The 2023 Global SME Finance Award winners were announced during the Global SME Finance Forum 2023 in Mumbai, India. Across all categories, a record 165 applications were submitted from 120 different institutions. 30 applications were identified by an independent, expert panel of 85 judges as winners. The award ceremony was sponsored by the State Bank of India.
To learn who the winners are, please visit https://www.smefinanceforum.org/awards-2023
The Global SME Finance Awards 2023 recognize financial institutions and fintech companies for their outstanding achievements in delivering exceptional products and services to their SME clients. Organized by the SME Finance Forum and endorsed by the G20’s Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI), the Global SME Finance Awards provide an opportunity for institutions to showcase and share their good practices and knowledge.
Launched in 2018 and now in its sixth year, the Global SME Finance Awards capture the effective and successful practices of financiers, honoring the innovative products and services for SME clients that have achieved impressive results in expanding finance and services to SMEs and the institutions that undertake those efforts. This year, there were four award categories: 1) SME Financier of the Year, which was broken down by region, 2) Product Innovation of the Year, 3) Best Financier for Women Entrepreneurs and 4) Sustainable Bond of the Year, which was broken down into Green, Social and Sustainability Bonds of the year.
This year’s competition was the second in partnership with the IFC’s Green Bond Technical Assistance Program (GB-TAP), awarding meritorious institutions with the distinction of Sustainable Bond of the Year. The winning entries represent the growing number of financial institutions that recognize that Green, Social and Sustainability Bonds have a crucial role to play in tackling the ongoing climate crisis, helping financial institutions achieve their Sustainable Development Goals.
For the third year in a row, entries from IDA and fragile and conflict affected situations were given additional consideration for working in some of the most difficult operating environments, both highlighting the needs and challenges of serving SMEs in these areas and illustrating what is possible despite the complexities faced.
Matthew Gamser, CEO of the SME Finance Forum said, “Every year sees more applications from more countries, and this year was our biggest increase ever. The competition also gets tougher every year. All who've been recognized in any way should be very, very proud. This competition makes me very positive that we are on the right track to greatly narrow the SME finance gap.”
Qamar Saleem, the Incoming CEO of the SME Finance Forum said, “I am delighted to see such great SME finance initiatives highlighted through the awards. While all applicants are winners in their own rights, I want to give a special congratulations to awards recipients for leading the way in the industry. By supporting SMEs, we are not just providing access to financial services, we are also changing lives!”
Magda Bianco, GPFI co-chair said, "I continue to be amazed and impressed by the number and the quality of the applications that come in each year. This year has seen an increase in both the total number and diversity of applications, and I can’t wait to learn of the winners. I want to congratulate all the institutions that took part in this year's competition, and I encourage all contestants, winners or not, to share your experiences in the G20 Database of Innovative Digital Finance cases. The SME Finance Forum team would be happy to assist in this."
For a full list of the winners in each category and Honorable Mentions, please go to the Global SME Finance Awards 2023 website.