Futurelink Technologies becomes the first African company to win the Global SME Finance Platinum Award for Product Innovation of the Year. The awards were organized by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the SME Finance Forum.
Future link bagged the award on 20th September, making it the first time an African company wins this highest award in the category, attesting to the rose of industry changing innovations on the continent.
The Global SME Finance Awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of financial institutions and fintech companies in delivering exceptional products and services to their SME clients.
Launched in 2018 and now in its fifth year, the Global SME Finance Awards capture the effective and successful practices of financiers, honoring the innovative products and services for SME clients that have achieved impressive results in expanding finance and services to SMEs and the institutions that undertake those efforts.
This year’s competition introduced a new category in partnership with the IFC’s Green Bond Technical Assistance Program (GB-TAP), awarding meritorious institutions with the distinction of Sustainable Bond of the Year. The winning entries represent the growing number of financial institutions that recognize that Green, Social, and Sustainability Bonds have a crucial role to play in tackling the ongoing climate crisis, helping FIs achieve their Sustainable Development Goals.
For the second year in a row, entries from IDA and fragile and conflict affected situations are honored for working in some of the most difficult operating environments, both highlighting the needs and challenges of serving SMEs in these areas and illustrating what is possible despite the complexities faced.
According to the SME Finance Forum CEO, Matthew Gamser, this year has seen a significantly large field of applicants as it expands to a fifth award category in the important area of greening SME financing.
“We have more countries, with more financial products and approaches than ever before. It was a tall order for the almost 100 judges, whom we thank profusely for their expert, informed and unbiased judgement about who merited recognition,” Gamser said.
In this fifth year of the competition, entrants continued to illustrate resilience and innovation across the categories, from the ongoing work of serving SMEs in the SME Finance of the Year category, to the institutions channeling the Responsible Investor Guidelines, the Digital Innovator of the Year, to the creative and holistic approaches in the category of Best Financier for Women Entrepreneurs, which is organized each year in partnership with the IFC Banking on Women Initiative.
Magda Bianco, GPFI co-Chair said, “The G20’s Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion welcomes this latest round of the Global SME Finance Awards, which, along with our new Database on Digital SME Finance Innovations, is helping raise awareness of all the new possibilities that digitalization offers for improving small firm access to finance.
“I’m very impressed with how many of these SME financing initiatives are taking place in the poorest countries of the world, and in fragile and conflict affected areas. I congratulate all the winners, all the honorable mentions, and all those who applied, and really encourage you to share your great work in our new Database,” Magda further said.