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SME Featured Southeast Asia

SME merchant platform yufin ties with Gigacover to bring insurance to small businesses in PH

Philippines – Global merchant platform for SME, yufin, has partnered with Singapore-based insurance provider, Gigacover, to enable Filipino small businesses on the platform to access Gigacover health insurance products tailored to their needs at the touch of a button.

Under the partnership, the small businesses will also be able to access business protection and offer customised insurance products such as family and health insurance to their customers.

The platform said that the announcement comes as it has exceeded 15,000 merchant sign-ups since launching in Davao City, in the Philippines end of May 2022.

Shubhrendu Khoche, chief strategy and product officer at yufin, said, “Small businesses are the lifeblood of Southeast Asian economies and communities but many are underserved. Our partnership with Gigacover helps us bring insurance to last-mile merchants to give them peace of mind and to help them offer their customers much-needed access to insurance protection.”

Meanwhile, Chesca Figueroa, country manager and partnerships lead at Gigacover Philippines, noted, “With this partnership, we aim to further support yufin’s efforts in financial education, planning, and protection to their respective small merchants.”

Gerald Chua, head of merchant acquiring at yufin Philippines, commented, “We are delighted and humbled by the welcome yufin has received so far from our community merchant partners. We help small businesses manage their transactions through a suite of tools, products and services that help them grow and prosper.”

Liz Servañez, head of business development and partnerships at yufin, noted, “With partnerships such as our partnership with Gigacover, much-needed financial services products, like insurance protection can also be sacheted to make them accessible and affordable for the yufin merchant network and their customers.”

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SME Featured East Asia

DBS Hong Kong, GS1 HK adopt HKMA’s CDI initiative to power digital ‘one click’ trade financing for SMEs

Hong Kong – Consumer bank DBS in Hong Kong and non-profit organisation GS1 Hong Kong have joined hands to further enhance their innovative SME trade financing solution with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) Commercial Data Interchange (CDI) platform. 

The move is part of DBS Hong Kong’s commitment to providing enterprises with tailored, efficient financing services while also supporting the fintech ecosystem development led by the HKMA in Hong Kong.

DBS Hong Kong said that it plans to leverage CDI’s platform capabilities to further enhance its recently launched trade financing solution and accelerate its ecosystem strategy in Hong Kong.

Alex Cheung, managing director and head of Institutional Banking Group of DBS Hong Kong, said that the latest trade financing solution enhancement demonstrates the bank’s strong commitment to developing Hong Kong’s fintech ecosystem. 

“As a leader in SME banking, DBS is proud to be a part of HKMA’s CDI platform. Since launching our innovative digital trade finance solution with GS1 Hong Kong earlier this year, we have successfully provided SMEs with enhanced and simplified access to working capital. DBS Hong Kong is proud to be an early adopter of CDI and we look forward to working on additional use cases that leverage the platform and find new ways to increase access to funding for SMEs,” added Cheung.

In June 2022, DBS Hong Kong and GS1 Hong Kong launched a digital post-shipment trade financing solution powered by alternative data. The solution enables SMEs on GS1 Hong Kong’s ezTRADE platform to utilise their trade data to access trade financing in a digital and straight-through manner.

With the new solution, SMEs can access much-needed working capital with just one click via the bank’s corporate banking platform, DBS IDEAL. This means that SMEs no longer need to manually submit hundreds of invoices and supporting documents, reducing time and effort through the adoption of a more digital and sustainable way of doing business and seeking financing. 

Moreover, the solution redefines the trade financing journey for SMEs with DBS availing financing through a streamlined credit assessment process. Through DBS’ predictive analytics capabilities, invoice data is used to assess the financial health of SMEs, with the amount of financing available to SMEs updated on a dynamic and recurring basis.

Anna Lin, chief executive of GS1 Hong Kong, shared that the collaboration between GS1 Hong Kong and DBS Hong Kong on digital trade financing has borne fruit to many SMEs enjoying trade financing in a much simpler and digitised manner already. 

“With the CDI, I look forward to unleashing the full potential of more alternative data, enhancing SMEs’ access to financial services and nurturing the trade financing ecosystem in Hong Kong,” said Lin.

Meanwhile, Sandy Tan, head of ecosystems for Institutional Banking Group at DBS Bank Hong Kong, noted that their digital solution has redefined the trade financing journey for SMEs on GS1 HK’s ezTRADE platform, and via their collaboration, they have enabled a digital ‘one click’ transaction experience and greatly reduced the time and effort needed to acquire working capital.

“DBS Hong Kong is committed to taking an active role in further developing and growing Hong Kong’s robust fintech ecosystem. Building on the launch of CDI’s capabilities, we expect to bring our solution to the next level in customer experience while providing more offerings to support the business growth of the SME community,” said Tan.

