Do start-ups go through a pause mode?
Apparently not this home-grown financial technology newbie and industry leader which is spreading its wings over most of SouthEast Asia and beyond.
Call it the Eveready Energizer Bunny of Medium, Small, and Micro- Enterprises.
Acudeen Technologies Inc. is expanding its operations and snagging new markets for its financial products and services since it began operations more than two years ago.
Acudeen has crisscrossed the Asia-Pacific region, making its presence felt as far down South as Australia, Singapore, Myanmar, and now India.
Call it continental reach—from SEA to South Asia—for the Filipino fin-tech start-up whose expansion forays have taken on a mine-boggling, dizzying pace.
Acudeen’s young and visionary head honcho astonished the Indian capital this week with the good news of financial liberation, inclusion, and empowerment of entrepreneurs to grow communities, impact positively on people’s lives, and help hasten economic growth and national development.
ACUDEEN TECHNOLOGIES INC shares the stage with other notable leaders from all industries across Southeast Asia, bringing SMEs, financial inclusion and Fintech at the forefront of the 4th India-ASEAN Expo and Summit.
Acudeen CEO Magellan Fetalino says that "when it comes to access to finance, financial institutions are very liquid, there’s a lot of money to lend, but with years of bad experiences with small and medium enterprises, it became very difficult for banks to trust SMEs. This fact explains why Philippines has the biggest SME credit gap in Southeast Asia.”
Among the 14 Filipino delegates present during this event, Fetalino was the lone representative to address 500 ASEAN leaders and shed light on the true situation of SMEs and financial Inclusion in the Philippines.
In his speech, Fetalino highlighted the “Ako Din” story of Shaira, a 36-year-old businesswoman in the Philippines who is struggling with cashflow crisis, not because her company is not profitable, but was actually because of the broken promises of receivable payments of the giant corporations that her company supplies to.
These broken promises forced SME owners like Shaira into a compromise—applying for bank loans that are optimistically processed 2-4 weeks or using their personal credit cards with 180% annual interest.
Fetalino emphasized ²that “Philippines has the biggest SME credit gap in Southeast Asia, worth over $222B (out of around $500B in SEA). In fact, our credit gap is bigger than Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand combined”.
Shaira’s unjust experience when it comes to collecting their receivables or reaching out to financial institutions is a story shared by many SMEs in the Philippines and this is what Technology Entrepreneurs like Fetalino is trying to solve.
Through his company—Acudeen, an online platform for receivable discounting, has been a lifeline to over 1000 SMEs in the Philippines. And this year Acudeen continues to boost SMEs cashflow and growth, projecting to remedy $100 million worth of cashflow crisis, one invoice at a time.
However, Fetalino admits that in order to achieve true financial inclusion “technology alone cannot drive the change we want… In the Philippines, I formulated a concept called the Golden Triangle of Financial Inclusion. What would drive inclusivity is a combined will of Government, Financial Institutions, and Tech sector. We need all three to collaborate to see a genuine change and impact to the current state of SMEs today.”
Across the globe, public and private decision makers are beginning realize the true value of SMEs in the economy, and are taking actions. As shared by the FinTech CEO, a great example is India. Last November 2018, India’s Central Government required all companies registered with the Companies Act, 2013 (18 of 2013) with a turnover of more than rupees five hundred crore and all Central Public Sector Enterprises, to get onboarded on the Trade Receivables Discounting System platform, making financial institutions more open to accommodate and finance SME receivables.
For the Philippines, that agreement between the government and business may still be kilometers or miles away from reality, and SMEs will continue to struggle with broken promises and trust issues with corporations and financial institution. But they are not alone in their fight for financial liquidity and inclusion, ending his speech, Fetalino shares, “Being an entrepreneur for the past decade, I understand how difficult it is to realise a vision, especially when everybody thinks you’re too crazy to achieve them. At the end of the day, our company, from the name itself, “Ako Din”, which means “Me Too” in English, is driven to help entrepreneurs, to the point that they can say Ako Din, Me Too, I have the capability to make a good life for the people I love.”
Behold God’s glory
and seek His mercy.
Pause and pray, people.