Solv Kenya Launches MSME Marketplace with Kes 10bn Annual Credit Issuance Plan   

Solv Kenya, a full-stack Business-to-Business (B2B) digital platform owned by Standard Chartered’s innovation, fintech investment and ventures arm, SC Ventures, has launched its commercial operations in Kenya.   

Through an open and inclusive trade ecosystem along the MSME value chain, this platform will aggregate various services to transform the profitability, growth, and operational efficiency of Micro, Small, and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs). 

The versatile and user-friendly platform is accessible through mobile phones and web-based applications. This enables all businesses to connect with multiple stakeholders in a trusted environment while accessing competitive credit, wider markets, and simplified business support solutions. 

Following a successful rollout to India’s 65 million MSMEs through an e-commerce platform since last year, Solv is making its debut in Africa. Solv Kenya’s priority focus is on supply chain financing by facilitating connections and negotiations between verified MSMEs and financial institutions for affordable credit under favourable conditions and pricing.  

The platform aims to provide access to financing to over 100,000 Kenyan MSMEs issuing over Kes 10 billion annually in working capital financing. During its three-month pilot, Solv Kenya has provided Sh150 million loans to the micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) registered on the platform, through the recommendations by their suppliers, off its pre-approved credit line of Kes1billion.  

Sheila Kimani, Solv Kenya’s CEO said: “We are very excited to go to market in a much bigger way now following a successful pilot of our initial product, Supply Chain Financing, which has seen over 3,800 MSMEs and more than 10 multinational companies participating and engaging on the platform in ways that have altered the course of MSME business in Kenya. We are looking at signing up 10,000 businesses by the end of this year.” 

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The platform has signed pacts with several corporates including BAT, Diageo, Procter and Gamble, Lafarge, Nestle and Nokia. The financiers include Faulu Bank, Gulf African Bank, Standard Chartered Bank Kenya, Asante MFI, and Zanifu MFI – with more partners from different sectors in the pipeline.   

Catherine Muchai, General Manager of Outlook Index, a beverage distributor participating in the platform, said: “Since enrolling on the SOLV platform, my customers are now able to buy more stock using the working capital solution from Solv. I love the convenience and the choices my customers now have.  Solv has already had a huge impact on our business with just this first solution – I look forward to what else they have in store for me and my business in the months to come.” 

Supply Chain Financing is essentially the first of several products that are planned for release to the market in order to promote MSMEs in Kenya in addition to giving them control, convenience, speed, and access to more financial and business solutions. 

Jiten Arora, Member, SC Ventures said: “MSMEs continue to be the most underserved industry segment across the globe despite their significant role and sizeable contribution to any economy. We set up Solv in India in 2020 to address Indian MSMEs’ key challenges by making access to commerce and financing a reality and soon became a trusted growth partner to MSMEs across the country. Now, in just under two years, we’re set to do the same for Kenya.” 

First launched in India in December 2020 with plans to expand globally, Solv Kenya marks the company’s first step towards global expansion. In June this year, Solv raised US$40 million in Series A funding led by marquee investor, SBI Holdings, with participation from SC Ventures, to propel the company’s global expansion plans, building on the success of Solv’s strong performance in India. 

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Solv has set its sight on further global expansion to 300+ cities in India, Africa, and Southeast Asia. 

With over 10 million MSMEs that exist as either formal or informal businesses, the Kenyan MSME sector employs more than 85 per cent of the Kenyan population. It contributes close to 30 per cent of the country’s GDP. 

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Odipo Riaga
Managing Editor at KachTech Media
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