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Creating transparency and accountability throughout the supply chain in the global seafood industry

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Thai Union Group PCL, a global seafood leader committed to innovation and globally responsible behavior, was awarded Best Group CEO Thailand 2019 and Best Group CFO Thailand 2019 in recognition of their dedication and commitment to excellence. Under the leadership of President and CEO, Mr. Thiraphong Chansiri and Group CFO, Mr. Joerg Ayrle, Thai Union has expanded from a business with an annual revenue of approximately 100 million USD to an operation with a revenue of more than 4.1 billion USD.

Mr. Joerg Ayrle, Group CFO, Thai Union Group PCL.

Mr. Joerg Ayrle, Group CFO, Thai Union Group PCL.

Their strategic vision and leadership has played a vital role in the company’s sustainability efforts towards transforming the seafood industry and has implemented several initiatives throughout the organization allowing Thai Union to be responsible and competitive with significant improvements inefficiency. In this exclusive interview, Group CFO, Mr. Joerg Ayrle, discusses the company’s success and their continuing commitment to sustainable solutions and leadership excellence.

Thai Union is a company with humble beginnings. First founded in 1977 as a canned tuna processor, Thai Union now has over 40 years of seafood processing experience and has grown to become one of the world’s leading seafood companies. “By expanding our footprint globally,” says Mr. Ayrle, “we now have a portfolio of market-leading seafood brands across Asia, the US, Europe, and the Middle East. We have production facilities all around the world and an incredibly passionate and dedicated workforce of more than 44,000 people. Since listing on the Stock Exchange of Thailand in 1994, Thai Union has continued to focus on profitable, sustainable growth and a steady performance. “More importantly,” he continues, “we focus on putting the interests of our stakeholders first, and this has been demonstrated through our ability to consistently pay dividends to our shareholders every year, as well as responding to consumer and market demands.

“As a consumer company, we recognize that lifestyles and consumption habits are shifting as consumers demand healthy, sustainable choices – now more than ever. This is why innovation is one of our key strategic pillars and plays an important role in driving business growth and shaping the future of the company as it gives us an uncompromising competitive advantage.”

According to Mr. Ayrle, Thai Union has also launched their Global Innovation Center (GIC), a state-of-the-art research center in central Bangkok to develop new products, maximize the value of co-products and improve their production processes. Beyond tuna oil, their ingredient business is expanding into more specialized marine nutrition products, as well as alternative proteins, which is seeing growing demand among the health-conscious consumers.

In collaboration with Mahidol University and the National Innovation Agency (NIA), Thai Union has co-founded SPACE-F, the first global food-tech incubator and accelerator in Thailand, which has been joined by Thai and international startups aimed to drive innovation in the food- tech industry. Additionally, as part of their continuous investment in innovation, Thai Union has established a Corporate Venture Fund with an initial commitment of 30 million USD for investments in innovative, start-up companies developing breakthrough technologies in food-tech. Their first investment was in Flying Spark, an alternative protein start-up.

Standing by their commitment to innovation and excellence, Thai Union developed SeaChange®, their global sustainability program in 2016, which has become a key pillar of company culture and corporate strategy. “It is a guidepost for all of our decisions and how we operate our businesses,” says Mr. Aryle. “Over the past many years, the seafood industry has faced a lot of criticism around human rights and sustainability. This is why Thai Union launched SeaChange® as a global sustainability program. SeaChange® demonstrates and promotes sustainable practices, from human rights to responsible sourcing, through transparency and greater accountability throughout the supply chain in the global seafood industry.”

As part of SeaChange®, Thai Union launched their Tuna Commitment in December of 2016, which is an initiative to responsibly source their branded tuna from fisheries that are either Marine Stewardship Council(MSC) certified, or engaged in Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs) to move them towards MSC certification. “Our aim,” says Mr. Aryle, “was to achieve a minimum of 75 percent by the end of 2020. We’re proud to say we have already reached this goal, achieving 79 percent at the end of 2019.”

Their commitments to sustainability don’t stop with responsible sourcing,but extend to include ocean pollution and empowering workers’ voices. “On the ocean plastics front, Thai Union joined forces with the Global Ghost Gear Initiative in 2018 to tackle the problem of abandoned, lost, and discarded fishing gear,” says Mr. Aryle. “Regarding safe and legal labor, we have introduced our Vessel Code of Conduct, which is an extension  of the Thai Union Business Ethics and Labor Code of Conduct, built around crew contracts, wages, and health and safety, particularly for our suppliers dealing with workers on fishing boats.”

