Exploring the Future of SME Financing

The Global SME Finance Forum

In an increasingly interconnected world, the Global SME Finance Forum is the event of knowledge and innovation. With over 704 visitors, representing 220 institutions from 72 countries, this three-day event held in Mumbai from September 12th to 14th, was nothing short of remarkable. Focused exclusively on the intricacies of SME financing, it brought together some of the brightest minds in the industry. Among them was our Head of Business, Jamie Burink, who, alongside Maurits van Schooneveld, Head of Business Development at Neo by Five Degrees, delivered a compelling pitch on building the best bank you can. The event served as an invaluable platform for us to gather new information about the rapidly evolving SME landscape.

Global SME Finance Forum

Find out our top three key takeaways

 1. DPIs: Paving the Way for Global Financial Inclusion

One of the most significant revelations at the Forum was the crucial role played by Digital Public Infrastructures (DPIs) in the global push to make financial services accessible for Micro, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs). DPIs are poised to determine the pace at which these services become widely available to MSMEs worldwide. As digital technologies continue to advance, the need for robust, secure, and interoperable DPIs becomes even more apparent. These infrastructures will serve as the foundation upon which the future of SME financing will be built.

2. The Challenge of Informality

The second takeaway revolved around the persisting challenge of a substantial informal MSME population. Many businesses choose to remain informal, perceiving it as beneficial when compared to the formal, registered alternative. Educating these businesses about the advantages of formal registration is crucial. It opens up a world of opportunities, including access to credit, government support, and protection under the law. Bridging this knowledge gap will be essential in driving the growth of the formal MSME sector.

The Power and Pitfalls of Technology

3. The Power and Pitfalls of Technology

The third key insight from the Global SME Finance Forum was the transformative potential of new technologies. While technology itself is no longer the limiting factor, the real challenge lies in harnessing its power effectively. A critical aspect of this is ensuring that businesses are digitally and financially savvy. Achieving distinctive customer experiences (CX) and the ability to pivot quickly are also vital. Moreover, it's crucial not to become overly fixated on technology for its own sake. The Forum illustrated this point through discussions on artificial intelligence (AI). While AI has immense potential, it's important to remember that humans still play a significant role in decision-making. We must leverage technology wisely, recognizing that AI often tells us what we want to hear rather than what is necessarily the wisest course of action.

Beyond these enlightening insights, the Global SME Finance Forum provided us with the opportunity to connect with new partners and engage in meaningful conversations with financial companies. These interactions fostered a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing the SME financing ecosystem.

In conclusion, attending the Global SME Finance Forum was an enriching experience that illuminated the path ahead in SME financing. The event highlighted the pivotal role of DPIs, the need to address informality, and the intricate interplay between technology and human decision-making. We left the Forum not only with valuable insights but also with a network of like-minded professionals committed to driving innovation and inclusivity in SME finance. As we look to the future, these lessons will continue to guide our efforts in shaping the financial landscape for SMEs.

Want to know more?

Contact us