Articles

Keri Gohman, President of Xero Americas on How the Financial Web Is Rewiring Small-Business Economy

Keri Gohman, the President of Xero Americas spoke to the role of collaborative work in the financial services industry, and why small business banking in the U.S. required stronger ties between the tech and banking community to rewire small-business economy.

Articles

Articles

Accelerator Wants To Help Create The Next Big Black-Owned Tech Startup
I'M IN accelerator is focusing on providing support to early-stage, growth-driven and black-owned tech companies through education, mentorship and financing in South Africa. The accelerator is an IDF Capital initiative and a pre-investment readiness program for tech startups with an exceptional business concept and who have an early stage market-...
FinTech Startups Need a Localized Approach to SME Lending
The focus of the entire product design of digital lending platforms and fintech startups, needs to shift towards interaction led rather than merely being transactional in nature. Banks have traditional had an advantage over other financial service institutions because banks are viewed as trusted advisors to the customer. In order for fintech to...
Randa Al-Zoghbi Tamweely
Randa Al-Zoghbi, Center for International Private Enterprise’s Program Director in Egypt, discussed the release of their new app, Tamweely, in partnership with the World Bank. The app is designed to connect financiers to small businesses and entrepreneurs in Egypt seeking start-up funding. It will also provide business education tools and...
Innotribe 2015 Start-up Challenge - New York Showcase - June 18
Launched by SWIFT in 2011, the Innotribe Startup Challenge bridges the gap between the financial services industry and today’s brightest startups, by organising regional showcases around the world. Building on the great success of 2014, the competition keeps on growing and has selected the most impressive fintech startups to benefit from a unique networking opportunity with banks and VCs during 4 regional showcases.Over 500 industry experts, bank decision-makers, venture capitalists, and angel investors judged the companies applying to the Startup Challenge and helped us select the 60 semi-finalists entering the programme this year .These semi-finalists will get the opportunity to showcase their new products in front of an audience looking for the best in class and voting for the top 5 companies of their choice at the end of each showcase. The 20 companies selected in total will automatically secure their place as finalists in the Innotribe Startup Challenge Grand Finale, taking place at Sibos, the world’s premier financial services event organised by SWIFT. This year the event will take place in Singapore on 14 October 2015.The challenge provides participants with the unique opportunity to get together and create smart pitches, facilitate insightful discussions on emerging innovations, and participate in useful networking with potential investors, cutomers, and partners.
Could an app give SMEs a leg up in the market?
With recent technological advances and new market opportunities, innovation is no longer something companies pursue parallel to their everyday business activity. Instead, it has become an integral part of business planning for any company trying to make it in an increasingly competitive market. In 2014, smartphone penetration in Latin America reached an impressive 30% of the market. What does that mean for SMEs across the region? That it’s time to join the fray, and the app market is where things are happening these days.According to a report released in 2014, 2 out of 10 companies in Latin America are in the process of developing or have already implemented a mobile application strategy to improve outreach to their clients. Apps designed to help manage a company and improve internal processes are also gaining traction. Improved connectivity has turned into a key ally for business owners.So how could an app improve a company´s competitiveness? We know that SMEs face two main challenges – access to finance and managerial support for owners and decision-makers [1]. The latter is where new technologies can make all the difference, providing easy access to advisory services anytime, anywhere and at no cost. Yes, and this is how For the last decade, a program designed by the Inter-American Investment Corporation by the name of FINPYME Diagnostics 2 . has focused on evaluating the competitiveness of SMEs, pinpointing weaknesses and providing tailored advisory services to address them. Up until now, the complete diagnostics process consisted of a lengthy one-on-one consultation with over 180 indicators.This evaluation is now available to business owners through the FINPYME App , which comes packed with ten years’ worth of knowledge and expertise. The digital evaluation tool consists of a questionnaire that analyzes a company’s strengths and weaknesses, making recommendations in the following six dimensions: (1) Competitive Position, (2) Environmental and Social Sustainability, (3) Financial Position, (4) Innovation and Intellectual Property, (5) Marketing and Client Relations, and (6) Talent Management and Corporate Affairs. The app allows business owners to complete the questionnaire on their own time, track their progress, and compare with peer groups from their country and company size. To add further value, it also offers useful resources, articles, news, events and videos, providing business owners with the information they need when they need it. Over the course of the year, we will be including additional evaluations. The app’s ultimate goal is to become a one stop shop for business advisory services on demand.There is no doubt that technology has changed the way SMEs do business. Innovation and knowledge today are just as important to success as access to finance. The business environment is fast-paced, and for SMEs understanding the challenges they face along with convenient access to curated know-how can mean a leg up in a competitive market.----------------------------------------------------------------- [1] http://www.cluteinstitute.com/ojs/index.php/IBER/article/view/3391 [1] FINPYME Diagnostics is a two-phase program. In the first phase, management areas in need of improvement are identified, and in the second the companies undergoing a diagnostic review receive individual or group-based technical assistance. For more information visit http://finpyme.iic.org/en/programs/finpyme-diagnostics/overview About the authors: Tatiana Laborde, Analyst, Inter-American Investment CorporationHelga Flores, Principal External Relations Advisor, Inter-American Investment Corporation
Enablis: An international network serving Africa’s entrepreneurs
Enablis promotes local business creation by focusing its attention on the entrepreneurs rather than merely on their businesses. This NGO identifies the founders of the most promising SMEs and supports them as they grow their enterprise. As members they enjoy all the advantages connected with an international network based on sharing experience. As well as providing training and mentorship programmes, Enablis supports entrepreneurs as they seek financing for their businesses.
Facebook partners with Cherie Blair to boost female entrepreneurs
This is Facebook’s first partnership to promote entrepreneurship, among women who run businesses in the developing world. The result is a digital portal that connects women to skilled mentors abroad, as well as text and video primers on digital marketing skills, how to use Facebook’s free tools for businesses and how to build a professional page on the site.
From Paper to Practice: How Easy Is It to Ease Doing Business
A large part of what defines the environment for doing business in a country is set in legislation. In many countries around the world, business regulations are more difficult than necessary, and some have taken great efforts to remove unneeded impediments with the aim of stimulating entrepreneurship and investment.But does that lead to actual improvements in the business environment?
Access Bank commits to train and mentor women entrepreneurs in Nigeria
In recognition that the role of women, either as mothers, sisters, wives, leaders, colleagues or just a friend is significant, and also acknowledging that women enrich lives and provide the glue that holds communities and families together, Access Bank plc has consequently, reiterated its commitment to train and mentor women entrepreneurs to achieve a desired business growth, which translates to greater contribution to economic development.
Counseling services more important than lending programs for SMEs?
U.S. Small Business Administration head Maria Contreras-Sweet recently made news when she dared to say that counseling services might be more important than SBA’s lending programs .I’ve spent about half of my career in the small-business policy and advocacy sector (including one year at SBA and nine years at the National Federation of Independent Business), so my initial reaction to what Administrator Contreras-Sweet said was “Yeah, no [kidding].” Many of us have known for a long time that loans are not a panacea for small business — far from it! But I’m guessing that wasn’t the reaction of Contreras-Sweet’s colleagues in the White House, since more often than not, small-business-oriented policy coming out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is all about new, extended or expanded loan programs.