In order to promote greater levels of accountability and transparency across operations, Thai Union last year introduced a new, global Whistle blowing Platform in partnership with global compliance solutions provider, Navex, for all staff and workers to ensure strict compliance with ethical and legal standards in the workplace.

Thai Union’s on-going work on sustainability issues was recognized by being ranked number one in the world in the Food Products Industry Index in the 2019 Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) for the second consecutive year,with SeaChange® driving the score achieving a 100th percentile ranking for total sustainability score. Thai Union was also included in the FTSE4Good Emerging Index for the fourth consecutive year, and has been recognized with the Best Sustainability Excellence Award at the SET Awards 2019 by the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET).

In 2019, Thai Union was also ranked No. 1 on the inaugural Seafood Stewardship Index, which assessed the contribution of the world’s 30 largest seafood companies to the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). “These recognitions not only highlight our work in sustainability,” notes Mr. Aryle, “but also demonstrates our recognition by leading institutions around the world.”

In addition to their sustainability efforts, Thai Union’s excellence and leadership extends to their local communities as well. “Like any good corporate citizen,” says Mr. Ayrle, “it is important that we pay attention to the communities in which we operate. Thai Union is active across the world on both a local and group level.” The global seafood leader participates in beach clean-ups,sponsors local events to play a role in local culture, provides education to the children of migrant workers, hosts numerous workshops, and conducts community engagement and development programs in local communities. “In Bangkok, we were a proud sponsor of the 21st Bangkok International Festival of Dance and Music and have been a sponsor of the Thailand Volleyball Association for over 20 years, while in Europe we sponsor football teams for those in less privileged communities,” continues Mr. Ayrle. “This is all part of being a good corporate citizen, as well as an active, responsible participant in our communities.”

When discussing future plans for the company, Mr. Aryle states that Thai Union’s vision is to be the world’s most trusted seafood leader, caring for our resources to nurture generations to come. “We also seek to continue to deliver healthy, nutritious and sustainably-sourced products to our customers globally, creating sustainable value for our stakeholders.”

“This,” he notes, “is driven by three key pillars:

“First, strengthening our core business: Thai Union is focused on achieving sustainable, profitable growth, with an emphasis on continued investment in productivity enhancement, and the turnaround or rationalizing of loss-making businesses.

“Second, building new value-enhancing businesses: We are expanding into new, attractive, value-enhancing areas to diversify and shift our portfolio, investing into new and more profitable businesses, focused on growing our PetCare and Feed businesses, and exploring high-value, accretive M&A opportunities and investment in strategic areas.

“Third, leading the industry on sustainability: We are committed to ‘Healthy Living, Healthy Oceans’ and will continue to lead the industry on sustainability. We will expand our SeaChange® sustainability program to fight Climate Change and redouble our efforts to achieve globally-responsible operations and strong corporate governance.”

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr. Aryle also notes that the company’s key focus is cash preservation, capturing opportunities, and managing daily operations, with the health and safety of employees as their absolute top priority.

With the company’s success,excellence, and commitment to leadership in mind, we asked Mr. Aryle what, in his opinion, makes a good leader. “In my view,” he says, “a good leader plays different roles in different situations. A good leader has vision, direction, and forward energy to guide an organization to success. A good leader is caring and compassionate with their teams and with people who need support and coaching. A good leader must be trustworthy and transparent for stakeholders. They must know when to stand firm and when to listen and think to develop their own perspectives. But, most importantly, a good leader has humility, fosters collaboration and teamwork, and brings out the best in people and organizations.”

