Branch MFB, A Kenya-based neo-bank and Solv Kenya, a full-stack B2B marketplace for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME), have entered into a strategic partnership to extend loans, business development support and market linkages to Kenya’s MSMEs.
The partnership aims to unlock new growth potential for MSMEs by bridging the credit gap, providing financial guidance and accelerating business linkages for entrepreneurs across the country.
Under the arrangement, Branch MFB will provide loans and working capital of up to Kshss 1 million for MSMEs on Solv Kenya’s platform, facilitating their cash flow and stock financing from suppliers and distributors.
(TOP: L-R – Branch MFB East Africa MD, Rose Muturi; African Lead SC ventures and CEO SOLV Kenya Dan Karuga; together with co-founder and CEO, Branch International Matt Flannery, during the partnership announcement event engaging with the audience at Movenpick Hotel, Nairobi).
Speaking during the partnership announcement, Branch East Africa MD Rose Muturi said seamless access to digital financial services will help address liquidity challenges for MSMEs.
This partnership, she said, goes beyond simply providing instant digital loans to enterprises. It is about empowering MSMEs with market linkages and support to build sustainable businesses and contribute to Kenya’s economic growth.
“Access to credit facilities and business support is key to unlocking the full potential of our MSMEs. The partnership is a significant step forward in achieving this goal. By combining our expertise, we will provide Kenyan entrepreneurs with the comprehensive support they need to scale their businesses and contribute to a more vibrant Kenyan economy,” Ms. Muturi said.
Solv Kenya has a diversified portfolio on its platform, cutting across various supply chains ranging from food, consumer goods, construction, alcoholic beverages, animal feeds, electronics, airline and travel. MSMEs participating in the enrolled value chains are able to obtain stock financing from Branch MFB through the Solv digital platform.
African Lead SC Ventures and Solv Kenya CEO Dan Karuga said the partnership enables them to de-risk lending to MSMEs while opening them up to a diversified portfolio across various supply chains.
“This partnership is a perfect alignment of our technological expertise and a testament to the power of collaboration in driving innovation and growth in Africa’s digital economy. We are confident we will unlock new capital streams for SMEs, enabling them to scale efficiently. Together, we aim to reach out to more MSMEs and offer them convenient and affordable credit solutions that suit their needs,” Karuga said.
MSMEs are important contributors to economic growth in Kenya, constituting 98% of all business entities in the country. The sector remains highly informal, as only 20% of the over 7.4 million MSMEs operate as licensed entities. The partnership will provide significant embedded financing solutions for these MSMEs that are often excluded from the formal economy.
“At Branch, we remain committed to cooperating with other industry players to offer financial solutions. Our partnership with Solv Kenya creates a significant embedded financing solution for MSMEs,” Branch International CEO Matt Flannery said.
The sector provides enormous opportunities for socio-economic transformation, absorbing low-skill and economically excluded individuals, such as women, persons with disabilities, and those with low levels of education.
Founded in 2015 in Kenya, Branch is a leading digital finance app providing access to instant loans and other digital banking products across Africa and Asia. Branch serves customers in Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria and India, with offices in Nairobi, Lagos, Bangalore, Mumbai and Silicon Valley. It’s mission is to provide world-class financial services for the mobile generation. Branch pioneered the use of artificial intelligence to assess credit risk in markets with poor credit bureau infrastructure. Branch continues to push technology to make financial services more efficient and scalable – and pass savings onto customers. Branch is backed by major global investors, ranging from Andreessen Horowitz (who backed Facebook, Twitter and other global platforms early on) to Visa (who understands how to build a globally trusted financial service) to the IFC (the private sector investment arm of the World Bank). Branch is founded and led by the founders of Kiva.org, a global NGO that’s raised over $1 billion of 0% interest capital for financial inclusion in 80 countries.
In March 2022, after the merger and acquisition of Century Microfinance Bank, we became Branch MFB – Branch Microfinance Bank. Suffice it to say that this partnership is part of Branch International’s strategy to become a pan-African digital bank.
The Branch app is available on Android devices and can be downloaded from the Google Play Store.
Solv Kenya is a full-stack B2B marketplace for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Kenya. It is powered by the Standard Chartered Group and facilitates commerce in a trusted environment while also providing access to finance and business services for small businesses. The platform aims to accelerate business growth for SMEs and MSMEs in Kenya.