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SME Featured Southeast Asia

Investree PH expands to Visayas, Mindanao to reach more underserved SMEs

Manila, Philippines – SME-centric financial platform Investree in the Philippines has announced that it will be extending its reach beyond Luzon, expanding recently to Central and Western Visayas and Davao Region in Mindanao. 

The move seeks to serve and empower SMEs in the said regions by providing accessible and affordable financing solutions that can help their businesses thrive as the economy reopens. With its expansion in the Visayas and Mindanao, which began this September, Investree Philippines is now fully equipped to support enterprises in the regions’ various industries, including manpower, security services, F&B, school supplies, pharmaceuticals, and medical sectors.

Investree Philippines optimises data and technology to connect businesses with institutional investors that share the same mission of supporting SMEs. Its SME clients, including new ones in the Visayas and Mindanao, can now fulfil larger order volumes, deploy and train manpower, develop their business to cater to new target markets, and implement geographical expansion. They can likewise look to fast-tracking business growth in terms of product and/or service development.

“Our mission since day one has been to support SMEs through accessible and secure financing solutions and, in so doing, contribute to the country’s growth one SME at a time. We are broadening our reach outside of Luzon and are now building relationships with more entrepreneurs in Visayas and Mindanao to help more businesses across the country keep up with the changing times. We at Investree Philippines are here to work and grow with them,” said Kok Chuan Lim, Investree’s co-founder and CEO.

In addition, the company said it has aggressive growth plans for the near future, to further penetrate other regions in the country.

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SME Featured Southeast Asia

Mastercard, Grab launch new regional programme to scale small business growth

Singapore – Global financial services company Mastercard and superapp Grab have joined hands to launch the ‘Small Business, Big Dreams’ regional programme to digitally upskill gig economy workers and small businesses in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam. This collaboration is part of Strive Community, a global philanthropic initiative developed by the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth and Caribou Digital that aims to support the resilience and growth of five million small businesses around the world.

The new regional programme includes the launch of two online business courses for Grab’s driver and delivery-partners aspiring to start new businesses, and small business owners seeking to grow in a competitive digital economy. It aims to enable small businesses to reach their full potential by supporting them to digitise their operations, unlock their access to financial services, and more effectively participate in the digital economy.

The two new online courses, namely the ‘Driver Entrepreneurship Toolkit’ and the ‘Small Business Toolkit’, were created based on survey insights from over 34,000 driver-partners and 600 small businesses in the region. Although almost all small businesses surveyed use smartphones for their businesses, 42% still rely solely on paper and pen to manage their businesses.

“Many Southeast Asians working in the informal sector aspire for more, but the reality is that a lot of them do not have the means or the opportunity to access quality training programs. Through our partnership with the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, we hope to give gig workers and small businesses a boost to get started. Our ‘Small Business, Big Dreams’ programme will equip them with business knowledge and practical skills through a structured learning journey tailored to their needs and interest areas,” said Cheryl Goh, group head of marketing and sustainability at Grab.

Meanwhile, Payal Dalal, SVP of social impact, international markets, and centre for inclusive growth at Mastercard, commented that they are delighted to work with Grab on this initiative that will boost digital capacity and inclusion amongst aspiring entrepreneurs and small businesses post-pandemic.

“Mastercard has globally committed to bringing a total of 1 billion people and 50 million micro and small businesses into the digital economy by 2025. Today’s announcement follows the success of Mastercard Academy 2.0 in Indonesia, Business Cell in the Philippines, BSR’s HER Project Digital Wage in Cambodia, and Care Ignite in Vietnam, which have empowered millions of small businesses to access technology, training, mentorship, and financial services,” she said.

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SME Featured Southeast Asia

GrabFood PH’s mini series aims to authenticate hype around indie restos

Manila, Philippines – Earlier this year, GrabFood in the Philippines launched a discoverability feature ‘Indie Eats’ which aims to tag small to medium restaurants in the platform that are proven of quality and good taste.

The platform is moving further with its goal to help merchants and consumers benefit best from each other by launching an engaging 3-episode series on Facebook. Called ‘Totoong Sarap’ (Truly Delicious), the goal is to put the high-rated ‘Indie Eats’ to the test and cast out foodies’ reservations around their hype.

‘Indie Eats’ ambassador and social media personality Sassa Gurl will host the series and will be accompanied by different celebrity guests for each episode. Sassa Gurl and the guest will be trying out ‘Indie Eats’ restos and give their honest and no-holds-barred feedback.

The mini-series has already kicked off with pilot guest, Kiray Celis, a popular Filipino comedian. In the second episode, Sassa Gurl will be with kid guests, while the third and final episode is teased to showcase ‘queens’. The mini-series can be viewed on GrabFood PH’s official Facebook page.

