Posted on May 20, 2014

Cologne, May 12, 2014 – Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are important engines of growth and job creation around the world. However, access to finance, especially the lack of innovative financial products, represents one of the greatest challenges for SMEs in developing and emerging markets. SMEs are often too small to attract the interest of commercial banks or investors, but too large to benefit from microfinance products. Until now, only a few scalable solutions to support this “missing middle” of the economy have been found.

To address this challenge and to facilitate reliable access to investment financing for SMEs, DEG – Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH has launched the SME Finance Innovation Award. The Award reaches out to all types of financial institutions. It acknowledges innovative financial instruments created to reach SMEs in developing and emerging countries. These include innovative products, services and distribution channels helping SMEs in these markets achieve their full potential.

In 2014, the prize is awarded by DEG, together with its European development finance institution peers FMO (Netherlands) and Proparco (France). The institutions are members of EDFI, an association of 15 bilateral European Development Finance Institutions active in developing and transition countries.

The prize will be awarded every two years. In 2014, the Award will honor innovations that have been successfully established between 2009 and 2014. Applicants for the award will be assessed on the following criteria: innovative character, market impact, replicability and sustainability. Applications can be submitted through the website until 15th July 2014. The Award presentation ceremony will be held in Rotterdam in September 2014 on the occasion of the FMO’s Future of Banking conference.

“The SME-Finance Innovation Award is a great opportunity for financial institutions to disseminate their SME initiatives in developing countries. Offering sustainable products and services for SMEs can be a good business for financial institutions and will strengthen the entire economy in these markets as well. We expect it to be a great incentive to generate and spread financial innovations”, explained Bruno Wenn, Chairman of the DEG Management Board and Chairman of EDFI.

Enclude will serve as Technical Advisor to the award program, and will supply a judge for the competition in 2014.

In case of questions, please contact:


DEG – Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH
Kaemmergasse 22
50676 Cologne

About DEG

DEG, a subsidiary of KfW, finances investments of private companies in developing and transition countries. As one of Europe’s largest development finance institutions, it promotes private business structures to contribute to sustainable economic growth and improved living conditions.

About FMO

FMO is the Dutch development bank and finances companies, projects and financial institutions from developing and emerging markets. FMO believes that entrepreneurship is the key in creating sustainable economic growth and improving people’s quality of life. Thus, FMO is specialized in sectors where its contribution can have the highest long-term impact – financial institutions, energy and agribusiness, food & water.

About Proparco

PROPARCO is a Development Finance Institution jointly held by Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and public and private shareholders from the North and South. PROPARCO is one of the main bilateral development finance institutions in the world. Its mission is to catalyze private investment in emerging and developing countries with the aim of supporting growth, sustainable development and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

About Enclude

Enclude is a global advisory firm with 25 years’ experience assisting financial institutions to establish or expand profitable SME banking business lines in more than 100 emerging markets. This practice is one of Enclude’s integrated capacity and capital services which are designed to support banks and other intermediaries that contribute to sustainable, entrepreneurial growth in local economies.  Enclude, formerly ShoreBank International and Triodos Facet, also promotes entrepreneurship and strengthens small businesses through its Sustainable Business Practices team.

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