This past November, the SME Finance Forum launched its global member network in a ceremony hosted by Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, Special Advocate for the Secretary General of the UN for Inclusive Finance for Development, and Cevdet Yılmaz, the Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey.

Established by the G-20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI) and managed by IFC, the SME Finance Forum brings together private and public sector players to share knowledge, spur innovation, and provide a new voice in policy discourse. With the ultimate goal of the Forum being to close the SME finance gap, estimated at over $2 trillion worldwide, the Forum’s founding members include banks, technology ‘disruptors’ like Strands, regulators and development finance institutions committed to accelerating financing for small businesses.

“Our founding members are diverse in terms of the type of organization as well as their size and regional focus,” said SME Finance Forum CEO, Matthew Gamser. However, they have one thing in common – they are all helping small businesses grow.

“We are excited to welcome Strands as a founding member of the SME Finance Forum,” remarked Mr. Gamser. “Strands is partnering with banks to provide business and financial management solutions for small firms. These tools not only help strengthen SMEs, but also provide banks with valuable insights about how to serve these clients better,” he noted.

As one of the founding members, Strands was present at the network launch, which took place during a 2-day conference hosted by the SME Finance Forum and CapitalPlus Exchange. The meeting brought private and public sector participants together to discuss innovative partnerships that can accelerate small business finance. The event took place alongside the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Antalya, Turkey and drew over 200 global players from the private and public sector, joined by G20 representatives, FinTech leaders and other policymakers.

SME Finance Forum 2015

“We are incredibly proud and honored to have taken part in such a milestone event for the SME finance world,” remarked Cesar Richardson, VP of Sales and Operations (Americas) representing Strands at the Forum. “We are excited to continue the conversations that were started in Antalya and take the next steps forward in the months ahead.” During the afternoon session on November 15th, Cesar presented Strands BFM, our business financial management solution that has been specifically designed to improve the financial management capacity and overall operational effectiveness of SMEs.

The event was perhaps best summed up by Queen Maxima, who is also Honorary Patron of the G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion: “The timing has never been better to finally reduce inequities in the credit market and close the credit gap,” she said. “Together, policymakers, fintechs, and financial institutions of all shapes and sizes, can create the conditions necessary for the market to offer affordable and convenient financial services for small businesses.”

To learn more about the SME Finance Forum and see the full Member list, visit