Interviews

Supporting Growth in Africa

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Supporting Growth in Africa 1
Jules Ngankam Group Chief Executive Officer African Guarantee Fund

Jules Ngankam Group Chief Executive Officer African Guarantee Fund

Despite the internationally recognized importance of SMEs, African small businesses often have difficulties accessing financing for growth and innovation from the formal financial sector. SME financing is often considered by many financial sector players in Africa to be a risky activity as promoters quite more often than not, fail to come up with the collateral levels required to secure bank facilities. Enterprises (SMEs) are widely recognized as big drivers of economic growth, innovation, regional development and job creation. A strong and vibrant SME sector provides a strong foundation to increase standards of living and to reduce poverty. African Guarantee Fund is a non-bank financial institution whose objective is to promote economic development, increase employment and reduce poverty in Africa by providing financial institutions with guarantee products and capacity development assistance specifically intended to support SMEs in Africa. Jules Ngankam is Group Chief Executive Officer of African Guarantee Fund (AGF), and recently he spoke to Global Banking & Finance Review about today’s business challenges in Sub Saharan Africa, and the financial implications combatting the Coronavirus pandemic. Jules has over 15 years of experience in banking and financial services with leading financial institutions. He joined African Guarantee Fund in 201 3 as the Chief Financial Officer after which he served as Deputy CEO from April 2017 and was thereafter appointed Group Chief Executive Officer in September 2020.

  1. What conditions led to the creation of African Guarantee Fund?

The Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) sector contributes significantly to developing African economies, but it still has a huge unexploited capacity for growth. SMEs make up approximately 80% of Africa’s private sector firms, with 50% being small- scale and 30% being medium-sized. SMEs contribute over 50% of new jobs in Sub-Saharan Africa however, only approximately 20% to the GDP. This is compared to 40-60% of GDP in the EU and the US and even higher rates in growing Asian economies.

For the SME to really play their role of the engine of growth, among other barriers, access to finance remains the strongest obstacle. According to analysts the SME financing gap in the continent is estimated at USD 300 billion.

The acknowledged reticence of the banking system in financing SMEs, especially as regards to the investment needed for development for this class of businesses, is mainly explained by:

  • Low Banks’ long-term deposits; The inability of the SMEs to provide
  • acceptable guarantees and collateral; Inadequate equity for SMEs;
  • SMEs’ poor quality of management.

The African Guarantee Fund for Small and Medium- sized Enterprises (AGF) was established in 201 2 to address the mismatch in the supply and demand of SME financing in Africa.

The aim of AGF is to reduce the risks assumed by the financial sector by sharing these risks through the provision of financial guarantees that mitigate the inability of SMEs to provide acceptable collateral.Supporting Growth in Africa 2

AGF also offers capacity development to financial institutions to improve SMEs’ financial product offerings, by helping banks to better address working capital and long-term financing needs of SMEs; and increasing Banks’ capacity to appraise SMEs by providing technical assistance and strategy to further develop their business.

AGF is a truly public-private partnership involving donors, development institutions, financial institutions and private investors joining forces to support African SMEs.

  1. Can you tell us about the guarantees AGF offer to address the range of financing needs?

AGF offers four main types of guarantee products:

Loan Individual Guarantees

Loan Portfolio Guarantees

Bank Fund Raising Guarantees

Equity Guarantees

The Loan Individual Guarantee guarantees a single loan made by a bank to a single Borrower whose identity is known. The Loan Portfolio Guarantee guarantees a portfolio of loans made by a bank to a borrower segment for which the qualifying criteria have been defined but the individual borrowers are not known at the time of the guarantee agreement. The guaranteed party is not required to get approval of AGF prior the placement of each loan under the guarantee.

The Bank Fund Raising Guarantee guarantees bonds issued by a bank to investors for the purpose of raising long-term resources to finance SMEs.

The Equity Guarantee is issued to cover equity investments in SMEs.

  1. What is the scope to use guarantees?

The most important criteria of AGF’s guarantee is that the end beneficiary has to be an SME.

  1. How does African Guarantee Fund enable banks in Africa to execute their SME strategy?

In Africa, the main source of financing for SMEs is the banking sector. Despite Banks’ increasing interest to provide services to SMEs, they face multiple challenges mainly due to issues of assessing and managing risks. Furthermore, the resources of banks and financial institutions are mostly short-term, and it is therefore difficult for the banking system to easily use their current excess of liquidity to finance the needs of SMEs. Finally, the inability of SMEs to provide acceptable collateral to reduce the lending risks associated to them, the inadequacy of their capital structure and sometimes the poor quality of their management increase the reluctance of the banks to fully support their activities.

AGF products assist financial institutions to scale up their SME lending activities in situation where SMEs are unable to meet collateral requirements; Improves the solvency (regulatory capital) ratios of banks and thus enables them to have a better leverage on their capital; Addresses regulatory requirements of banks’ limited use of short-term resources to finance medium and long-term SME needs; Allows banks to mobilize medium and long-term resources at very competitive price.