In June, the ‘Indie Eats’ feature has been expanded nationwide to accommodate merchants in provincial cities Pampanga, Cebu, and Davao.

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SME Featured Southeast Asia

Validus, Citi establish US$100m facility to drive SME financing

Singapore – SME growth financing platform Validus and global financial services company Citi have established a US$100m securitisation facility, collateralised by SME loans originated by Validus in Singapore. This will drive SME financing in Southeast Asia.

The facility is also supported by First Plus Asset Management, a Singapore-based multi-asset investment manager focused on Asia structured credit and equities.

Milena Naitoh, head of corporate development at Validus, said, “This collaboration with Citi underscores the quality of our origination, credit portfolio management, strength and resilience of our business, in today’s market environment. With this evolution in our financing strategy, as well as the support of Citi as an established player in the asset-backed securities space, we are now even better positioned to support the growth of SMEs with accessible and effortless business finance.” 

She added, “As Validus continues to extend its position as a leading all-in-one SME finance platform in Southeast Asia, this securitised lending structure, together with a diversified financing and product strategy, will enable us to grow at a much greater scale. We are honoured that Citi has chosen to collaborate with us on this landmark securitised lending transaction with a fintech start-up in Southeast Asia, and we are looking at replicating this transaction playbook across other markets.” 

Validus is currently raising its Series C equity round for an undisclosed amount. The combination of the securitisation facility and Series C equity funding will further drive Validus’ expansion plans as it starts to introduce neo-banking products in other Southeast Asia markets. 

Validus’ proprietary algorithmic credit models and uniquely aggregated alternative underwriting data has driven reliable historical performance in origination, underwriting and collections. Since its launch in 2015, Validus has disbursed over US$1.6 billion across more than 65,000 loans to small businesses in Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand. 

Meanwhile, Lei Tie, co-founder and head of structured credit at First Plus, said, “We are thrilled to be part of the transaction, which has established a gold standard for non-recourse asset based financing for Southeast Asia, and to be able to support Validus on their next phase of growth.” 

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Platforms Featured East Asia

Innity HK unveils new self-serve advertising platform, ‘Innity Premium AdHub’

Hong Kong – Innity Hong Kong, a digital advertising solutions company, has announced it has launched Innity Premium AdHub, a new self-serve advertising platform that allows brands and SME advertisers to run campaigns more openly on their own terms. The new self-serve advertising platform enables businesses of all sizes to tap into Innity’s network of more than 250 quality publishers and reach over 12 million active devices in Hong Kong with precise targeting.

With Innity Premium Ad Hub, advertisers can set campaign budgets, monitor results, and adjust content in real-time, all from an easy-to-use online platform. The platform is backed by rich 1st, 2nd, and 3rd party audience data, enabling the delivery of branding and performance campaigns in a brand-safe and transparent environment. 

The self-serve platform also lets advertisers build and design their own ads directly on the platform with minimal effort. Advertisers are also able to run Innity’s high-impact mobile ad formats like Mobile Spin, Mobile Cards, and more that aim to deliver the highest viewability and engaging ad experiences.

Andrew Lim, managing partner, Innity Hong Kong, shared, “We’re excited to enable advertisers to easily and quickly create and upload their own campaigns that they can push live to 12 million active devices in Hong Kong in a fast and effective way. Our mission with the Innity Premium AdHub is to create a high-quality premium marketplace to offer a transparent, brand-safe, and high-viewability advertising platform, and we are very happy to be on track to deliver this to all our advertisers.” 

Innity is currently powering the self-serve technology for two premium publisher co-operatives in the region – The Online Premium Publishers Association (OPPA) in Thailand, and Malaysian Premium Publishers Marketplace (MPPM) in Malaysia and continues to encourage the adoption and education of self-serve automation in the region’s digital media industry.

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SME Featured Southeast Asia

Fintech Credit OK launches new ‘Protect Now, Pay Later’ program for Thai SMEs

Bangkok, Thailand – Thailand’s fintech startup for SMEs, Credit OK, has launched the ‘Protect Now, Pay Later’ program for SMEs, corporations, and individual customers. This program aims to be an alternative for SMEs in managing their risks and accessing the right SME insurance packages plus payment plan options.

Credit OK helps to provide credit facilities for insurance premium payments (premium financing). This aims to serve the requirements of corporate customers and make SME insurance purchases not only convenient but also a friendly experience.

In collaboration with insurance company Chubb Samaggi Insurance in Thailand, Credit OK has designed and developed insurance products to fit the needs of Thai SME operators, including health insurance, motor insurance, compulsory motor insurance, group personal insurance, credit/loan protection, and construction insurance, as well as inland transit/carrier insurance, and machinery insurance.

