In support of Sustainable Development Goal 9, SC Ventures, a business unit of Standard Chartered, has awarded a grant of $50,000 to the winner of its innovation challenge to support Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises improve their financial profiles.
Sustainable Development Goal 9 (SDG 9) is based on three interconnected pillars of infrastructure, industry and innovation.
The Lead2030 Challenge for SDG9, supported by Standard Chartered, launched a global search for young leaders working to increase the access of small-scale enterprises to financial services, including affordable credit and their integration into value chains and markets.
Following its launch in October 2018, the initiative undertook a global search to identify the “most impactful youth-lead solutions for the SDGS”,- and analysed more than 1,200 submissions.
Edward Neequaye of Built Accounting, who emerged the winner of the challenge: ‘Leveraging technology for improving financial profiles for MSMEs’, has developed a simple financial bookkeeping application that enables entrepreneurs to keep good financial records and build robust financial profiles for better business decision-making.
With these, they can demonstrate their creditworthiness to formal lenders. It also makes financial recordkeeping easy and incentivises the often-neglected practice by enabling its users to easily share their financial data with lenders, breaking barriers to accessing loans.
Mansa Nettey, Chief Executive Officer Standard Chartered Bank Ghana, said the bank is delighted to support young people to undertake innovation that would enhance the life of others.
Financial services are the lifeblood of commerce, which is in turn driven by entrepreneurs and small businesses.
Particularly in developing countries, one of the main barriers to the growth of SMEs is a lack of access to finance.
This limits the mobilisation of resources, growth in prosperity and flourishing of communities. Supporting SMEs and trade worldwide, especially in developing markets, plays a key role in helping to advance SDG 9.
Through Built’s data-driven matching/scoring mechanism, Mr Neequaye and his team, provided lenders with new, qualified customers, significantly reducing their customer acquisition costs.
Built’s system also helps lending institutions lower their risk and costs, enabling them to lend with improved terms and better compete in the financial services market.
Built has worked with over 500 enterprises across Ghana, helping them to build healthy financial profiles that allow them to better understand their business. Most of these businesses have gone on to raise funds from local banks and investors.
Built has secured partnerships with major entrepreneurship support organisations such as the World Bank-funded Ghana Tech Lab, TechnoServe, Workshed and lnnohub amongst others.
Mr Neequaye said the $50,000 support and a year’s broad mentorship would help him to support more MSMEs.