  1. How is the AGF opening up financial opportunities and supporting the growth of SME customers?

The challenges SMEs face in Africa are within five key areas:

Access to finance

Infrastructure

Access to markets

Human resources

Legal environment and corruption

Amongst these challenges, the biggest one is that of accessing finance.

The SME financing gap is brought about by the following gaps:

Information gap: SMEs lack historical data to enable them to adequately assess their risks due to the fact that most of them do not practice proper book-keeping.

Tenor gap: Banks have short-term resources while the SMEs need more of long-term resources to grow.

Collateral gap: Banks have tough collateral requirements.

Product gap: Bank products are sometimes not adapted to SMEs’ business cycles.

Skills gap: SMEs are unable to attract or afford required talent.

Perception gap: This is the gap between the perceived risk and the real risk.

AGF’s guarantee products and capacity development assistance are designed to tackle the financing challenge by being the missing link between the lending institutions and the SMEs.

  1. What improvements have you brought about in the SME sector since you began operations?

Since AGF began operations, the company has delivered in:

Improving lives in Africa

AGF has supported more than 25,000 SMEs.

SMEs that benefited from AG F guarantees have generated an additional revenue of USO 4 Billion. Approximately 50% of supported SMEs are located in rural areas.

20 Million people were able to access clean energy thanks to SMEs supported by AGF guarantees.

Fostering Jobs Creation

130,000 Additional jobs created

Fighting Climate Change

Cutting 3.8 million tons of C02 equivalent Greenhouse Gas (GHG) 57,005 KW Cleaner generation capacity installed

101 Partner Financial Institutions and 291 SMEs Trained

Promoting Gender Equality

USD 522 million Loans granted to 6,000+ women-led SMEs

328 women-led SMEs Trained

Contributing to Africa’s Competitiveness USO 780 million loans granted to 3,400+ SMEs in the Energy, Infrastructure and Manufacturing Sectors

Contributing towards Food Security

USD 188 million loans granted to 2, 100+ SMEs in the Agriculture Sector.

Partnering for Poverty Reduction

USD 2.5 billion private capital made available in 40 Countries

  1. What are your plans to increase financing to agricultural and renewable energy SMEs in Africa?

In 2015, AGF with support from the Nordic Development Fund, launched the Green Guarantee Facility (GGF) to ease access to finance for SMEs to invest in climate and green growth-oriented economy.

The Green Guarantee Facility brings direct benefits in terms of climate change mitigation and adaptation as well as sustainable employment, poverty reduction, and gender- inclusive financing opportunities.

From the banking sector point of view, green finance is a new sector, of which SME lenders are not very familiar. Besides, SMEs are also not well versed with knowledge and skills to design and manage climate-friendly projects, let alone access to green funding. There exists significant knowledge and capacity gaps in green finance, which the GGF technical assistance addresses.

To-date, AGF in partnership with the Nordic Development Fund and the International Trade Centre has hosted five Green Finance Conferences and subsequent trainings in Zambia, Kenya,

Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal.

  1. In November, Fitch Rating confirmed the African Guarantee Fund for Small and Medium- sized Enterprises Ltd’s (AGF) Insurer Financial Strength (IFS) Rating at ‘AA-” (Very Strong), what does this rating mean for the company?

The biggest asset of a guarantee fund is its credibility. The main criteria defining AGF’s credibility is its rating. The rating brings a very strong comfort to our partner financial institutions when assessing AGF’s capacity to assist them in improving their profitability, liquidity and solvency in order to meet the expectations of their shareholders and the requirements of the regulators.

AGF’s rating brings huge benefits to our partner financial institutions:

It provides a higher capital relief to banks as it reduces the required amount of loan provisions.

Allows banks to raise capital at a better cost;

Increases the asset quality of banks’ loan portfolio.

Improves the banks’ Risk Weighted Assets (RWA)

  1. Has AGF had to adapt operations as a result of COVID-19? What are some ways AGF is responding and assisting businesses and individuals during this critical time?

COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect African SMEs and has deteriorated their creditworthiness.

As a consequence, the reluctance of financial institutions to finance SMEs has increased.

It is crucial to provide external stimulus to financial institutions so that they can continue to support SMEs in this unprecedented crisis.

