How KoinWorks scales societal impact across Indonesia
Published on February 23, 2023
Having started as a peer-to-peer lending platform in Indonesia that connects borrowers with lenders, today KoinWorks can best be characterized as a financial super app. To date, it has facilitated more than Rp14 trillion (~US$922 million) in loans to MSMEs and individuals. KoinWorks uses tech to offer quick and efficient loans with competitive interest rates, making it an attractive option for borrowers and investors alike.
In a recent podcast with Lauren Blasco, Head of ESG at AC Ventures, and Anqelique Timmer, SVP of Impact and ESG at KoinWorks, spoke about how the Indonesian neo banking startup is delivering positive societal impact, beginning with financial inclusion for both MSMEs and consumers nationwide.
“KoinWorks has been making an impact since our inception in 2017, so it’s nothing new to us. We’ve been opening access to finance and working capital for underserved MSMEs and supporting them to transform their businesses via our digital platform,” explained Angelique. “However, there is still much more that can be done for inclusive and sustainable growth.”
From its origins as a lending platform for very small businesses, KoinWorks recently added credit cards to its suite of offerings for MSMEs and is now expanding in other directions, too.
Financial inclusion, though, is not just a goal unto itself, but also a means to an end as an accelerator of Indonesia’s economic growth, Angelique explained.
She said, “This has a multiplier effect in itself to contribute to the economic empowerment and the stability of Indonesia and Southeast Asia.”
KoinWorks is in the process of expanding into what Angelique calls a “one-stop shop for MSMEs, providing financial and non-financial services.” By spurring the growth of small businesses with easier access to working capital, the startup can also become an important catalyst for job creation in the market, Angelique predicted.
“Our priority going forward is showcasing accountable impact metrics. With the proper metrics, we should be able to see how 65 million MSMEs contribute to the development of the middle class in Indonesia, in numbers and in the narrative,” she added.
“I do think by focusing on impact, we can drive business opportunity, and it does deliver the financial return that most of the stakeholders are looking for today.”
Scaling social impact
Closely tied to financial inclusion, KoinWorks is also working toward other forms of social impact that include gender equality, financial literacy, and digital literacy.
Angelique noted, “Currently, 43% of the businesses in our loan book are women-led. That’s been growing very fast, from only 19% in 2017.”
In recent months, KoinWorks has also defined an impact framework for reducing the environmental footprints of MSMEs and forging more understanding among micro-entrepreneurs about how their businesses can be more sustainable.
She elaborated, “There’s a matter of explaining that, in the fashion industry, for example, businesses can wrap in paper instead of plastic – they can segregate their waste and even get it monetized at waste banks.”
KoinWorks is also building out a digital platform that provides an online community for small business owners to come together, learn, and share knowledge with one another.
“Around 46 million, or 72%, of MSMEs, are still classified as underserved,” explained Angelique. “Access to funding has always been key to solving that, but there are also many other non-financial ways to serve these enterprises.”