Source: WAM, Rola Alghoul/Mohd Aamir
Emirates Development Bank (EDB) today announced that it has signed an agreement with Beehive, the UAE’s first Peer-to-Peer (P2P) platform, to expand funding options for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs).
The announcement follows EDB’s strategic pledge to support SMEs, startups and large corporates across five priority sectors including manufacturing, healthcare, infrastructure, food security and technology over the next five years.
As an institutional investor, EDB has initially assigned AED 30 million funding via the Beehive platform to qualifying businesses. Beehive, in turn, will facilitate business loans to creditworthy SMEs looking to expand operations or improve working capital.
The funds disbursed through this partnership have the potential to support hundreds of SMEs in the region, reinforcing the bank's new strategy to increase financial accessibility to Emirati and UAE resident-owned SMEs and businesses.
The EDB strategy aims to help SMEs to access finance and grow their business, which should boost their contribution to UAE’s non-oil GDP to over 70 per cent by 2021, besides enhancing in-country value, productivity and employment.
Commenting on the partnership, Ahmed Mohamed Al Naqbi, CEO of EDB, said, "The collaboration with Beehive is part of our mission to bridge the funding gap by offering SMEs greater and easier access to financial sources. Through our combined efforts, we look forward to strengthening the SME ecosystem and supporting the UAE’s goals to build a robust knowledge-based economy."
For his part, Craig Moore, Founder and CEO of Beehive, said, "The addition of institutional investors to Beehive will give SMEs more secure financing and better liquidity on the platform, which means that funding can be received faster too."
The Beehive platform uses crowdfunding technology to connect SMEs looking for finance with a crowd of investors who can support their finance request, whilst earning attractive returns. In addition to its network of retail investors, Beehive has adapted its business model to include institutional investors to increase liquidity and the speed of funding for its businesses.