AGF launched a COVID- 19 product that aims to:

Reduce the uncertainties faced by financial institutions in Africa as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic.

Provide more comfort to financial institutions to restructure facilities that become non- performing because of COVID-19.

Provide commercial stimulus to the financial sector with the objective of mitigating the deterioration of SMEs ‘ perceived risk.

Provide technical assistance to financial institutions to enhance their risk assessment approaches to better analyze the impact of the pandemic and reduce the SMEs’ risk perception gap.

  1. In your opinion, what role should financial institutions take to support the social economic development in Africa?

Financial institutions need to increase their support to SMEs by increasing SME lending and designing products that are better adapted to SMEs’ needs.

  1. Are you launching any new products and where do you see AGF in 5 years?

We are constantly improving our product offering to better serve SMEs and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Our new products mostly follow a thematic approach to close financing gaps in climate finance, women finance, agribusiness, etc.

In 5 years, we see AGF covering all countries in Africa, dealing with most of African banks and managing a guarantee portfolio of USO 5 billion.

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Interviews

seedtag’s Co-CEOs discuss their most recent acquisition success

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seedtag's Co-CEOs discuss their most recent acquisition success 3

By Albert Nieto, Co-CEO of seedtag & Jorge Poyatos, Co-CEO of seedtag

Q: What does the acquisition of Recognified mean for seedtag?

The acquisition of Recognified is a highly strategic move for seedtag as Recognified is the contextual advertising leader in Germany. It has greatly impacted our business, specifically in three different ways. Firstly, it has consolidated our European leadership which has allowed us to expand our contextual solutions to Germany, the second-largest European market in advertising spend. Secondly, it has reinforced our contextual AI (Artificial Intelligence) technology, strengthening our computer vision capabilities. Last but not least, it now means we can push our ambitions even further to consolidate more companies under seedtag’s umbrella, embedding us as a global leader in contextual advertising.

Q: How will this expand seedtag’s services and technologies?

In terms of services, seedtag offers several contextual solutions, which are completely integrated into the content. We are currently expanding our options so that our clients can move from delivering contextual advertisements in-image and in-video, and also in-article and in-screen. The key is to allow our proprietary contextual AI to optimise among a different set of placements, depending on which is going to be a more effective way of respectfully catching the attention of users.

In terms of technology, our contextual AI has incorporated the strong computer vision capabilities of the technology built by Recognified. The combination of computer vision and Natural Language Processing algorithms allows our technology to be extremely precise when categorizing online content and determining its brand safety, which is absolutely critical for our clients.

Q: What is contextual advertising and why it’s so important in modern marketing?

Contextual advertising is a form of targeted advertising in which the content of an advertisement is in direct correlation to the content of the website page the user is viewing. We have applied AI to our digital advertising to develop our most advanced contextual analysis technology. Today, our algorithm has been learning for more than seven years, enabling us to offer the most powerful contextual AI on the market. Furthermore, we offer advertisers an effective alternative to the use of cookies by targeting users based on their real-time interests.

More and more players are positioning themselves in this sector to meet the demand of internet users, authorities and advertisers, so contextual advertising represents a growing share of the market worldwide.

Q: What’s the next step for seedtag? Will seedtag continue its international expansion?

Seedtag has a lot of growth opportunities ahead. Contextual advertising will keep developing in the coming years and we must be sure that we can offer the best product and service to our clients to capitalise on this growth. Organic growth is our number one priority.

Today we are leaders in Europe and Latin America, but our ambition has been to be global since day one. We will definitely continue to analyze both organic and inorganic opportunities to continue our international expansion, mainly to the United States.

Q: How do you see the advertising market, regardless of your technology, in 5 to 10 years?

It’s not easy to predict how such an innovative sector like advertising and the technology around it will look like in 10 years. However, there are some clear trends that we believe we will see over the next few years.

Media consumption across the globe is increasing across many digital platforms and this will only keep growing. The more time we spend online, the bigger the share of investment for digital advertising there will be.

Relevancy and attention will become the true currency in advertising. Only the brands and solutions that will be able to respectfully catch the attention of users and be relevant to them will survive in the long run.

