Mastercard partners with Meta to support digitization and growth of SMEs

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  • Mastercard is collaborating with Meta to support the digitization and growth of SMEs across the MEA region
  • The firm says it will be is organizing a training webinar that will provide SMEs insights from industry experts
  • Access to credit, data, training and digital tools are among the key challenges for SMEs, further compounded by infrastructure limitations and power supply interruptions in some MEA markets

Global technology company Mastercard has announced that it is collaborating with Meta to support the digitization and growth of SMEs across the MEA region. 

In a statement, the firm says it will be is organizing a training webinar that will provide SMEs insights from industry experts, and a masterclass on how to manage uncertainty from renowned author and academic Nathan Furr, Associate Professor of Strategy at INSEAD.

The event takes place on Wednesday, 8 December at 13.00 East Africa Time.  

The collaboration comes at a time when the world is moving at a faster pace with globalization being fuelled by technology which is enabling companies to scale beyond borders at a pace of months as opposed to years previously.

According to Mastercard, access to credit, data, training and digital tools are among the key challenges for SMEs, further compounded by infrastructure limitations and power supply interruptions in some MEA markets.

As research increasingly points to offering choice, SMEs must adapt to a growing hybrid environment with a demand for e-commerce and new payment options.

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Commenting on the development, Derya Matras, Vice President, Middle East, Africa & Turkey, Meta said the challenges that small and medium businesses continue to experience as a result of COVID-19 are significant.’

“We have an important role to play, providing the necessary digital skills for startups and small businesses to survive, recover and deliver results online and offline. We are continuing those training efforts in partnership with Mastercard, helping further boost a burgeoning start-up ecosystem to positively impact socio-economic growth across the region,” the Vice President said.

At the same time, Amnah Ajmal, Executive Vice President, Market Development, Middle East and Africa, Mastercard said the SME segment was highly impacted during the pandemic due to the lack of scale and access to capital.

“This is a critical time for entrepreneurs and small business owners to have that access to the right resources, insights, tools and solutions to recover from the impact of the pandemic and thrive. Our partnership with Meta will help support SME growth in the region,” Ajmal said.

Although challenges related to the pandemic remain, small businesses in the Middle East & Africa are reclaiming confidence.

The recent 2021 Mastercard MEA SME Confidence Index found 74% of SMEs in the region are optimistic about future growth, guided by the potential for digitalization, better data, access to credit and upskilling. 

Through technology services, cyber assessments, insights, grants, digital training, mentoring platforms and knowledge initiatives, Mastercard will contribute $250 million over five years to support small businesses’ financial security globally.

As part of its goal to build a more sustainable and inclusive world, Mastercard has committed to connect 50 million small businesses, including 25 million women entrepreneurs globally, to the digital economy by 2025.  

The collaboration comes weeks after Mastercard Academy announced the launch of ‘The Entrepreneur’s Odyssey’ – a first-of-its kind digital education platform that brings together a range of world-class academic and business resources to help small businesses learn and thrive. 

As reported by The Exchange, The Entrepreneur’s Odyssey is a mobile and tablet-friendly, self-paced curriculum that includes online lessons across 21 modules with a total of 28 videos of approximately 20-30 minutes each.

According to the company, the resources are open to all aspiring and established entrepreneurs with no limits on number of viewers and free to watch. The platform will also be offered to government partners.

The Entrepreneur’s Odyssey is a progression of other similar SME-related programs that Mastercard has developed in the past such as The Mastercard Trust Center which provides SME owners with links to curated education, resources and tools from trusted external sources to help them defend their business against cyberattacks.

The Mastercard Digital Doors program also helps small businesses open their digital doors get SMEs online, protect their business, and ensure they have the right tools to digitally transform.

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Wanjiku Njuguna is a Kenyan-based business reporter with experience of more than eight years.

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