Madrid, November 7, 2018—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the SME Finance Forum, today recognized the outstanding innovations and leadership of 15 financial institutions and fintech companies that are working towards closing the $5.2 trillion global finance gap for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
Launching the inaugural Global SME Finance Awards, IFC and the SME Finance Forum recognized the achievements of institutions that have launched an innovative product or service for SME clients, achieved strong results in providing finance to SMEs, or been an innovator in digital financial services. The awards—presented at the fourth annual meeting of the SME Finance Forum in Madrid—are endorsed by the G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI). The winners were selected from a pool of more than 100 applicants and were vetted by a panel of judges representing financial institutions, investors, fintech companies, and development banks.
“Small businesses are the engines of job creation and growth—with nine out of ten new jobs worldwide created by SMEs,” said Georgina Baker, IFC’s Vice President for Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe and Central Asia, as the forum began. “However, lack of access to finance is one of the biggest problems for growth. Given that 80 percent of enterprises in developing economies are informal, unlocking their potential through digitalization can transform the global economy, and lift millions out of poverty.”
A record 600 attendees from more than 275 institutions in 80 countries attended the forum, which covered the digitalization of SMEs, and explored how innovations in technology, regulation, and partnerships can help SMEs transition from the informal sector into the formal economy.
Matt Gamser, CEO of the SME Finance Forum said: “These awards celebrate the best-in-class financial institutions and fintechs that have achieved remarkable results in their SME product or service offerings. Our winners are diverse, but they all share a strong commitment to helping small businesses in their markets with their dedication and innovative practices. The winners are an inspiration to us and their peers.”
About the SME Finance Forum
The SME Finance Forum works to expand access to finance for small and medium businesses. The Forum operates a global membership network that brings together financial institutions, technology companies, and development finance institutions to share knowledge, spur innovation, and promote the growth of SMEs. Established in 2012 by the G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion, the SME Finance Forum is managed by IFC. For more information, visit http://www.smefinanceforum.org
IFC—a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in the toughest areas of the world. In fiscal year 2018, we delivered more than $23 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org