Find out how best you could benefit from the Financing Gateway platform
Within the Terms of Reference (ToR) for Host organizations there is one clause that requests a country host not to sell private personal data gathered through the platform.
ITC does not propose to commercialize the MSME Financing Gateway or the Guides that can be found under "Resources".
ITC is actively discussing potential global sponsorships and donor support to ensure the maintenance costs are covered into the future. Our intention is for the platform to remain free to use and impartial as a “global good”.
ITC will support a promotion campaign for each MSME Financing Gateway launch that will be defined with stakeholders and coordinated with the country Host organizations, country contributors and institutions.
Some of these activities will be budgeted within ITCs project funds. In some countries government agencies and MSME organizations make contributions in kind for the platform’s promotion and visibility. Promotion may be linked with other regional or national activities.
Analytical and insight reports will be published by the Host. After six months or one year of operation an event is planned to publicly present results and form a regional or global steering committee for managing the future of the platform.
The configuration of the analytical reports of users, user activity and click throughs to bank and financing providers Internet sites is a “Work in progress”.
During the first 3 months of full operation. ITC, the Host organization and Bankers’ Association will review the data available from the platform, develop some initial reports and present them to providers for comment and ideas.
Some standard report formats will be created and, once the number of public Users has risen above a minimum threshold, We will consider a facility to access to export raw data with personal data removed (anonymized).
Data is fully indexed, with natural language indexing and search support. An analytics engine captures search criteria used, filters applied, the number of times that key words are used and users’ subsequent click through journeys. Reports capture the number of times each key word used and their click through journey, which can then be viewed on a "league table" presentation.
ITC and your country Host organization request banks and other providers to review their Google or Internet analytics reports to track what happens to Users of the MSME Financing Gateway who land on their Internet site - this is called an "Origination check".
This information will help to complete a review of the usefulness of the platform and show if the filter terms may need to be adjusted so that more Users find the facilities that match their needs. Indicators may include:
- How long a User stays on the pages they click through to,
- Do Users click further and, if so, to what pages?
- Do they go on to complete an application form, reach an agent, or eventually get a financing application accepted for further review (client conversion started)?
The filter term list is available in each Guide and Manual (See the tab "User Guides") and is also sent to providers when they Register on the platform. You can view and export the Drop-down menu.
Descriptors that are mirrored by the filter terms are selected from the multi-choice Drop-down menu when each new type of financing facility is entered on your organization's Account page on the Back end of the platform.
ITC, your country Host organization, the Bankers’ Association and other stakeholders will organize a data collection survey and a "Focus Group meeting to review results and then fine tune filters and descriptors provided on the platform so that matching of User searches, facilities and services is optimized – this is an iterative process called “Hit rate optimization”.
A person from your organization who is authorized through the Operating personnel authorization form is given access to your organization's account pages on the Back end of the platform to make changes to information displayed on the Front end on the MSME Financing Gateway. Authorized persons should seek any internal approvals required before submitting a change to the MSME Financing Gateway. The Administrator sees the change on their Dashboard and may quickly review it for obvious typographical errors or malicious content before it is "Live" and displayed on the Front end for public Users to see.
The two-step process is designed to prevent obvious defamatory or malicious content being displayed but the MSME Financing Gateway Host organization cannot be held responsible for the technical accuracy or completeness of the content posted by providers.
Each Financing or Business Development Service provider is allocated an "Account Page" on the Back-end of the platform. This is your own space, used to create, describe and update information about your facilities and services that you want to display on the Public pages of the MSME Financing Gateway.
In this space you can also select a series of descriptor terms from drop down menus that link with the search filter terms and key words filters on the Home page of the Front-end Public pages.
Before inviting your participation, ITC and the Host collected preliminary publicly available information on the facilities and services offered by your organization. This is designed to help your initial orientation and shorten the data verification and updating process and to give us a measure of the work required for preparing the launch of the platform. You can delete, update or create new content on your Account Page.
Only you, the Host Administrator and ITC can see your Account Page.
The persons designated by your organization to update information will receive a notification if the information on a facility or service under your Account Page has not been reviewed or updated within six months since its creation. That notification will be repeated after two weeks. If no action occurs, the final notification will inform you that the facility or service will be archived until further notice from you.
All versions of data entered are archived, not actually deleted. Simply contact the host Administrator through the "Get in touch" form at the bottom of your screen and specify which data field, facility or account needs to be reinstated.
You will need to Register as a User, MSME or Organization by clicking on the drop-down menu in the top right-hand corner of the Home page. After completing some brief details about yourself on the form presented, click on the "Create account" button.
Note that neither ITC, nor the platform Host, will divulge your personal information entered here to other parties without your permission. Analytical reports produced by the platform are anonymized before publication. The Host organization has agreed not to commercialize personal information held on the database. It is used for security and identity recognition by the platform.