We also foresee an increase in market duplicity. On the one hand, we will have the ‘walled garden’ platforms led by Google, Facebook, and sooner than later Amazon as key players. Alternatively, we will have an open internet that will be very relevant in terms of time spent but will have higher challenges in terms of addressability. Seedtag is moving towards being one of the key players in the open internet to help brands win the attention battle in a privacy-first world.

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Interviews

Bank CenterCredit – the best bank for business in Kazakhstan

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Bank CenterCredit is recognized as the best bank in Kazakhstan for work with small and medium-sized businesses according to the results of research by the international rating publication GLOBAL BANKING & FINANCE REVIEW. To answer how the financial institution managed to earn this award and establish itself as the best in the market for SMEs, we interviewed the Chairman of the Bank`s Management Board, Galim Khussainov.

Galim Khussainov, Chairman of the Management Board, Bank CenterCredit

Galim Khussainov, Chairman of the Management Board, Bank CenterCredit

Galim Abilzhanovich, the title of the best bank for SMEs speaks of a serious tilt of the Bank towards entrepreneurship, is BCC a bank for business?

Not really. Bank CenterCredit is a universal financial institution, and a significant part of its portfolio is devoted to retail. But we have traditionally strong and reliable relations with business. If a businessman comes to our service, we always have something to offer him. Starting from the opening of an account, we carefully guide the entrepreneur throughout his time at the BCC. The accumulated experience and rich product line allow us to make his business and cooperation with the Bank comfortable and profitable as we are always ready to support you with practically zero service cost, inexpensive loans and high deposit rates. Also, I would not divide our bank like a pie, as many banking divisions are investing in the success of our SME clients, which cannot be listed in the interview.

What do clients look for when choosing a particular financial institution?

Every year people are becoming more financially literate. You can get information about the bank by opening just a few websites. It is enough to have the Internet and some free time. All key indicators are available in open sources. It is also easy to compare service and product line fees. Well, no one has disregarded the opinion of colleagues and friends who already have experience of cooperation with one or another financial institution, often their opinion is key, because these people have already experienced the quality of services of our bank. There is also advertising and marketing, and potential customers should see high-quality and conscientious bank advertising, where certain services and products are presented interestingly. Another important factor is the amount of time that the bank has been on the market, the ratings of independent agencies and the compliance with the Regulator’s standards. Our Bank is already 32 years old, we have successfully survived several global financial crises, and we continue to work successfully despite the slowdown in business activity associated with the Covid-19 pandemic. This is thanks to a balanced approach, a somewhat conservative policy in terms of risks, as well as with the appropriate indicators, including the NPL.

Based on your words, it becomes clear why Bank CenterCredit was recognized as the best bank for SMEs in 2020. What else, besides the above, was offered to business clients last year?

First of all, we continued to work in the same way that has worked previously, while trying to improve and speed up the existing processes as much as possible. Plus, under strict quarantine conditions, we considered all incoming applications from financially impacted applicants and provided deferrals for payments to everyone whose business was affected by the pandemic. During this time, Bank CenterCredit also continued to actively lend to SMEs, which helped a lot of organizations to survive. Despite the decline in business activity, we continued to develop new services and products with an pivot to online service. Thanks to the effective Internet banking and the multifunctional mobile application StarBusiness, customers performed transactions without visiting the Bank’s branches. In terms of new products, it has been a record-breaking year. If I may, I will tell you about them in the order they are listed:

Let’s start with the “Number”:

Online opening of a current account for business clients – now there is no need to visit a Bank branch to open an account.

Online opening of deposits is also a very useful service, both in isolation and in everyday life.

Online issuance of guarantees within the limits through the Internet banking system is an indispensable tool for entrepreneurs participating in tenders.

Online opening of a blank limit for issuing tender guarantees through the Internet banking system is also a very useful and relevant product, when it is possible to make payments even without funds on the account.

“Growing Business” loan for legal entities and individual entrepreneurs is a very convenient and profitable loan product for small business.

The program of portfolio subsidies and guarantees – for lending to small entities, including micro-entrepreneurship within the framework of the State Program for Support and Development of Business “Business Road Map – 2025”.

We are also long-term partners with foreign financial institutions such as the Asian Development Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Within the framework of cooperation with the EBRD, in 2020 tranches were carried out under the SME support program, as well as another large-scale project – “Women in Business”. This one-of-a-kind program was created specifically to support women entrepreneurs.

