School of Economics final-year student, Disha Bansal, was recently interviewed by the British
Council after she represented the University of Kent at the 6th Annual VT KnowledgeWorks Entrepreneurship Challenge. KnowledgeWorks is a global competition for young entrepreneurs, held in the USA, and gained Disha worldwide recognition for her new business venture.
The flexibility of studying for a degree in Economics enabled Disha to explore different areas of the subject. She initially came to the UK to study environmental economics, but over time switched to microfinance. She said: ‘The more I looked at environment, the more I realised that although it is my passion, there are other industries where I can make a bigger difference. Reading a newspaper article last year, I realised I could make a big difference with microfinance, coming from India and having a platform there to do my own thing… I thought it might be worth exploring. The more I looked into it, the more attractive it seemed to me.’
Disha’s company, Assero, aims to eliminate the risk of fraud in microfinance lending. Coming from India herself, Disha focused her research on the poor population in India, and realised there was a lot of money being lost between when the World Bank gives out money, to the point where it reaches the people. So she thought about how to intervene and create a system where the money directly reaches the poor people, and that is when she decided that a biometric solution might be the most effective. Disha took her idea to the Kent Enterprise Hub, where she was assigned a business adviser and made a business plan and model. The School has been supportive and flexible in enabling Disha to follow the development of her company at the same time as finishing her degree.
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