Janki Prashad Sharma is a sculpture artist who specializes in creating brass statues of Hindu deities along with his team of 8-10 employees at his workshop in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh. A walk through his workshop will very quickly make his level of skill apparent to all visitors.
Recently, he was able to build a monumental statue because of a loan from Aye Finance.
“I learned about Aye Finance from one of their branch managers” says Janki Prashad. “He would always stop by because he liked the sculptures he saw, and slowly he became a repeat customer.”
Aye Finance’s Aligarh branch manager, Vinod Kumar Sharma, had once walked in to Janki Prashad’s workshop and found himself drawn to a statue – weighing 16kgs! – and that’s where Janki Prashad’s engagement with Aye began.
“Because we work so closely with MSMEs, looking for ways to help them scale operations has just become a part of our everyday lives” remarks Vinod. “We’re always on the lookout for a local or cluster-based business that can be elevated through a loan. And that’s exactly what happened with Janki Prashad.”
The Need for a Microloan
In January 2018, Janki Prashad received an online order to create a divinity’s statue which cost him around INR 30 Lakh to make.
Because the statue is made of 1556 kg of brass, 300 kg of iron, and four months of work!
A long process exists behind every completed statue and it typically looks like this –
First, Janki Prashad creates an earthen or clay model, to scale, of the statue. Once the clay model has been made and finalised, it is then cast into metal. “From the clay model to the metal casting to the welding of the statue, we do all of the work here in our workshop” says Janki Prashad, pointing to his workspace.
But getting this statue made and ready was a challenge because of the sheer number of materials and resources required.
Janki has been operating in Aligarh’s Brass Cluster for 10 years and knew his only source of raising funds was the local money lender who charges exorbitant rates. However, he met with Aye Finance’s Loan Officer, Inderjeet, who explained our loan process to him.
“They told me I could pay off my loan in 2 years” says Janki “so I applied. And I received my loan amount within a week of filling the application form!”
One of the most appealing factors for Janki was the fact that his loan repayments would go towards his principal amount too, whereas a traditional money-lender would apply that amount towards his interest only with the principal amount standing as-is.
Eventually, Janki’s statue sold for INR 30 Lakhs.
All said and done, does he have any lingering regrets or anxieties about taking the loan?
“No, not at all!” comes the emphatic exclamation. “I couldn’t have made such a large statue without the right materials. And I couldn’t have grown my business without the revenue from this statue. It has all worked out very well because of the help I’ve received from Aye Finance.”