Daily Markup #806: First Circle signs deal with Department of Trade & Industry to help Filipino SMEs grow and more from this week

Photo credit: First Circle

Credit where due

  • The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) of the Philippines and 500-backed fintech company First Circle renewed their partnership to foster competitiveness and growth in the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) sector for the next 3 years.
  • In the last 5 years, First Circle said they have dispersed over US$153M to more than 3,450 businesses. Half of these were to businesses reeling from the impact of the pandemic.
  • Using First Circle’s proprietary underwriting processes, SMEs can get up to US$360K in financing for as low as 0.99% monthly interest, even those that have been opened for less than a year, as long as they can show annual business revenue of at least US$ 90K, are Filipino residents, and a registered business. 
  • “Evaluating SMEs based on their operational age rather than merit will only push them to borrow from predatory lenders,” says First Circle Head of Acquisitions Alan Smyth.
  • This partnership is timely, with the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement coming into effect in June 2023. The RCEP is a landmark agreement among 15 Asia-Pacific countries, offering local SMEs unprecedented access to a combined market of 2.3 billion consumers by reducing tariffs and trade barriers.
  • In addition to financial resources, First Circle will also provide financial literacy and business knowledge to SMEs. 
  • Read the full release here.

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