BISWA: Fostering Inclusive Growth through Microfinance (Abridged)

BISWA: Fostering Inclusive Growth through Microfinance (Abridged)
Case Code: BSTR392
Case Length: 19 Pages
Period: 2004-2010
Pub Date: 2011
Teaching Note: Available
Price: Rs.500
Organization: BISWA
Industry: Microfinance
Countries: India
Themes: Inclusive Business Models, Entrepreneurship, Social Entrepreneurship, Inclusive Growth
BISWA: Fostering Inclusive Growth through Microfinance (Abridged)
Abstract Case Intro 1 Case Intro 2 Excerpts


This case study details the challenges faced by Khirod Chandra Malick (Malick), founder and Chairman of Bharat Integrated Social Welfare Agency (BISWA), and his team in carrying BISWA's microfinance program forward. In addition to introducing the students to the concept of Microfinance and triggering a discussion on the various issues and challenges involved in operating a Microfinance program, the case study is designed to allow the students and the instructor to examine the decisions that Malick and his team could take to overcome the challenges. BISWA, an India-based social service organization, had focused on microfinance as one of the interventions to facilitate its mission of social development.

Malick felt that adopting an integrated approach by bringing about the convergence of microfinance, micro entrepreneurship, micro marketing, micro insurance, and other social development initiatives, could help reduce poverty and spur inclusive growth. BISWA, which initially operated as an NGO Microfinance Institution (MFI), also established a Non Banking Financial Company in 2006 to carry forward its microfinance program. As of mid-2010, BISWA had established a presence in 16 states in India and had directly touched the lives of more than four million people who were usually considered non-bankable. Malick planned to establish a presence in nearly all the states of India by the end of 2012 and create one million job opportunities. However, to do this, Malick and his team had to overcome various challenges — challenges such as how to ensure that the poorest of the poor would benefit from their microfinance program; what types of new financial services they should introduce and how to motivate the poor people to adopt these services; how to strike the right balance between expansion and consolidation of the microfinance program; how and from which sources to mobilize funds; and, how to strike the right balance between its social mission and business objectives which were often in conflict with each other.

The case has been prepared from primary sources. It has been prepared by conducting in-depth interviews with key personnel at BISWA and some of its stakeholders (clients/beneficiaries). This case has been written to facilitate classroom discussions for MBA/MS-level students as a part of their Entrepreneurship/Social Entrepreneurship curriculum. Additionally, this case study can be used (with a teaching note modified by the instructor for the purpose) in a core strategy curriculum.


The case is structured to achieve the following teaching objectives

  • Understand various issues and challenges in managing the growth and continuity of an entrepreneurial venture, especially a social venture
  • Understand the issues and constraints in financing a venture at various stages of its development, especially a social venture
  • Understand the working capital problems faced by the poor (especially the rural poor) and see how these problems can be solved through microfinance
  • Evaluate and analyze the impact of microfinance as a poverty reduction tool
  • Understand the various issues and challenges faced by MFIs operating in India, and how BISWA overcame these challenges
  • Study the operating model adopted by BISWA and evaluate whether its microfinance program is sustainable
  • Understand the various issues and challenges faced by MFIs, especially NGO MFIs such as BISWA, in striking the right balance between their social mission and ensuring financial sustainability of the organization
  • Explore ways in which the senior management team at BISWA can overcome these challenges



Microfinance, Entrepreneurship, Social entrepreneurship, Venture financing, Ethical debate on profit vs. altruism, Managing the growth and continuity of an entrepreneurial venture, Inclusive growth, Inclusive business models, Business level strategy, Corporate Strategy

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