To celebrate the new decade, this year’s Global SME Finance Forum will look much farther forward, to imagine where we might be in SME financing a decade from now. We will test the limits of our prescience by predicting how products, delivery channels, institutions and enabling environments might look 10 years from now.

Bangkok, Thailand

26th – 28th October, 2020

Since its formation, the SME Finance Forum has been on top of all of the major trends in this field. We predicted the importance of partnership when all around us were emphasizing fintech-bank competition. We declared that competitiveness in financing now had to include additional non-financial support for improving SMEs themselves – a reversal of decades of advice, but now common wisdom. Finally, we predicted the growing importance of converging non-financial firms on this market in this past year’s Global SME Finance Forum, just as the rest of the world was starting to note the potential impact of “techfins”, “tech giants”, “platforms”, on the sector.

Bookmark 26-28 October on your calendar to join us in Bangkok for what has become the largest, highest-level, most technically in-depth, more geographically diverse meeting on SME financing that occurs each year!

Conference Highlights

Following our practice of leveraging as much knowledge sharing as we can from our membership and our wider public audience, we will launch a public “Call for Insights” on what SME finance will look like in 2030. Best articles will be shared in a special report to be issued at the conference, and the authors will be considered for speaking roles at the event.

What will SME financing look like in 2030? What will profoundly influence its ecosystem? Will unexpected players dominate the market? How different will SME financing be in 10 years from now?

With the start of this new decade, the SME Finance Forum seeks thought-provoking, creative and impactful insights to help shape the debate on the future of finance for SMEs. We are encouraging participants to share their unique visions in 500-1,000-word essays.

Authors of all submissions that are selected by our panel of judges will receive a complimentary ticket (worth US$2,000) to the Global SME Finance Forum 2020 in Bangkok, October 26-28 – where we will launch a new publication containing the insights. The most outstanding authors will be invited to address this meeting, and to share their perspectives with senior leaders from the World Bank and IFC (either during the event or at the Annual/Spring Meetings of the IMF and the World Bank Group). 

Possible questions to consider (although any and all visions are encouraged):

  • Who will be the main providers of SME financing in 2030?  How will that compare to the dominant institutions of today? 
  • Will FinTech companies and traditional financial institutions be permanent competitors or durable partners in providing solutions for SMEs?
  • How will AI, Machine Learning and robots change the role of people in SME financing?
  • How will the role of governments and policy evolve to deal with innovations to come?
  • What will the SME finance gap look like in 2030, and why?

VIDEO: Trade Digitisation, SME Trade Finance and the UK Market – Interview with Natwest View →

Tradetech 40 Interview: Trade Finance Market on Providing Liquidity for SMEs View →

ITFC: Safeguarding SME Resilience in the Face of a Global Pandemic View →