Standard Chartered today announced that it will launch an open platform for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in India. The goal is to help SMEs grow by providing access to a range of financial and business solutions, the British multinational banking and financial services company said in a statement.
As an open platform, it will integrate with other financial institutions and leading multi-channel marketplaces. The platform will be available to clients in India in the second half of 2019. This initiative is being launched under SC Ventures, the innovation, investment ,and ventures unit of Standard Chartered.
“There is a huge opportunity in India to enable millions of SMEs to realise their full potential. This platform addresses a wide range of SME needs through a completely different model which simplifies the SME growth experience, while putting control at their fingertips,” said Zarin Daruwala, Chief Executive Officer, Standard Chartered Bank, India.
Standard Chartered also claims that its new SME platform is one of the first to provide holistic solutions to SMEs in India. The statement added: ‘It will leverage the rapidly evolving ecosystem of data sources and integrate with digital business solution providers. These solutions will include access to business loans, invoice/supply chain financing, logistics, commercial insurance and skilled resources, among others.’
The company also seeks to provide a data-driven and ‘digital only’ experience to SMEs through the platform. It added that this can be done with the support of artificial intelligence and machine learning. The venture will be headed by Nitin Mittal.
“Rewiring the DNA in banking is all about the business model. This venture lays the foundation for an open platform that will thrive on partnerships, leverage technology and data, and support communities of aspiring SMEs,” said Alex Manson, Global Head, SC Ventures.
Standard Chartered also claimed that the beta testing of the digital client journey has been completed and the platform will facilitate its first transactions in the second quarter of 2019. ‘At the time of launch, for financing, it intends to partner with Standard Chartered Investments and Loans Ltd (SCILL), a non-banking financial company,’ the statement read.
Other institutions have been going strong in aiding SMES in India through online platforms. For instance, last month, the Telangana government partnered with GlobalLinker, an MSME-enablement business, to launch a digital networking platform named, ‘Telangana State GlobalLinker’. This new platform seeks to digitise and connect over 2.3 million MSMEs in Telangana to a global community of small and large businesses.
Web portal PSBloansin59minutes.com, where MSMEs can avail loans of up to Rs 1 crore in just 59 minutes, also recently became the country's largest online lending platform after sanctioning loans worth over Rs 35,000 crore.