the mainstream economy. By identifying the long term challenges that are faced by the communities, it strives to create platforms that would enable economic empowerment and facilitate financial and social inclusion. This is carried out through RBS Foundation India.
In India, our commitment to the communities started in September 2003 - with the launch of our Microfinance business. After three years of lending, and establishing ourselves as industry leaders in India, we felt the need to support Microfinance Institutes in the under served regions of India i.e. North and North East. This led to the launch of a three year Microfinance Technical Assistance program wherein 37 small Microfinance Institutes were supported, improving their operating efficiencies, governance, systems and processes thus enabling them to scale up their operations and benefit many more lives. The program came to a successful closure in 2010.
Our interactions with the community helped us understand that while access to credit is important, it is not sufficient to eliminate poverty. A poor household is faced not only with lack of access to finance, but also lack of access to markets and technical knowledge to improve production or adopt ways to improve vocational inefficiencies or simply even develop an alternative vocation. These issues are further aggravated for those who live in remote geographical locations that keep them away from mainstream markets and society - primarily forest dwelling communities that are dependent on natural resources such as water and forest resources. These findings led to the launch of the 'Supporting Enterprise' programme in 2007. The aim of the 'Supporting Enterprise' programme is to facilitate enterprise development for those that are dependent on the resources of the country's critical or important ecosystems.
Read the RBS Foundation India report here.
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