Enterprises are staging gradual recovery as vaccines shine light towards the end of what has been a deep, dark tunnel.
Yet, for a lot of people globally, access to financial services, and building trust towards embracement and usage, will be fundamental in embracing any opportunities presented by the post-pandemic era.
And fundamental to the rebound will be the ability for financial institutions to empower women and entrepreneurs in embracing digital financial instruments for sustainable outcomes.
Financial resilience has been the key to survival during the pandemic. Many SMEs and startups were challenged as they tried to adjust to a digital ecosystem. Some could not adapt to the rapid change that was required. Enabling a digital interface, allowing for online payments, and creating a delivery mechanism for wages or goods/ services was not an easy feat for many businesses.
As such, financial institutions globally need to come up with innovative solutions that allow SMEs and micro-businesses to modernize and be an active participant in the digital ecosystem. The key challenges here are:
- Digital literacy
- Financial literacy
- Online sales, marketing, and customer engagement trainings
Financial inclusion should be a priority for all governments and corporates. The sudden and heightened pivot to digital caused a lot of SME and micro businesses to be left behind. And unless support and access are provided, the digital divide will exacerbate the income and cyber divide.
Economic empowerment and financial inclusion go hand in hand, and mechanisms that help transition low-income communities towards cashless societies also enable SMEs and micro-businesses servicing these communities or employing people from these communities to fast-track digital adoption.