Solv Kenya, a B2B platform owned by Standard Chartered bank has officially launched in Kenya, aiming to make an impact with affordable loans to Micro, Small, and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) in the country.
The platform has an ambitious plan to disburse loans worth KES 10bn (more than $100m) every year through its mobile phone and web-based applications.
The fintech and investment subsidiary of StanChart’s SC Ventures says that its new credit facility will enable “all businesses to connect with multiple stakeholders in a trusted environment while accessing competitive credit, wider markets, and simplified business support solutions.”
Sheila Kimani, Solv Kenya’s CEO said, “We are very excited to go to market in a much bigger way now following a successful pilot of our initial product, Supply Chain Financing, which has seen over 3,800 MSMEs and more than 10 multinational companies participating and engaging on the platform in ways that have altered the course of MSME business in Kenya. We are looking at signing up 10,000 businesses by the end of this year.”
Last year, the company ventured into the Indian market to serve more than 65 million MSMEs through its e-commerce platform. Kenya becomes its first marketplace in Africa, as plans to launch into other markets get underway.
A pilot program has been undergoing for the last three months, with the company saying it has provided Sh150 million worth of loans to a wide range of enterprises. Solv Kenya is using a unique model, where the qualifying enterprises are recommended by their suppliers.
“The platform has signed pacts with several corporates including BAT, Diageo, Procter and Gamble, Lafarge, Nestle and Nokia. The financiers include Faulu Bank, Gulf African Bank, Standard Chartered Bank Kenya, Asante MFI, and Zanifu MFI – with more partners from different sectors in the pipeline.” A statement from the fintech clarified.
Solv raised US$40 million in Series A funding led by marquee investor, SBI Holdings, with participation from SC Ventures, to propel the company’s global expansion plans. It hopes to expand its wings to more than 300 cities across India, Africa and Southeast Asia.
“With over 10 million MSMEs that exist as either formal or informal businesses, the Kenyan MSME sector employs more than 85 per cent of the Kenyan population and contributes close to 30 per cent of the country’s GDP.” the company said.