Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Southeast Asia encounter barriers when attempting to access financial services, making it difficult to grow their businesses. However, these SMEs play a vital role in the economic development of Southeast Asia. They are responsible for 67% of jobs in the region, driving innovation, and contributing to the growth of local communities.
The two main barriers to financial access for SMEs are the lack of financial services that cater to their needs and limited financial literacy and education. Only 25% of SMEs in Southeast Asia have access to formal credit. Additionally, many SMEs in the region are unfamiliar with the financial tools and services available to them, making it difficult for them to utilize the financial services they need.
Role of Financial Technology (Fintech) in Providing Financial Access
However, there is hope for these SMEs in the form of innovative digital financial services led by Fintech companies. SMEs can now access a wide range of financial services through alternative lending platforms and microfinance institutions. Moreover, Fintech has recognised the importance of financial literacy and education in driving financial access.
Alternative Lending Platforms
Alternative lending platforms such as peer-to-peer lending, provide SMEs with access to credit and investment opportunities. By bypassing traditional banking intermediaries, these platforms offer a more efficient and cost-effective way for SMEs to access financial services. This reduces the time and costs associated with obtaining a loan.
Microfinance institutions (MFIs) also play an essential role in providing financial services to SMEs in Southeast Asia. These institutions offer small loans, BNPL options for stocking products, and other financial services to low-income individuals and small businesses. MFIs can reach SMEs in remote areas, further enhancing financial access.
Financial Literacy and Education Programs
Financial literacy and education programs are vital in empowering SMEs in Southeast Asia to overcome financial access barriers. These programs focus on teaching basic financial concepts, credit and borrowing options, risk management, and fraud awareness. By promoting financial literacy, the region can cultivate a financially savvy and empowered entrepreneurial community.
Role of Fazz in Providing Financial Access
Fazz Business Finance Solutions is an alternative lending platform that provides SMEs with access to working capital through fast and simple applications. To ensure that SMEs can leverage these financial services, Fazz empowers them through entrepreneurship workshops. These workshops offer information on choosing the right financial services and provide guidance on building their businesses.
Fazz provides business accounts that make it easy for businesses to send and receive payments, grow their capital, and get funding, giving them equal opportunity to build, run, and grow. Fazz caters to the warung and MSME in Indonesia under the brand Fazz Agen, and fast-growing startups and SMEs in Singapore and Indonesia under the brand Fazz Business.
Fazz’s mission is to make the future of finance accessible for every single business in Southeast Asia, where many MSMEs and the population are still underserved.