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Business News of Saturday, 4 February 2023


Why SMEs lack access to funds - Firm

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The Chief Executive Officer, VerifyMe Nigeria, Esigie Aguele, has said the lack of trust infrastructure is hindering the growth of Small and Medium Enterprises in the country.

In a statement made available to The PUNCH on Thursday, Aguele disclosed this while speaking as a special guest on Fidelity SME Forum, a complementary SME-banking platform by Fidelity Bank aimed at building capacity and driving growth for entrepreneurs across Nigeria.

He said, “One of the biggest impediments to the growth of SMEs in the country has been the absence of a trust infrastructure that will stimulate sustainable growth within the space. This void not only hinders SME entrepreneurs from accessing financial and other services critical to their growth but also stifles their prospects of scaling due to the lack of credible consumer insights.

“For example, VerifyMe’s B2B platform, QoreID, connects businesses to trusted identities and consumer analytics, enabling financial institutions like banks, fintechs, and credit lenders to provide loans to SMEs faster and more securely. Our ‘Know Your Business’ verification platform provides lenders with accurate reports on businesses so that these businesses can get assessed easily. We also give reports to our customers on those businesses.

“VerifyMe can deploy our strong team of over 40,000 agents spread across the country to conduct Tier 3 account opening and business checks to ensure that SMEs can scale through the compliance hurdle, drive their eligibility, and access financial products. These are examples of how digital identity drives scale, compliance, and access to capital.”

According to him, one of the key deterrents to embracing ‘Know Your Customer’ technology is the belief that the services are too pricey and way above the reach of most small businesses.

He added, “Digital technology, and particularly, VerifyMe’s services, is at the forefront of crashing the price of conducting KYC in Nigeria. When we entered the market, it used to cost N25,000 to verify people for account opening. We dropped that to N600. In addition to this, it costs only about N200-N300 for analytics on a loan of hundreds of thousands or even millions of naira.

“So, we have ensured that the price is affordable for anybody across the board to use VerifyMe services.”

While proffering a solution to the impediment, the VerifyMe CEO noted that SMEs had been charged to embrace business growth opportunities offered by digital identity and consumer analytics to scale their operations and unlock growth within the ecosystem.