Jessica Ellerm is a thought leader specializing in Small Business and the Gig Economy and is the CEO and Co-Founder of Zuper, a neowealth disruptor in Australia
As governments unleash rapid amounts of COVID-19 stimulus money for SMEs, one thing seems to be consistent between business owners across the world; utter confusion. With policy changing rapidly, small businesses owners are finding it difficult to assess their eligibility for government assistance, not to mention private sector help. All this is framed against a backdrop of shifting lockdown laws and restrictions, and employees working from home. Not a fun time at all.
It’s an equally confusing time for fintech lenders, who are scrambling to get their heads around what companies in their book are most likely to stop making repayments, and what companies they should be lending to going forward. There is no question some businesses are booming right now, but working out what industries are experiencing ‘flash-in-the-pan’ growth verses sustainable long-term growth is like reading tea-leaves.
In the midst of all of this, is a real opportunity for lenders to do something significant for the small business community, and also protect their own book. This would be to value-add by helping SMEs quickly navigate and access the funding support from governments that they are eligible for. This would de risk the client from a lending perspective, plus truly differentiate the lender from its peers.
Government policies are hard to interpret at the best of times, and offering simple online eligibility calculators and application assistance would I’m sure be hugely welcomed by time poor business owners. Many are in a position where they need to rapidly rethink and pivot elements of their business. How can they be expected to do this, while worrying about applying for funding, or reading screeds of government fine print?
It’s far from business as usual, and lenders who want to survive are being handed the perfect opportunity, on a platter, to do something of real value for their client base, so that both can survive the crisis.
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