IntelleGrow Summary

IntelleGrow is a financial intermediary that provides missing debt finance and skills support to small and growing businesses serving low-income communities in India, with a major focus on access to energy.

The debt gap for Indian SMEs now exceeds $20 billion
Like many emerging markets, India is a hotbed of entrepreneurial activity. Many of the country’s smartest business people are now experimenting with new models and technologies to meet the needs of under-served poor communities and tackle India’s most pressing development challenges.

These new businesses however rarely fulfil their potential to deliver lasting impact at scale. A big reason for this is that entrepreneurs cannot access appropriate levels of debt finance at the right time to grow beyond start-up phase. Typically, they lack sufficient track record and collateral to secure debt from banks, while other financial institutions take over six months on average just to process applications. According to recent estimates the debt gap for Indian SMEs now exceeds $20 billion.

IntelleGrow client Orb Energy is now India's largest direct
solar sales and service company

  In 2010, Shell Foundation formed a strategic partnership with IntelleCap, a social investment consultancy led by Vineet Rai, a pioneer of the sector in India. Together we created a new financing model to help small businesses in high-impact sectors to access tailored loans in a way that supports their growth.  

Business Model

IntelleGrow takes a fundamentally different approach to lending:

  • Providing tailored loans of $50,000 to $1 million to Indian SMEs based upon viability (not the availability of collateral)
  • Supporting early-stage businesses with a 12 month track record that can demonstrate a) high growth potential and b) an ability to deliver social and environmental impact

Loans are structured to suit each customer,s needs, e.g. for working capital, asset acquisition or to open lines of credit to fulfil orders, with repayment terms based on cash flow. Loan periods are typically between three to 36 months, at an interest rate that is marginally higher than commercial bank rates (to meet greater due diligence and business support costs).

IntelleGrow has recruited a team of credit, banking and investment experts who can assess, approve and disburse credit within six weeks of a loan application – providing the quick turnaround that entrepreneurs urgently need to achieve sustainable growth.

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