StanChart Ventures present $50,000 grant to Enhance Ghana’s SME sector MWorld FEATURES, NEWS A subsidiary of Standard Chartered financial business unit SC Ventures, has rewarded the winner of its innovation challenge to support Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with grant of $50,000. This was as a result to enhance the Sustainable Development Goal 9 to improve their financial inclusion in the country. Sustainable Development Goal 9 (SDG 9) is said to be based on three interconnected pillars of infrastructure, industry and innovation. The lucky winner of the competition Edward Neequaye of Built Accounting, innovated a simple financial bookkeeping application that enables entrepreneurs to keep good financial records and build robust financial profiles for better business decision-making. The Lead2030 Challenge for SDG9, supported by Standard Chartered, launched a global search for young leaders working to increase the access of small-scale enterprises to financial services, including affordable credit, and their integration into value chains and markets. Following its launch in October 2018, the initiative undertook a global search to identify the “most impactful youth-lead solutions for the SDGS, analysing more than 1,200 submissions. It was mentioned that, with these, they can demonstrate their creditworthiness to formal lenders. It makes financial recordkeeping easy and incentives, this often-neglected practice by enabling its users to easily share their financial data with lenders, breaking barriers to accessing loans. Speaking at the event, CEO, Standard Chartered Bank Ghana, Mansa Nettey, said the bank was delighted to support young people to undertake innovation that would enhance the life of others. Apparently, in developing countries, one of the main barriers to the growth of SMEs is the lack of access to finance. Whereas, financial services are the lifeblood of commerce, which is in turn driven by entrepreneurs and small businesses. Mr. Neequaye, and his team through Built’s data-driven matching/scoring mechanism, provide lenders with new, qualified customers, significantly reducing their customer acquisition costs. “Built’s system also helps lending institutions lower their risk and costs, enabling them to lend with improved terms and better compete in the financial services market.” It has worked with over 500 enterprises across Ghana, helping them to build healthy financial profiles that allow them to better understand their business. Most of these businesses have gone on to raise funds from local banks and investors. The Built system has secured partnerships with major entrepreneurship support organisations such as the World Bank-funded Ghana Tech Lab, TechnoServe, Workshed, lnnohub, and more. “The $50,000 support and a year’s broad mentorship would help him to support more MSMEs.” Neequaye stated.