Industry Event: Speaking Role

Industry Event: Speaking Role

Singapore Fintech Festival

15 - 17 November 2023
9 : 15
12 : 15
+08 ( GMT
Singapore Fintech Festival

The SME Finance Forum had a significant presence at this year's Singapore Fintech Festival.

The Singapore FinTech Festival 2023 focused on the growth and adoption of AI and Web3 and how this technology can be used in financial services.

  • The transition to a low-carbon future
  • The re-imagining of the financial system architecture to better address the needs of the underserved
  • The securing of the digital economy against modern climate, technology, and cyber risks

On Tuesday, November 14th, Qamar Saleem, our CEO spoke in the panel:

i) How Universal Trusted Credentials (UTC) Can Transform Financial Inclusion?   

Qamar shared insights in the session Unleashing the Power of Universal Trusted Credentials (UTC) for Financial Inclusion on how Universal Trusted Credentials (UTC) can revolutionize financial inclusion, aiming to overcome data challenges hindering SME finance scalability. The Forum eagerly looks forward to collaborating with UNDP and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

Following the session, an exciting partnership was revealed: SME Finance Forum is teaming up with the Monetary Authority of Singapore and Microsoft to champion the global development and expansion of SMEs in alignment with the efforts of UNDP and other key stakeholders.

There were a few private sessions, such as Qamar Saleem and Quan Yu, Vice President of Ant Group, a member institution, where they reiterated their dedication to advancing financial inclusion for SMEs in Asia. Followed by a Networking cocktail hosted by HSBC, British High Commission Singapore, and Elevandi, paved the way for meaningful discussions with policymakers, financial services leaders, and tech innovators from over 20 markets.

On Wednesday, November 15, the SME Finance Forum team hosted an exclusive Members-Only meeting at the Singapore Fintech Festival. The meeting brought together SME Finance Forum members, interested stakeholders, and key IFC experts and partners to network, discuss the Forum's future direction, and explore new initiatives and services.

Qamar Saleem, SME Finance Forum's new CEO, outlined the Forum's strategic priorities and presented new initiatives to enhance member value and foster innovation in SME finance.

Attendees provided valuable feedback on the proposed initiatives and expressed their support for the Forum's continued efforts to address the challenges and opportunities SMEs face.

The meeting reinforced the SME Finance Forum's commitment to providing its members with a platform for networking, learning, and contributing to developing innovative solutions for SME finance.

The Forum's new initiatives received positive feedback from members, demonstrating the organization's responsiveness to the needs of its stakeholders.

Thursday, November 16th, The official second day, marked a resounding success, drawing over 100 visitors from 60+ institutions. These attendees, representing various financial institutions, digital platforms, analytics providers, fintech, regulators, impact investors, academia, ESG innovators, and research bodies, actively engaged with the SME Finance Forum booth. This resulted in fruitful dialogues, strengthened relationships, and established a foundation for ongoing progress in SME finance.

Noteworthy discussions took place with Women's World Banking, focusing on reinforcing our partnership to enhance access to financial services for women in emerging markets. Additionally, we had the privilege of hosting Allen Forlemu, Director of Financial Institutions Group Asia and Pacific for IFC, who underscored the pivotal role of SMEs in emerging economies and expressed appreciation for the SME Finance Forum's contributions.


The second-panel participation was the SME Financial Literacy Panel: "SME Financial Literacy and Talent Development,"

Thursday, November 16, 2023, Time: 2:05 PM - 2:45 PM Singapore Time

• Qamar participated in a compelling discussion advocating for the importance of SME capacity-building initiatives alongside policy and financial services interventions. He emphasized the need for a holistic approach to SME financial literacy, encompassing financial education, skills development, and access to financial resources. It also highlighted the role of technology in enhancing SME financial literacy and talent development.

Additionally, on this day, we had:

Meaningful Discussions:

- Engaged in insightful discussions with partners and members such as MyBank, SME Bank, CFTE, National Bank of Cambodia, and Experian.

- Explored opportunities to collaborate on advancing data-driven SME finance, strengthening supply chain finance mechanisms, enhancing skills development programs, and promoting innovative digital banking solutions.

- Reaffirmed the forum's commitment to fostering partnerships that drive meaningful impact for the SME sector.

GenAI Exploration: Delved deeper into GenAI at the @Asian Institute of Digital Finance (AIDF) industry event, exploring how the effective usage of data can contribute to risk-mitigated SME finance.

Milestone Celebrations: Joined the 10 million customers milestone celebrations with our member, @Tyme group, where we discussed the impactful role of digital banks and supply chain solutions in scaling SME finance.

We experienced a surge in booth visitors, with a diverse group of 70+ institutions from 30+ countries exploring the SME Finance Forum's offerings.

November 17. Last Day of the SFF2023

As the curtains closed, we reflected on an exceptional gathering of industry leaders, visionaries, and innovators. The remarkable turnout of exhibitors and visitors and the participation of over 1,000 influential speakers underscored the vibrancy and dynamism of the #fintech landscape.

Throughout the event, we witnessed a keen interest in the SME sector from innovators, highlighting the immense potential of technology to empower and support small businesses.

The diversity of engagements was genuinely inspiring, ranging from steadfast partners like Fern Software to promising entities like the National Bank of Georgia, innovative trade platforms like Montego, and an emerging blockchain-based ESG data/certification platform, Greenprint. 

The highlight of the day was undoubtedly the inspiring address by Ajay Banga. Focus on jobs, women, and youth was emphasized. The five verticals - People, Prosperity, Planet, Infrastructure, Digital, and focus on outcomes promise to yield a high impact. We are excited at the promising prospects ahead. We are particularly excited by Ajay's focus on achieving high-impact outcomes, a shared aspiration that promises to drive meaningful change in the SME sector.

As we concluded the SME Finance Forum, we were filled with optimism and enthusiasm for the future of the fintech landscape and its potential to transform the lives of small businesses worldwide. We are committed to fostering collaboration, innovation, and a shared vision for a thriving and inclusive SME ecosystem.

Here are some videos:

November 14th

November 15th

November 16th

November 17th