How KoinWorks boosts financial inclusion for Indonesia’s MSMEs
Published on February 23, 2023
Micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) form the backbone of the Indonesian economy. It’s been estimated that these often very small companies amount to 99% of all businesses in the nation while accounting for more than 61% of its GDP.
Prominent fintech startup KoinWorks aims to make a positive impact by bringing MSMEs into the formal financial sector, helping them gain access to working capital, successfully sustain and grow their businesses, and learn from one another.
In a recent episode of Indonesia Digital Deconstructed, Angelique Timmer, SVP of Impact and ESG at KoinWorks, spoke with Lauren Blasco, Head of ESG at AC Ventures, about KoinWorks’ multipronged strategy of offering financial, as well as non-financial, services to local MSMEs.
“KoinWorks is giving MSMEs access to financial products with good repayment rates and with clear metrics which show their businesses are indeed growing after receiving financial services,” explained Angelique.
Mastercards for MSMEs
Since its 2017 inception, KoinWorks has traditionally disbursed loans to MSMEs through deposits into their bank accounts. Now, the startup also helps them get credit cards.
Angelique explained, “With a virtual card number, we give them options for customizable loans and disbursement, so loans can be partially dispersed to their virtual cards. This also gives them access to their first commercial card, which is a big move toward more inclusive finance.”
She added, “A credit card also helps them to source goods and services from anywhere in the world, so they’re no longer limited to Indonesian transactions. This opens up the world to them for more commerce.”
Another step forward for KoinWorks is the development of a learning program called KoinLearn, which offers bite-sized videos averaging two to four minutes in length. The videos can be accessed by business owners free of charge.
KoinWorks is in the process of expanding its digital platform to provide a lively online community for business owners, with learning modules dealing with subjects like finance and supply chain. Some modules will provide certifications, Angelique added.
Not competing with banks
As Angelique sees it, KoinWorks continues to complement traditional banks, rather than compete with them.
She said, “Last August was our sixth anniversary, so we’re not a new fintech player. We’ve proven our impact over the past several years and we’ve provided access to capital for 500,000 businesses, with a total loan disbursement of Rp14 trillion.”
The Central Bank of Indonesia issued a regulation that requires banks to devote a minimum proportion of their credit portfolio to SMEs. “But we’re talking about small and medium vs. micro businesses for KoinWorks,” she noted.
“There are still so many underserved MSMEs. The market is big enough that everyone together can take care of certain segments with certain products. So we never feel we’re in competition with banks.”