This guide is for institutions interested in developing a supply chain finance solution. For those interested in better understanding how supply chain finance can help small merchants, fast moving consumer goods companies (FMCGs), suppliers, and financial service providers (FSPs) realize their economic potential, access our report, the  Supply Chain Finance Opportunity.

Executive Summary

Supply chain finance (SCF) is the use of financing mechanisms that can optimize the management of liquidity tied up in supply chain processes. SCF solutions have long been offered by big banks to large corporations, such as fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies and manufacturers, to support trade.

However, today SCF techniques are being transformed by technology, expanding the addressable market to include micro, small, and medium size enterprises. Improved connectivity, increasingly available customer data, and new technologies lower the cost and make it possible to extend digital SCF solutions to the small merchants at the end of global supply chains.

By tying credit to the flow of goods, SCF facilitates more efficient business operations and cash flow management for all actors along the chain – resulting in higher sales, faster turnover – and ultimately, increased profitability and growth.

A platform-based model that satisfies the interdependent needs of multiple stakeholders simultaneously using digital innovations is well suited to provide SCF solutions. Platform models consolidate digitized data produced by the flows of goods and money throughout the supply chain, building trust and facilitating coordinated decision-making. The net effect is to provide deeper insights into merchant and consumer behavior.

We believe independent third-party technology providers are best positioned to mediate between multiple stakeholders and take the lead in operating a flexible and scalable SCF solution. We also see a major opportunity, particularly for FSPs and FMCGs, to lay the groundwork for such a platform approach to succeed.  A digitized SCF solution will not only help merchants to grow their business but will drive meaningful financial inclusion for the millions left un- or underserved by the status quo. With nearly 141 million microenterprises in developing countries, digitized supply chain finance represents a scalable solution to drive greater sales through the supply chain, which will propel inclusive growth.

Accion would like to thank the Citi Foundation for supporting this report. The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. The Citi Foundation invests in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyze job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant cities.

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