Singapore P2P Lender BRDGE: Flexible Financing Key To SME Survival; Launches F&B Loans Package & Digitalisation Platform
BRDGE Technology (BRDGE), an MAS licensed Peer-to-Peer lending platform launched in 2014, today announced the launch of a food and beverage (F&B) financing package specially catered to support Singapore's Food and Beverage (F&B) Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the current pandemic-driven uncertainty around dining-in. The loans package, with affordable interest rates from less than 1% per month and a short tenure of three-to-six-months, is specially designed to help establishments survive and potentially thrive during this period when cashflow is of importance for salaries and rentals.
One unique aspect of the F&B BRDGE loan is the credit assessment process, which takes the challenging business landscape into account with a lowered and targeted criteria on credit assessment: BRDGE will assess only the latest three-to-six months of the SME's recent cashflow, bank statements and bank balance, matched against the changing dining-in rules, to identify F&B businesses which are able to survive and thrive.
BRDGE offers funding support for SMEs that are non-bankable or unable to secure a loan from traditional financial institutions. Most of the time it is due to a less than two-year track record or small annual revenues, or have maxed their credit facilities or who require a Bridging Loan. BRDGE then carries out an assessment and matches SMEs with potential investors.
Mr Kevin Wong, CEO, BRDGE Technology, said, "The government has been extremely supportive with the various grants and packages for businesses and their employees in Singapore since the start of the pandemic, and the community has also continued their support to Singapore SMEs. However, with the recently announced extension of the stabilisation phase, Singapore businesses, specifically F&B establishments which depend very much on dining-in for their revenues, continue to be pressured by thinner margins, tight cashflow, and the rising cost of rent and labour. With group sizes for dining-in having been adjusted more than 10 times since April 2020, F&B businesses are faced with continued uncertainty and many are on the brink of survival. This loan package is designed to help them survive and potentially thrive in the short term, with a more relevant assessment process grounded in the very different business reality today."
Cashflow a priority for SMEs during COVID-19
Since the start of the pandemic in April 2020 till today, BRDGE has funded more than 46 SMEs with more than S$ 11m in loans. As compared to a similar period pre-pandemic (April 2019 to April 2020), there has been a distinct reduction of 58% to the average loan size per borrower from S$352,000 vs S$836,000, alluding to a shift in borrowing for growth pre-pandemic, to survival during the pandemic with cash used to maintain operational costs.
More SMEs has also requested for funding since April 2020, at 46 against 17 pre-pandemic, with companies from industries such as Arts, Entertainment and Recreation, Health and Medical, Marine and Shipping, and Beauty and Wellness, requesting for loans.
Kevin added, "As the pandemic continues, more and more businesses are facing problems maintaining cashflow. We're also seeing a fundamental shift in the reasons for getting loans. Where previously companies were discussing funding to help them grow or expand, today we are speaking to business owners who are concerned about surviving to the next month. The government and consumers are surely doing their part to help businesses survive, but every little bit helps and this relook at how we assess loans is one part of our commitment to the Singapore business community."
As part of its efforts to tide SMEs through this challenging period, BRDGE also recently started developing B Mart, a new e-commerce mobile app that is designed to help SMEs in Singapore digitalise and find new customers online. On the platform now are more than 7 businesses with over 500 SKUs representing B2B industries such as Creative and Marketing and B2C businesses such as Food & Beverages, Beauty & Health, Fashion, etc. BRDGE plans to increase this to 2,000 SKUs by the end of the year, with all 237 BRDGE's SME borrowers since 2014 being able to tap on this platform. All applicants of today's F&B BRDGE loans can have access to the platform and will be able to tap on the BRDGE online delivery app at a fixed and competitive 5% commission rate to help lower operational costs.
F&B businesses can apply for the BRDGE F&B loan via the BRDGE website: https://register.brdge.tech/fandb-smes, while investors who are seeking to support local businesses can find out more here https://register.brdge.tech/fandb-investor or register themselves on the BRDGE website.
SME owners who are interested in listing their products on the B Mart app to grow their customer base and business can get in touch with BRDGE directly at email@example.com.