The SME Finance Forum on 15 November 2015 launched its global member network in a ceremony hosted by Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, Special Advocate for the Secretary General of the UN for Inclusive Finance for Development, and Cevdet Yılmaz, the Deputy PM of Turkey. The Forum’s founding members include banks, technology “disruptors”, regulators and development finance institutions from around the world committed to accelerating financing for small businesses.
“In many countries, the bulk of the employment and trade is generated by SMEs. They have a crucial role in development, commercialization and spread of innovation,” said Deputy Prime Minister Yilmaz.
Established by the G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI) and managed by the IFC, the SME Finance Forum brings together private and public sector players to share knowledge, spur innovation, and provide a new voice in policy discourse. Its ultimate goal is closing the enormous SME finance gap, estimated at over $2 trillion worldwide.
“The Forum has come a long way in the three short years since it opened its doors,” said Jin-Yong Cai, the CEO of the International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group. “With the launch of the global member network, the SME Finance Forum is even better positioned to advance public-private dialogue and help ensure that small businesses can access the finance they need to thrive.”
“Our founding members are diverse in terms of the type of organization as well as their size and regional focus,” said SME Finance Forum CEO, Matthew Gamser. “However, they have one thing in common – they are all helping small businesses grow.”
“The timing has never been better to finally reduce inequities in the credit market and close the credit gap,” said Queen Máxima, who is also Honorary Patron of the G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion. “Together, policy makers, fintechs, and financial institutions of all shapes and sizes, can create the conditions necessary for the market to offer affordable and convenient financial services for small businesses.”
The launch of the member network took place during a two-day conference implemented by the SME Finance Forum and CapitalPlus Exchange. This meeting brought private and public sector participants came together to discuss innovative partnerships which can accelerate small business finance. The event took place alongside the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Antalya, Turkey and drew more than 200 global leaders from the private and public sector, joined by G20 representatives and other policy makers.