Sharjah, UAE: SME lending platform, Funding Souq, has already raised more than AED 10 million, with another AED 35 million in the pipeline, in line with its efforts to connect SMEs that are looking to borrow with hundreds of investors from all around the world.
Furthermore, the programme has set a target to finance its 100th loan this year, cementing its position as an enabler of economic growth in the UAE.
Sharjah Media City (Shams) had signed a strategic partnership and guarantee scheme agreement with Funding Souq last year, as part of its efforts to expand support for entrepreneurial ventures in the media sector and add new financing opportunities to its portfolio that target innovative start-ups and SMEs and enable them to secure financing. The agreement aims to provide innovative financing facilities for start-ups and SMEs through Funding Souq’s crowdfunding platform while Shams offers loan repayment guarantees.
Dr. Khalid Omar Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Media City (Shams), said: “Sharjah Media City’s mission is to establish a nurturing environment that supports entrepreneurship, innovation, and creative thinkers in media and creative industries; this is the role we were entrusted with fulfilling by His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah. And with that role in mind, Shams is constantly striving to create new opportunities for our community, and create programmes that benefit start-ups and SMEs.”
“Our strategic partnership with Funding Souq, which we formed in order to support promising ventures to secure financing and spur their development, has proven to be a tremendous success, as evidenced by the growing total investments and the list of companies that have benefitted from the programme,” Dr. Al Midfa added.
Martin Jaouni, Funding Souq’s CEO said: “As a crowdfunding platform, our capital guarantee partnership with SHAMS has sped up the process of raising debt by providing investors a return of over 10% and almost no risk. Dr. Khalid and his team are truly eco-system enablers and have managed to create UAE’s first 100% capital guarantee program for creative and media businesses.”
As part of their mutual agreement, Shams works to introduce businesses in need of loan facilities to Funding Souq, while the latter refers existing borrowers or potential ones to Shams, where the most promising ventures can be allowed to benefit from Shams’ various facilities.
Funding Souq’s first beneficiary and success story was Pansoft, an IT solutions provider technology consulting firm catering to corporations and government clients alike, that raised AED300,000 in financing.
Several other companies have since then benefitted from the programme, notably, Infineon Advertising Requisites Trading, a leading supplier wide format digital printing materials in the sign industry in UAE Middle East, that raised AED200,000; Gaspro Industrial Solutions, also raising AED200,000; and Freight Move Logistics, an established and proven global provider of simple and customised transportation and consulting services, which raised financing of AED100,000.
Also on the list are TLS IT Solutions, a professional IT services provider operating out of the UAE market, which raised AED100,000; and Saasz Solutions, an end-to-end solutions provider for major corporations seeking efficient and effective printing, interior, manufacturing, and signage solutions, which raised AED300,000 in financing.
Funding Souq was launched in the UAE in 2020, offering flexible financing schemes ranging from 3 to 24 months. The programme financed 70+ business loans, bringing in more than AED 10 million in foreign direct investment to the UAE.