Kathmandu, Oct 22. One to Watch, NMB Bank, Laxmi Bank, and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation join forces to support Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Nepal.
One to Watch, with support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), and in partnership with NMB Bank and Laxmi Bank, has announced the launch of COVID-19 MSME Fund Nepal.
The Fund seeks to support MSMEs that are struggling to cope with the challenges brought forth by COVID-19. It will do so by providing them with bridge financing in order to meet the working capital needs and technical assistance in the form of business development services to be able to retain employees, preserve business continuity, and build resilience. The Fund is expected to support up to 100 MSMEs continue their businesses and help them retain up to 1000 jobs.
The fund will provide collateral-free loans to MSMEs that are evaluated to have the potential to bounce back based on a pre-determined set of criteria. The Fund will pay interest on such loans for a period of up to 18 months. Additionally, a subset of such firms will also be provided with business development support that are tailored to meet the needs of beneficiary enterprises.
“In unprecedented times like these, the Fund will leverage One to Watch’s expertise in investment and business development, its robust network of investors and entrepreneurs to identify and support high-impact SMEs. Hopefully, this initiative will be a “pilot” that can be scaled with participation from more bank partners”, said Suman Joshi, Managing Partner, One to Watch.
“Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises are the backbone of Nepal’s economy. They employ a large share of the workforce and are drivers of innovation and new job creation. Their rebound, therefore, will set the foundation for overall economic recovery. As a long standing development partner of Nepal, SDC is proud to be able to support this initiative together with private sector partners.”, said H.E. Elisabeth von Capeller, Ambassador of Switzerland to Nepal.
“As a Retail and MSE focused bank, we are hopeful this collaboration will directly benefit credit worthy smaller entrepreneurs who require access to bank loans in order to sustain their businesses and livelihoods during an economy under stress. We believe that MSMEs need special attention and support at this point in time and this sector will play a key role in helping the economy revive and regain momentum over the medium and long term.”, stated Ajaya Bikram Shah, CEO, Laxmi Bank.
“NMB Bank is focused on Sustainable Banking and MSMEs are key drivers for sustainable growth of the economy. Businesses across a range of economic sectors, especially MSMEs, are the most vulnerable and facing losses. To support their revival plan, NMB, as a partner bank, is committed to providing collateral-free loans to those highly impacted by the current crisis. NMB is open to more alliances focused on providing support to such initiatives.”, expressed Sunil KC, Chief Executive Officer, NMB Bank.