, Singapore
Dr John Lee Hin Hock, Country Chief Executive Officer & CEO, Maybank Singapore, giving his speech at The YES Forum 2023.

How Maybank SG's YES fuels tech growth of new SMEs

Over 500 business owners discover a groundbreaking e-financing solution that empowers SMEs to thrive in the digital age.

New business owners face a plethora of hurdles before they can kick start their business. These include garnering the necessary engagement or publicity for their products, raising capital, and even the lack of access to the appropriate business managing tools: accounting, digital marketing, and payroll.

Unfortunately, getting the right funds to set up these cornerstones for their business remains a challenge for new entrepreneurs.

“A chief concern is capital sufficiency and funding gap at this nascent stage. Without at least two years of operating track record, it is often difficult for them to secure a bank loan for daily working capital or business expansion; and many would rely on their own savings or private fundraising efforts,” Marc Leong, head of SME Banking at Maybank Singapore, told Asian Banking & Finance.

“We want to address this ‘liquidity’ pain point through our latest e-financing solution that enables loan approvals within minutes, anywhere and at any time,” Leong said.

Taking note of these issues, Maybank Singapore — which serves approximately 20% of all SMEs in Singapore — launched the Young Entrepreneur Scheme (YES) in July 2022. The platform has since connected over 500 business owners, many of whom are millennials, through its curated SME events. Through this, owners were able to connect and exchange insights, as well as scale up their operating capabilities through master classes or short courses.

The networking service is just one of the five main services that YES offers to entrepreneurs. YES also offers online account opening, doing away with long queues and waiting times under the bank’s e-Deposit service.

Businesses who reach six months of operations are eligible for a Maybank Business Credit Card, with a limit of up to S$20,000, to help with monthly expenses such as office supplies and small asset purchases. Once they reach 12 months of operations, they would then be eligible to apply for SME e-Financing, under which businesses can secure loans of up to $150,000 over a five-year repayment tenure.

Maybank Singapore also teamed up with Enterprise SG for SME Start Digital. Under this partnership, businesses can choose up to two digital solutions out of the three digital capability categories: business efficiency, which deals with accounting and payroll; sales generation, which deals with digital marketing; and cybersecurity.
Maybank Singapore will subsidise up to two digital solutions to support SMEs that decide on going digital.

“Maybank’s e-Financing solution’s unique proposition is that SME applicants do not need to submit any operating bank statement or financial documents for credit assessment. We also offer Islamic financing alternatives within our e-Financing platform — a first in the market,” Leong said.

Most recently, Maybank Singapore held its inaugural YES Forum, where Edwin Tong, Singapore’s Minister for Culture, Community and Youth was the guest of honour. The forum’s core objective is for entrepreneurs to gain exclusive insights and learn from successful business owners.

It also aims to help entrepreneurs connect with industry peers and trade associations on key areas such as business agility, fundraising, financing tools and talent management.

“We ensured these were all covered in the Forum’s programme,” Leong said. “We had over 140 participating entrepreneurs, and we are very encouraged by the positive feedback.”

Many attendees said the fireside chat session on achieving sustainable success to be most helpful. “[Many] sought to ask and seek to learn from the panelists on overcoming and addressing current issues such as manpower, re-training and corporate culture. Discussions were robust, candid and productive,” Leong said.

“We were glad that the event met the needs of our attendees, many of whom even enquired on our next YES Forum,” he added.

In the future, Maybank Singapore will continuously enhance existing solutions and introduce new capabilities under the YES programme.

“The YES programme is our commitment to nurturing young entrepreneurial talents, building a strong SME eco-system and promoting an entrepreneurial spirit in Singapore. We can expect more YES events in the coming months following the success of the recent forum,” Leong said.


(Photo credit: Dr John Lee Hin Hock, Country Chief Executive Officer & CEO, Maybank Singapore, giving his speech at The YES Forum 2023)

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