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Amsterdam, October 8, 2019
—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the SME Finance Forum, announced the winners of the second edition of the Global SME Finance Awards last night during the Global SME Finance Forum 2019, the annual flagship event of the SME Finance Forum.
Sixteen award winners were selected
from a global pool of 144 entrants for their extraordinary achievements in delivering innovative products and services to their small and medium enterprise (SME) clients. The winning institutions were chosen based on the following criteria: reach, uniqueness and innovation, effectiveness and impact, and dynamism and scalability.
The Global SME Finance Awards were created by IFC and the SME Finance Forum to celebrate the exceptional achievements of financial institutions and fintech companies in client delivery for SMEs. This year’s awards include a new category, Women-SME Bank of the Year, which recognizes the contributions of financial institutions in serving women-owned SMEs. The awards are endorsed by the G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI).
Natascha Beinker, Deputy Head of Division at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and Co-Chair of the SME Finance Subgroup of G20 GPFI said: “The Global SME Finance Awards put the spotlight on two key issues - responsible innovation and responsible financing, which are an integral part of the financial inclusion agenda. As demonstrated by this year’s and last year’s Awards winners, product innovations can lower costs and allow SME financiers to better serve previously underserved and unserved SMEs, particularly women-owned SMEs.”
The Global SME Finance Forum 2019 welcomed over 650 attendees from more than 280 institutions in 75 countries. On the 5-year anniversary of the annual Forum, Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, UN Secretary-General's Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA), delivered the keynote address
This year’s conference looked at the convergence between the real and financial sectors in SME Finance, which is taking place at a rapid pace and will have a transformative impact on small business lending. Convergence is being driven by the availability of vast amounts of data and the ability of SME financiers to receive and analyze it in real time using advanced analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning. This in turn allows lenders to make faster lending decisions, including for small scale customers.
Paulo de Bolle, IFC Senior Director, Financial Institutions Group said: “The Global SME Finance Awards recognize and reward innovation in small business lending that can improve financing for SMEs, helping small businesses grow and create jobs. Innovations in lending technology and business models can significantly reduce the cost of serving SMEs.”
About the SME Finance Forum
The SME Finance Forum works to expand access to finance for small and medium businesses. The Forum operates a global membership network that brings together financial institutions, technology companies, and development finance institutions to share knowledge, spur innovation, and promote the growth of SMEs. Established in 2012 by the G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion, the SME Finance Forum is managed by IFC. For more information, visit
IFC—a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities where they are needed most. In fiscal year 2019, we delivered more than $19 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit
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