Fintech firm renews SME financing partnership with DTI

By Kris Crismundo

July 26, 2023, 8:16 pm

<p><em>PNA file photo</em></p>

PNA file photo

MANILA – Philippine-based financial technology firm First Circle has renewed its partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to offer financing to small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

First Circle shared on Wednesday that its general manager and head of finance Rhys McCoy signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with DTI Secretary Alfredo Pascual on July 13 to renew for the third time the SME loan program until 2025.

“With the renewal of our strategic partnership from 2023 to 2025, we can better support DTI’s efforts to enable SME participation in the global supply chain,” McCoy said in a statement.

First Circle’s flagship product, the Revolving Credit Line, offers a non-collateral loan wherein SMEs can avail of up to PHP20 million in financing with a monthly interest rate of 0.99 percent.

McCoy underscored the timely renewal of the financing partnership as this would help SMEs to be more competitive amid the expected increase in competition with the country’s accession to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) on June 2.

He said the SME loan product could also be tapped by entrepreneurs who would like to expand to the global market.

Since the start of the partnership in 2018, the fintech firm has disbursed a total of PHP8.5 billion to 3,450 businesses, 1,743 of which borrowed the loans during the pandemic.

First Circle said the financing has provided the SMEs the “much-needed support during the harsh economic environment brought by the Covid-19 (coronavirus disease 2019), global supply chain issues and inflation."

“Beyond equipping entrepreneurs with sustainable financial resources, First Circle will ramp up its efforts to provide the financial literacy and business knowledge that SMEs need to navigate the complexities of the global economy,” McCoy added.

An entrepreneur can qualify to tap the financing loan so long as the business has annual revenue of at least PHP5 million, a bona fide Philippine resident, and the business is registered with the DTI, Bureau of Internal Revenue, and Securities and Exchange Commission. (PNA)