Payments technology firm Mastercard is collaborating with Meta to support the digitization and growth of SMEs across the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region.
The two companies are organizing a training webinar that will provide SMEs insights from industry experts, and a masterclass on how to manage uncertainty from renowned author and academic Nathan Furr, Associate Professor of Strategy at INSEAD. The event takes place on Wednesday, 8 December at 12.00 CAT.
This comes as the world is moving at a faster pace with globalization being fuelled by technology which is enabling companies to scale beyond borders at a pace of months as opposed to years previously.
Access to credit, data, training and digital tools are among the key challenges for SMEs, further compounded by infrastructure limitations and power supply interruptions in some MEA markets. As research increasingly points to offering choice, SMEs must adapt to a growing hybrid environment with a demand for ecommerce and new payment options.
Commenting, Derya Matras, Vice President, Middle East, Africa & Turkey, Meta said, “The challenges that small and medium businesses continue to experience as a result of COVID-19 are significant, and we remain firmly committed to supporting them in both recovering and, in due time, thriving.”
“We have an important role to play, providing the necessary digital skills for startups and small businesses to survive, recover and deliver results online and offline. We are continuing those training efforts in partnership with Mastercard, helping further boost a burgeoning start-up ecosystem to positively impact socio-economic growth across the region,” added Matas.
Although challenges related to the pandemic remain, small businesses in the Middle East & Africa are reclaiming confidence, says Mastercard. The recent 2021 Mastercard MEA SME Confidence Index found 74% of SMEs in the region are optimistic about future growth, guided by the potential for digitalization, better data, access to credit and upskilling.
“Small businesses form the backbone of local communities, driving growth of the global economy. The SME segment was highly impacted during the pandemic due to the lack of scale and access to capital. This is a critical time for entrepreneurs and small business owners to have that access to the right resources, insights, tools and solutions to recover from the impact of the pandemic and thrive. Our partnership with Meta will help support SME growth in the region,” commented Amnah Ajmal, Executive Vice President, Market Development, Middle East and Africa, Mastercard.
Through technology services, cyber assessments, insights, grants, digital training, mentoring platforms and knowledge initiatives, Mastercard will contribute $250 million over five years to support small businesses’ financial security globally.
As part of its goal to build a more sustainable and inclusive world, Mastercard has committed to connect 50 million small businesses, including 25 million women entrepreneurs globally, to the digital economy by 2025.