…and SMEs are at the heart of what Credit Bank PLC does. Kenya’s economy, despite its challenges, is one that grows whilst supporting various sectors. The Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) sector is one that contributes and positively impacts the Kenyan economy. Despite contributing only 3% to the country’s GDP, SMEs provide more than 30% employment opportunities. Further, 98% of all business in the country are SMEs.
For years, our mission at Credit Bank has been to provide financial solutions that impact the economy positively. Realising the impact SMEs were having in the economy, we realigned our strategic plan to have small and growing businesses at the centre of the Bank’s transformation. For the past decade, the bank has shifted its focus to serving SMEs with solutions that facilitated their growth.
Offering personalised financial solutions to entrepreneurs provided an opportunity for us to develop a deeper understanding of SMEs. This gave us the impetus to be better at what we do and to innovate. We moved to develop a wholistic approach to SMEs – an approach which we were recently recognised for i.e. providing sustainable finance in the economy.
To come up with a wholistic approach to working with SMEs, we undertook a research that gave us insights. From the survey, we learnt that finding business advisory support is difficult for small businesses. Access to capital is still a challenge that impedes growth of businesses. In addition to capital, SMEs are looking for support around marketing, compliance, talent management and strategy.
Over the years, our Trade Finance solutions have helped SMEs develop a structure and put in place systems that enable them to access financing. From the research however, it was clear that we had to move to create something more sustainable. This led to the development of the Entrepreneurs’ Hub.
eHub, short for Entrepreneurs’ Hub, is a platform that seeks to galvanise and resolve challenges small and growing businesses face. Here, members get to engage with one another, learn from industry experts and/or programmes we’ve set up and from this they can grow their businesses. The platform aims to form true partnerships with SMEs and address their challenges through hands on coaching and mentorship. At the end of the day, the SME will have structures and systems in place enabling them access important resources that include financing.
The above approach is one of the ways Credit Bank partners with customers to elevate and empower them financially. Our goal is to be the vanguard of economic transformation for SMEs. A transformed SME sector is one that directly impacts the strength and growth of the Kenyan economy.
The bank has further aligned itself with the country’s economic agenda of improving the economy through food security, increasing local manufacturing, providing universal healthcare and affordable housing solutions. To achieve impact at scale, this can only be done through partnerships. One such partnership, enabling new financing capabilities, is with Medical Credit Finance. This partnership is targeted towards healthcare institutions where we provide financing for the expansion of their respective practices.
Our expertise with small and growing businesses puts the Bank at the apex of such partnerships. The European’s recent recognition of our efforts as the Best SME Partner Bank is a testament to this. At the helm of this concerted effort is Ms Betty Korir who also won the accolade of CEO of the Year 2019.
“As we seek to leverage on partnerships and move the bank to greater heights, we will continue to innovate and provide relevant impactful solutions,” says Betty. “We will continue to build on this strength. Globalisation further provides growth avenues for SMEs and that of our economy. We are at the forefront of creating an enabling environment for SMEs to take advantage through our Trade Finance solutions. More importantly is that some of the solutions are not necessarily monetary but those that ensure international trade is done through a trusted intermediary.”
“The future presents more opportunities as we take advantage of fintech. Our current robust technology allows for SMEs and individuals to conduct their banking from the palm of their hands. Ability to access banking services from anywhere has allowed for convenience giving entrepreneurs time to focus on their business. We remain committed to SMEs and further continue to research ways in which we can improve and grow their businesses. Stability is important for them and having a financial partner they can bank on is crucial.”
Betty further asserts that Credit Bank is indeed the friend you can bank on. A friendly approach indeed develops partnerships.