Sarala Development & Microfinance Pvt. Ltd. (SARALA) has been promoted by Sarala Women Welfare Society, a non-for-profit Section 25 Company which was formed in Haora (Howrah), West Bengal in 2006.
Dr. Arabinda Kumar Sinha, a retired professor of medicine from the State School of Medicine in New Jersey in USA and currently settled in the USA and Mr. Pranab Rakshit, the current Managing Director of SARALA, an entrepreneur and finance professional are the co-founders of Sarala Women Welfare Society. Dr. Sinha received training on microfinance at Harvard University and he was inspired by the path breaking initiatives taken by Mohammed Yunus in poverty alleviation programs and empowering poor women in Bangladesh. The initial contribution of US$ 25,000.00 came from Dr. Sinha and his associates.
The promoters made themselves acquainted with the micro lending scenario prevailing in Bangladesh and drew inspiration from ASA model in framing its own model. This model of individual lending on group setting has so far proved to be highly effective.
Sarala Women Welfare Society achieved commendable organic growth since its formation. However, being a not for profit company, it faced difficulty in scaling up operations and in 2010 it acquired Unnati Trade &Fincon Pvt. Ltd., an NBFC registered with Reserve Bank of India. Gradually, the microfinance portfolio of Sarala Women was transferred to Unnati and it was given recognition as NBFC-MFI by Reserve Bank of India in August, 2014.
In order to retain the strong Brand image of Sarala, the management rechristened Unnati as ‘Sarala Development & Microfinance Pvt. Ltd.’ after obtaining requisite approval from theMinistry of Company Affairs, Govt. of India in August, 2015.