FAQ

FAQ

We have compiled some frequently asked questions to guide your submission process. Please read through all of them as they may answer many of your questions. If your question has not been answered, you can send an email requesting clarification.

  • Are the awards open to anyone?
    • Yes, financial institutions from across the globe are invited and encouraged to apply. For the category of SME Bank of the Year, there are regional categories for which country-specific or regional institutions can apply. There is also a SME Bank of the Year – Global category which is for institutions that would like to be evaluated against financial institutions from across the globe rather than against regional counterparts. But a financial institution can only apply for Global OR a regional category, not both.
    • We welcome entries from across the spectrum of institutions that are serving the SME sector.
  • Can we enter the competition with one of our partners?
    • Yes, partnerships or consortia are welcome to enter the competition. Just one entry should be created that highlights the joint nature of the work and meets the criteria of the respective category.
  • You are asking us to provide sensitive information/data as part of our entry. Who will have access to our entry and how might this information be used?
    • We recognize and appreciate that some of the information we are requesting is sensitive. The information that you provide as part of your entry is held in the strictest of confidence and is shared only with those on a need to know basis and to those who have signed a confidentiality agreement.
      • World Bank and IFC staff:
        • Access to the entries is only for staff who have direct involvement with the Global SME Finance Awards which includes some of the SME Finance Forum staff and limited IFC staff with a specific business need. All information contained in your entry falls under the Confidentiality Agreement that all World Bank Group staff must abide by and as such, specific company information will never be shared externally and will only be shared internally on a limited basis and where no conflict of interest exists.
      • Judges:
        • When recruiting judges, we stress the paramount importance of confidentiality when serving as a judge and expect them to act with integrity and professionalism when reviewing entries.
        • All judges are required to sign a Confidentiality Agreement before being provided any entries to evaluate, and judges only have access to the entries they have been assigned to evaluate.
        • Additionally, we assign entries to judges so that we avoid any known or possible conflicts of interest, and if a judge is assigned an entry with which they have a conflict, they recuse themselves from evaluating the entry.
  • If we put ‘N/A’ in any of the fields, will this affect our eligibility or likelihood to win an award?
    • You want to answer the questions and criteria as completely and fully as possible so that judges are provided with enough/sufficient information to make an evaluation of your entry.
    • Answer as many questions as you can meaningfully and substantially answer. If a question is 100% irrelevant or inapplicable to your business model/institution, you should put ‘N/A’ in the field.
      • If the question is something such as “Number of ATMs” and your institution is a fintech providing digital payments, then putting “N/A” would not necessarily compromise your entry as having ATMs is not applicable or relevant to your business model.
      • On the other hand, if the question is something that is applicable or relevant to your business then it is material to a judge’s ability to evaluate your institution. A question in the SME Bank of the Year category such as “SME business Net Profit % / LTD Preferably in comparison to the total Bank’s profitability” is relevant to your business and is a material indicator, so putting “N/A” would make it difficult or impossible to adequately evaluate your entry and could negatively impact your score.
What documents should we attach to our entry?
  • Documents that you attach should be supportive of what you assert in your entry, not to substitute for the entry. You must fill out the entry as completely as you can, and the attachments should simply provide support or evidence of what you write in your entry
  • Only include attachments that speak directly to your entry so do not include attachments simply to show you have a lot of documentation.
  • Good practice would be to refer to the name of a specific attachment to guide the judges to specific supportive documentation for claims/assertions you make in your entry. For example, you could state “our SME portfolio growth is x% year over year for the past 3 years and you can refer to our 2018 Annual Report on pages 34-35 that summarize this growth and includes a graph that illustrates it”.
  • Do not expect judges to sift through hundreds of pages of attachments to try and pull out what is relevant. For example, if you are providing an annual report where a particular innovation/practice/etc is mentioned, you could attach the annual report but write in your entry the specific pages where judges can find the information specific to your entry that you want them to read.
  • Ideally it would be good to have documents that have been externally validated such as annual reports or statements, but that may not be available, so if you have reports, presentations, articles, websites, etc that have already been created, used, presented to capture the work you are doing, those could be included.
  • Provide relevant and meaningful supportive attachments that provide quantitative and/or qualitative date or information to help the judges evaluate your entry. Judges will not do any additional research and will evaluate each entry based on what is submitted.
  • Apparently the most convincing documents would be our management accounting data supporting our points in other sections. But it is difficult for us to provide the large-volume business data due to confidentiality issue. So could we just provide a summary of the data?
    • Yes, do provide data summaries, but perhaps you can provide some specific aspects of this data in a way that does not breach confidentiality but is precise enough that the judges can see that your numbers make sense and have validity and haven’t been created.
  • One section is about project details, can you further guide as to what type of information is required in this section? What does "project" mean here?
    • For this section, we are looking for a short executive summary of your entry that provides a concise narrative of why you are submitting an entry.
    • If this is for a category OTHER THAN Bank of the Year, then this refers to providing a summary of the specific innovation, service, product, project, task, etc that you are choosing to showcase.
  • Who has won in the past years?
  • For SME Bank of the Year category:
    • Can we apply for Global SME Bank of the Year and a region SME Bank of the Year?
      • No. You can only submit one entry in the SME Bank of the Year category, either for Global OR a region, but NOT for both.
    • For the Bank of the Year category, there is a question about “SME business growth vs. total Bank growth". The "Bank"  here is not referring to other banks, right?
      • Yes, that is correct, this refers to your bank. If you are a bank or financial institution, you should provide information on your overall growth vs your SME business growth.
      • If you are a fintech company, this question may be irrelevant in which case, you can write N/A.
    For Product Innovation of the Year category:
    • For Product Innovation of the Year category, the subsection "How does it meet the needs of the SME client?", there is a question "Is there a metric that shows the traction/benefit of this innovation to your financial institution/fintech company/other? Please define and quantify": What do you mean by "financial institution/fintech company/other”  Does "financial institution/fintech company/other”  refer to our own company who has invented this innovation, or the financial institutions we work with?
      • This applies to your organization in relation to how the innovation has benefitted your company’s performance. The 2nd part of that question “Did it improve SMEs financial and/or operational performance? Explain.”  Please tell us how it has benefitted SMEs or the sector.
    • In the "Criteria"  section, under the sub-section "How has it brought direct value to the financial institution/fintech company/other?", we have a similar question: does the "financial institution/fintech company/other"  refer to our company or the financial institutions we work with.
      • This applies to your organization and the questions after that are specific ways in which you can illustrate this value (see the Awards criteria for Product Innovation of the Year category).
    • For the attachments, do you want the supporting documents to be illustrative that can prove our points?
      • Yes, the attachments should provide evidence to support the claims you make in the entry in relation to the impact of the innovation.
    For Responsible Digital Innovator of the Year category:
    • How many Investor Guidelines do we need to include in our application?
      • You should refer to the Investor Guidelines to understand what they are and to see all ten of them.
      • Among the 10 Investor Guidelines, we encourage you to include at least 1 or more of the following, to show how you are implementing them in your operations or developing innovative solutions in your business model/platform:
        • Guideline #9: "Prevent Over-Indebtedness, Strengthen Digital Literacy and Financial Awareness"
        • Guideline #5: "Establish Customer Identity, Data Privacy and Security Standard"
        • Guideline #6: "Promote Fair and Transparent Pricing"
      • Additionally, you should refer to Investor Guidelines - Potential Actions to see just a few examples of practices within each of the ten guidelines that may help you to evaluate your own institution’s actions to see which guidelines you might showcase in your entry.
If you are ready to start your submission, you can use this link to take you to the Awards Platform.