Emirates Development Bank [EDB], a key financial enabler of the UAE’s economic diversification and industrial transformation agenda, today announced that it has signed an agreement with Beehive, the UAE’s first Peer-to-Peer (P2P) lending platform, to expand funding options for the Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs).
The announcement follows EDB’s strategic pledge to lend up to AED30bn to 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. For its part, Beehive 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 EDB’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, Chief Executive Officer 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.”
He added: “This agreement is in line with our new strategy to provide financial and non-financial solutions to SMEs and startups in the UAE, particularly in key priority industrial sectors, and enable a sustainable ecosystem that supports the country’s economic diversification efforts.”
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.”
He added: “We’re really happy to have EDB on board, the finance they’ve assigned will go a long way to supporting SME growth in the UAE. We look forward to a long and prosperous partnership with a mutual drive for inclusive economic prosperity.”
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 in order to increase liquidity and the speed of funding for its businesses.