Phuwarat Norchoovech, CEO of Credit OK, said, “There are 2 factors that contribute to the sustainable growth of SME business, one is cashflow and another is the ability to reduce the risks.”

Credit OK made instant instalment plans for SMEs possible through machine learning, data analytics, and verification systems to make credit assessment simple yet accurate and effective. Customers can choose to have instant coverage from the straight-through purchasing process with 6 instalments with a 0% interest rate. No credit history, guarantors, or bank statement is required.

Moreover, the fintech also houses an online community for SMEs and micro-entrepreneurs called ‘OK Partner’, where small business owners or even individual customers can participate to earn cash back whenever they or their friends purchase on the platform by simply registering on OK Partner and sharing their unique referral links. This will allow their friends to get a cashback discount when buying insurance on Credit OK, and the referrers will also earn extra money through a successful referral.

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SME Featured Southeast Asia

Chubb, JA Assure launches online cyber insurance platform for SMEs

Singapore Chubb, a publicly traded property and casualty insurance company and multinational niche market insurtech firm JA Assure, has announced the launch of HaxsafeTM, a cyber insurance portal targeting SMEs looking for an easy and accessible insurance solution. Haxsafe, which is currently offered in Hong Kong SAR, Malaysia, and Singapore, offers a hassle-free experience with instant quotes and policy issuance.

Underwritten by Chubb, a provider of cyber insurance with more than 20 years of experience, the cyber insurance product offered on the platform is a comprehensive risk management solution providing clients with pre-loss risk mitigation and incident response services. The pre-loss mitigation services include complimentary access to a password management tool and regular spam tests designed to help keep organisations cyber safe. When a cyber incident occurs, clients can access the Chubb Incident Response Platform, an end-to-end process, developed to contain the threat and limit potential damage to their businesses. The incident response manager assigned to the client will assist to triage the issues, develop a plan of action to contain the threat, as well as appoint specialist vendors to assist with loss prevention and business recovery.

Japhire Gopi, CEO at JA Assure, shared, “Haxsafe will be a gamechanger for SMEs as it simplifies the insurance buying process for small business owners who simply do not have the time and resources to go through lengthy insurance purchase processes. We are in the business of innovation and I’m excited to make insurance more accessible to those who need it.”

Grant Cairns, regional head of property & casualty, Asia Pacific at Chubb, commented, “Our data shows that SMEs, like large organisations, are vulnerable to cyber attacks, despite the popular belief that SMEs are too small to be of interest to threat actors. I’m pleased that we are now able to bring Chubb’s cyber risk management solution closer to SMEs, underscoring our commitment to better serve the small commercial segment.”

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SME Featured Southeast Asia

GA Malaysia, MARQETR partner to upskill Malaysian marketers, assist SMEs

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia — Akademi GA, the exclusive partner of General Assembly (GA) in Malaysia (GA Malaysia), and MARQETR, an on-demand platform that links marketing experts to startups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs), have collaborated to equip Malaysian marketers with future ready digital skills and to empower them to work the way they want.

The partnership would be an avenue for both parties to achieve their goals; GA Malaysia can have placement referrals for marketing students or graduates for project opportunities on MARQETR. Meanwhile, MARQETR can refer new and existing marketers to upskill and reskill themselves at GA Malaysia, in order to maintain a high level of quality and performance in the marketing and digital discipline.

Upon analyzing and concluding that there is a demand for digitally skilled workers, MARQETR and GA Malaysia aim to close the digital skills gap among marketers in Malaysia and help with matching talents to on-demand work opportunities through this partnership.

Andrew Pereira, CEO of GA Malaysia, said, “GA Malaysia’s partnership with MARQETR will enable us to upskill and reskill even more marketers and provide another avenue for GA Malaysia graduates to access on-demand work opportunities with MARQETR. I look forward to seeing the impact of this partnership on the ultimate beneficiaries – marketing professionals and the organisations that benefit from their expertise.”

Meanwhile, Mawarni Adam, founder and CEO of MARQETR, shared, “Partnering with General Assembly Malaysia will not only boost the digital skillsets of the marketing talents on MARQETR but will also provide access for SMEs to hire the right marketers according to their business needs without the hassles of the traditional way of search and procurement.”

Adam adds, “Providing a supported and secure platform for marketers to offer their skills and services, and work the way they want is part of our mission too, and we are excited to be welcoming graduates from GA Malaysia and supporting them in their careers, as part of their on-demand marketing experts path on MARQETR.”

The partnership is already live and is available for SMEs to tap into GA Malaysia marketing talents via MARQETR, and for new signups and existing marketers on MARQETR to get access to GA Malaysia digital-driven marketing courses at exclusively-discounted rates to upskill themselves.