You will receive a 6-figure One-time password code to the mobile phone number or e-mail address that you entered on the form. This will give you access to the full functionality of the platform. You will see a range of additional search options and filters presented on the home page and be able to select functions from the main Menu. You will also be able to select navigation languages and data from other countries that host the platform.
If you checked the tick box called: "I represent an enterprise or organization", we encourage you to fill in a short supplementary form to tell us more about your enterprise or organization. This data enables ITC to fine tune its development project design, information tools and languages into which resources are translated, for example.
The MSME Financing Gateway provides a direct channel to MSMEs looking for financing and business development services to grow their businesses.
MSMEs use it as a one-stop-platform to find the financing and services that will meet their needs and link directly to providers at no cost*.
Banks and other providers will receive periodic User activity and enterprise information reports including: geographic, demographic, enterprise characteristics, search patterns and click-throughs. This helps providers and policymakers to identify unmet MSME financing needs, gauge demand, define market segmentation, position offers and marketing campaigns. After an initial operating period, registered providers should be able to configure their own reports.
Automatic notifications are sent to subscribers each week when new facilities or services are posted. This makes it easy for Providers to quickly test customer reactions to new facilities and services in Beta.
Better informed and prepared MSMEs lead to higher client conversion rates & first agent-client meeting efficiency. MSMEs get information on the type of financing, its purpose, criteria, and documentation requirements. MSME resources include financing decision trees and explanations of the implications of different types of lending, covenants and collaterals.
No additional financing or business development service provider workload: Quick templates semi-automated notifications and brochure upload facilities reduce the time required by marketing and communications staff to keep facilities up to date or to add new facilities.
Information provided is kept current through automatic prompts sent when providers’ data has not been changed for a pre-set period - usually 6 months. Facilities will be archived if no response is received after two repeat notifications.
1,000s of MSMEs surveyed by ITC and other agencies in 2020 and 2021 said that finding information on COVID recovery cash, financing or business development advice was one of their top priorities. Most entrepreneurs knew less than seven MSME-specific financing providers when there are more than 400 MSME financing facilities available across East Africa.
Banks said that >70% of financing applications get rejected at first presentation due to documentation errors and not meeting basic criteria. At the same time provincial loan officers lose time to respond to many enquiries that simply do not fit with the products they can offer. Conversion rates from total inquiries received to loan clients were said to be less than 30%. Financing and business development services said they wanted on channel to link directly with the MSME community for new products & services.
The MSME Financing Gateway is designed to respond to these challenges by providing a low bandwidth platform with country owned and managed content, operated by a national MSME community representative body in partnership with bank, financing and business development providers.
A series of focus groups in five East African countries involved MSMEs, farmers, banks government agencies, regulators, community financing and business development support providers in design, functionality requirements and beta tests.
The MSME Financing Gateway has been produced with the financial assistance of the EAC Market Access Upgrade (MARKUP) project that is funded by the European Union and implemented by ITC and programmed by Farwell-Innovations Ltd of Nairobi: https://www.farwell-consultants.com
ITC, as an impartial United Nations agency, owns the Open-Source software on which the platform has been built.
The Global platform is hosted on the United Nations Computing Centre’s Cloud service behind a secure firewall with international standard security protection.
As the number of country users expand, ITC plans to create an Advisory Board of host organizations to oversee the future direction and updating of the platform.
The costs of hosting the global platform and IT support should be covered for the next few years by ITC, but we are also in negotiations with potential sponsors to ensure the long-term technical support and operational foundations of the platform are secured independent of ITC funding. In the unlikely case that all sources of funding cease, then the modest cost of global cloud hosting and IT support would be divided amongst the country hosts. This amounts to little more than the cost of maintaining your country host organization's existing own public Internet site.
The MSME Financing Gateway has been developed using Open Source tools.
There are two main components of the long-term cost of operating the MSME Financing Gateway:
1. The cost of the Host organization’s own personnel to maintain the content of the platform, administer new provider registrations, uploads and changes to information made by providers.
2. Technical IT support: ITC has agreed a technical support package with Farwell Innovations, Nairobi into 2023, paid for by ITC field project funds. After 2023, we expect the cost of technical support and the global UNICC hosting fee to be borne by one of our field projects or one or more Sponsors.
In the unlikely case that ITC cannot cover the global MSME Financing Gateway technical support cost, the host organization may need to assume a modest share of the global fee. Host organizations will be notified at least 60 days in advance of such an occurrence and options can be discussed with ITC.
As a guide the cost of such support in 2022 would corresponds to approximately of USD 1,600 per annum per host (5 hosts). This covers domain names, a share of UNICC hosting fees, security and system upgrades. The application has been built on Open Source software to which ITC has direct access.
After completing an Expression of Interest form and being accepted as a potential Host organization you will be sent an outline on-boarding plan with the letter confirming acceptance of your organization as a Host and a virtual briefing meeting will be organized for your management and administrative teams.
You will need to nominate one of your team to take responsibility for managing the on-boarding process and identify a small technical team of about 4 people for ITC and the programmers’ to interact with (Marketing, Operations, Communications, IT).