An agreement on unfunded risk participation was signed between BCC and the EBRD, and not so long ago the financing of the first project in this direction was carried out.

Given the difficult situation in the economy sector, does the Kazakh government somehow help domestic business?

Of course, the state provides all-round support to entrepreneurs, and we, for our part, fully support the anti-crisis measures of the country’s government, putting the needs of the SME sector at the forefront. From the very beginning, Bank CenterCredit actively participates in almost all government programs implemented by DAMU Entrepreneurship Development Fund JSC, regularly receiving awards from this organization. Indeed, in cooperation with this fund, a huge number of projects in various sectors of the economy have been financed. At the moment we can offer business people loans at a minimum rate of 6% per annum. The loan is issued for investment purposes – up to 20 million tenge, and for replenishment of working capital – up to 5 million tenge. A highly demanded product.

What plans does the Bank set for itself for 2021?

We will move in accordance with the strategy approved by the Board, which, as we see, is bearing its fruit. We very much hope that the epidemic will decline and economic activity will increase significantly. Businesses will start operating at full capacity, people will start traveling, and we need to be prepared to offer them the most convenient services and products for every situation. We are planning an even more serious pivot towards online services, because digital products are truly products of the future.

Nonetheless, we will not forget about those clients who are more accustomed to classical banking services in the offices of the BCC. Now we have branches in absolutely all regions of the country, but the targeted opening of new and modernization of existing branches will continue. It is important for us to be closer to people. Our task is not only to follow trends, but also to create them.

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The market report envelopes an all-in information of the global Metal Stamping market and the nature of the market growth over the foreseeable...

Rheology Modifiers Market 2021 Segmentation and Analysis by Recent Trends, consumption by Regional data, Development, Investigation, Growth by to 2026 16 Rheology Modifiers Market 2021 Segmentation and Analysis by Recent Trends, consumption by Regional data, Development, Investigation, Growth by to 2026 17
Research Reports58 mins ago

Rheology Modifiers Market 2021 Segmentation and Analysis by Recent Trends, consumption by Regional data, Development, Investigation, Growth by to 2026

The market report envelopes an all-in information of the global Rheology Modifiers market and the nature of the market growth over the...

Fine Hydrate Market | Present Scenario, Key Vendors, Industry Share, and Growth Forecast up to 2026 | Nabaltec AG, Huber Engineered Materials, Hindalco Industries Limited 18 Fine Hydrate Market | Present Scenario, Key Vendors, Industry Share, and Growth Forecast up to 2026 | Nabaltec AG, Huber Engineered Materials, Hindalco Industries Limited 19
Research Reports59 mins ago

Fine Hydrate Market | Present Scenario, Key Vendors, Industry Share, and Growth Forecast up to 2026 | Nabaltec AG, Huber Engineered Materials, Hindalco Industries Limited

Future Market Insights in this report on the fine hydrate market has drawn an in-depth picture of the global market....

Ion Exchange Resins Market 2021 | Latest Trends, Demand, Growth, Opportunities & Outlook Till 2026 | Top Key Players: The Dow Chemical Company, Lanxess Ag, Purolite Corporation 20 Ion Exchange Resins Market 2021 | Latest Trends, Demand, Growth, Opportunities & Outlook Till 2026 | Top Key Players: The Dow Chemical Company, Lanxess Ag, Purolite Corporation 21
Research Reports59 mins ago

Ion Exchange Resins Market 2021 | Latest Trends, Demand, Growth, Opportunities & Outlook Till 2026 | Top Key Players: The Dow Chemical Company, Lanxess Ag, Purolite Corporation

An in-depth analysis of the current ion exchange resins market along with an effective evaluation of the future avenues of...

Rough Terrain Cranes Market Outlook 2016-2026| Global Growth Analysis and Forecast Report with Key Players – Liebherr Group, Terex Corporation, Tadano Ltd. 22 Rough Terrain Cranes Market Outlook 2016-2026| Global Growth Analysis and Forecast Report with Key Players – Liebherr Group, Terex Corporation, Tadano Ltd. 23
Research Reports1 hour ago

Rough Terrain Cranes Market Outlook 2016-2026| Global Growth Analysis and Forecast Report with Key Players – Liebherr Group, Terex Corporation, Tadano Ltd.

Future Market Insights presents a comprehensive analysis of the Middle East and Africa rough terrain cranes market in its new...

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