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Business Partners recognised for Innovations in Small Business Lending

The Netherlands, 11 October 2019: Business Partners Limited was named Gold
winner in the SME Bank of the Year – Africa category at the Global SME Finance
Forum Awards on October 7.

Partners Limited – one of Africa’s leading business loan and equity providers –
has successfully developed one of the world’s most innovative risk finance
models for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The company has provided close
to R20 billion in finance in over 71,000 transactions to business owners over
the last 38 years.

Organised by
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the SME Finance Forum and endorsed
by the G20’s Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI), the Global SME Finance
Awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of financial institutions and
fintech companies in delivering exceptional products and services to their SME

This year’s
award winners were selected from a competitive pool of 144 applicants. A panel
of independent judges chose the winners based on their Reach, Uniqueness and
Innovation, Effectiveness and Impact, and Dynamism and Scalability.

Ben Bierman,
Managing Director of Business Partners Limited said: “We are honoured to
receive this esteemed accolade and pledge our commitment to continue supporting
business owners and contributing to the improvement of the SME sector in Africa.

“We started
out focusing only on South Africa and the adaptability of our business finance
model has been proven through our successful expansion into six other African
countries namely Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Uganda, Rwanda and Zambia. This continental
footprint and accomplishment likely contributed to Business Partners Limited
being selected as the Gold awardee.”

Paulo de
Bolle, Senior Director, Global Industry, Financial Markets, Global Financial
Institutions Group at the International Finance Corporation said: “The Global
SME Finance Awards recognise and reward innovation in small business lending
that can improve financing for SMEs, helping small businesses grow and create
jobs. Innovations in lending technology and business models, can significantly
reduce the cost of serving SMEs.”

Gamser, CEO of the SME Finance Forum said: “We hope the winners of the Global
SME Finance Awards will inspire SME financiers all over the world to learn from
their good practices. The Awards provide the winners an opportunity to showcase
good practices on the global stage and foster learning amongst their peers.”

The Global
SME Finance Awards also introduced a new category this year – Women-owned SME
Bank of the Year. This important new award allows financial institutions and
fintech companies to showcase achievements and advances in specifically
supporting women-owned SMEs.

Beinker, Deputy Head of Division at the German Federal Ministry for Economic
Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and Co-Chair of the SME Finance Subgroup of
G20 GPFI said: “The Global SME Finance Awards put the spotlight on two key
issues – responsible innovation and responsible financing, which are an
integral part of the financial inclusion agenda. As demonstrated by this year’s
and last year’s Awards winners, product innovations can lower costs and allow
SME financiers to better serve previously underserved and unserved SMEs,
particularly women-owned SMEs.”

About the SME Finance Forum:
The SME Finance Forum works to expand access to finance for small and medium
businesses. The Forum operates a global membership network that brings together
financial institutions, technology companies, and development finance
institutions to share knowledge, spur innovation, and promote the growth of
SMEs. Established in 2012 by the G20 Global Partnership for Financial
Inclusion, the SME Finance Forum is managed by IFC. For more information,
visit http://www.smefinanceforum.org

About Business Partners Limited:

Partners Limited (BUSINESS/PARTNERS) is a specialist risk finance company for
formal small and medium owner-managed businesses in South Africa, and selected
African countries. The company actively supports entrepreneurial growth by
providing financing from R500, 000 to R50 million, specialist sectoral
knowledge, business premises and added-value services for viable small and
medium businesses. Since establishment in 1981, BUSINESS/PARTNERS has provided
business finance worth over R19.5 billion in over 71 600 transactions
facilitating over 648 200 jobs. Visit www.businesspartners.co.za for more information.

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