Rural regeneration through digital identity: the case of BanQu

Ashish Gadnis CEO and Founder of BanQu. As part of our Erasmus+ partner project BEGIN, UIIN has interviewed Ashish Gadnis, a serial entrepreneur, and CEO & founder of BanQu, a for-profit for-purpose company based in Dallas, United States. BanQu is an SME, founded in 2015 that operates in the supply chain sector. The company has […]
Rural regeneration through digital identity: the case of BanQu
November 15, 2021 1:00 pm
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Ashish Gadnis CEO and Founder of BanQu.

As part of our Erasmus+ partner project BEGIN, UIIN has interviewed
Ashish Gadnis, a serial entrepreneur, and CEO & founder of BanQu, a
for-profit for-purpose company based in Dallas, United States. BanQu is an SME,
founded in 2015 that operates in the supply chain sector. The company has the goal
to provide dignity to the poorest people in rural areas, who are generally
invisible to the final consumers and financial institutions, by providing them
with a digital identity and a digital record of their work and by guaranteeing
an equal remuneration of their work.

To achieve this goal, BanQu uses an Enterprise Ethereum Blockchain
software as a service platform to connect the ‘first to the last mile’ of the
supply chain. Every bank, entity, or farmer is linked to a node of the
blockchain. Being the platform integrated with local currencies and using
mobile banking solutions, it enables the service users, and especially the most
fragile stakeholders of the supply chain, to be fairly remunerated for their
work and to gain a track record of their economic transactions. Having proof of
financial records enables the ‘first mile’ of the supply chain to open bank
accounts, ask for loans, being able to prove their economic identity. Besides
paving the way for a greater implementation of the technology, the company,
through its actions, is guaranteeing fairer distribution of wealth towards the
rural areas, favouring their development.   

In the interview, UIIN focussed on the challenges and key success
factors that Ashish encountered in his every day-to-day business, as well as in
the implementation of the technology in his business model. Ashish pointed out
that there is general misinformation about what blockchain is, and that the
technology is often misunderstood with cryptocurrencies. Furthermore, the
technology received several pushbacks from large companies that feared being
fully transparent. Blockchain enables full transparency. Certain companies fear
to be fully transparent as they are aware of issues, such as child labour, in
their supply chain, but they do not act against it. One last barrier that
Ashish pointed out consisted in biases and distrust of investors of having the
interest of less fortunate people at heart.

During the interview, Ashish also pointed out factors that were key to
his success. This included the ability to take a ‘no’ and move on to the next
investor. During his entrepreneurial journey, he met with over 150 investors
for his company, and most of them thought that his company was an unprofitable
idea.

Finally, Ashish mentioned that it is important not to try to make everything
perfect. It is a matter of having an idea, prototyping, scaling, and improving
your idea upon feedback, and finally, having a clear mission,
problem-statement, and business model and being supported by an experienced
team.

Article authored by Mario Ceccarelli.

Image Retrieved by the interviewee’s LinkedIn profile.

Cover image retrieved from Pexels.