ITC and Farwell Innovations will brief and train this team in the process of financing and service provider registrations and content management. The ITC team will work with the nominated team to fix a timetable for on-boarding, data verification and go-live, promotion activities, etc.
The process can take as little as 6 weeks from start to launch, but usually takes 3 to 4 months if there are many hierarchical financing or business development support organizations that need to be registered and encouraged to update their data (contacts, hyperlinks, facility and services descriptions).
In most countries where the Financing Gateway is operational the national bankers’ association has become a sponsor or key implementation collaborator because of their knowledge of, and contacts with, banks and other registered financing providers.
ITC is ready to assist Host organizations to successfully achieve their goals, in reaching out to collaborators and sponsors to encourage registration, promotion and usage of the platform.
ITC owns the Open Source programme of the platform and its intellectual property.
The initial host country technical support contract runs for at least 12 months after the initial “Go Live”. It can be extended by a host organization or by ITC if its funding permits.
The technical support contract is currently with Farwell Innovations of Nairobi and a copy will be provided to hosts. The contract covers technical briefings for a hosts operating personnel, fixing “bugs”, system upgrades, functionality errors, operational faults and accessibility requirements.
IT technical support for the global platform is provided by the United Nations International Computing Centre in Geneva. This is funded by ITC whilst funding permits.
· The MSME Financing Gateway is a free to use, multilingual and impartial directory of sources of financing, business support organizations and advisers that enterprises can quickly filter, select and use to link to financing options and business development services that match their needs. The platform can be accessed by mobile devices, PCs and Mac’.
· The MSME Financing Gateway is hosted globally by the International Trade Centre (ITC) on United Nations cloud server facilities, and supported in East Africa by the EAC Secretariat, the European Union, country SME development and investment agencies, bank and MFI associations. Each country platform is hosted by a national representative organization that manages, content, graphics, news & events, resources and links.
The platform also provides news and events, notifications of the release of new facilities and services to registered users, hyperlinks to national & regional sources of information, the ITC SME Trade Academy, A Quick Reference Financing Decision Tree, ITC SME Access to financing and SME Trade Financing guides. There is a link to ITCs E-ComConnect public listing of global Shopping Cart and Payments providers for MSMEs engaging in e-commerce.
· Cross-border view: Users registered in one country can find data, view and connect with financing, investment and business development services of another country that participates in the platform.
· Financing and business development services providers will get analytical reports and a direct channel to target clients, who also receive notifications of new facilities, improving client conversion rate.
Documentation requirements of financing or investment providers
All financing providers, financing transactions operators and investors are required to collect a minimum set of basic information on applicants for, or beneficiaries of, financing above Euro/USD 2,500 per year:
Basic documents required for the initial customer identification process (CIP)
What is meant by: “Standard AML/KYC” documents
AML: Anti money laundering
KYC: Know your customer or client
KYB: Know your business (client)
The CIP is the first step in a KYC process and begins when a customer applies for an account or for financing. It is Part 1 of a 3-stage onboarding process.
Step 1: for a sole entrepreneur:
1. Collecting customer name, date of birth and address.
2. Collecting identity documents like passports, driver’s licenses, voter identity cards and even dated selfies for biometric verification.
3. Verifying this information against public databases and other consumer reporting agencies.
Step 1: For an initial enquiry by a small business - Each beneficial owner will need to provide:
· Driver’s license, passport, other government-issued IDs with photo, biometric ID, such as a selfie, retina scan, fingerprints or voice recognition recording.
· Business license / registration documents.
· Business incorporation documents and Minutes of shareholder meetings.
· Proof of business or home business address: Utility invoice, Insurance card for a business, tax I/D card, Current mortgage or lease contract.
· A recent bank or financial transactions provider account statement showing the name of the business and the address indicated on other documentation.
· An introduction letter from a nearest government office recognizing to know you and the intention of either opening an account or applying for loan.
Subsequent steps depend on the amount and duration of the financing envisaged and if any of the people with a beneficially interest in it reside or conduct business in other countries. Banks and other financing providers are also obliged to check to see if any of the parties or owners are under sanction or investigation.
Correct at: 1 September 2022, © Credit Suisse, Zurich, Switzerland
To host the MSME Financing Gateway you need to be an apex body representing MSMEs, financing providers or business development. Your organization should also be experienced in managing an Internet platform and membership registrations and be prepared to allocate two personnel to administer new registrations and queries received into the platform’s dashboard and maintain the contents each day.
For more information or to implement the MSME Financing Gateway in your country please contact:
Ian Sayers, Senior Advisor Access to financing & investment
Simply click on the "Contact us" button at the bottom right of your screen and complete the form. Select the tab "Technical Enquiries" and note the link that does not work properly. Add your details and click on the "Get in touch" button to submit. You will receive a message of confirmation. The link will be removed from the public pages until it is functioning correctly.