Founded in March 2019, SME Development Finance Corporation (SDFC) was established to fill the gap, provide loans and monetary assistance to business starters and other related individuals easily within one platform.
Financial assistance is provided after an evaluation process which follows very specific yet general criteria.
How does the evaluation process work?
When releasing funds, SDFC primarily looks into the profit that can be gained through the project, the feasibility and how much of an improvement it can bring to the status of the business. They also check whether the businesses have the capacity to return the funds after all the expenses are covered.
These are the aspects that the company looks into when they receive proposals. Secondarily, they check their past records to ensure that they are honest and capable people with a clean record to run businesses. This is an area that is checked by every financial institution before funds are released.
SDFC also checks whether the individual is someone whom they have to offer the security requirement and if the businesses are capable enough to offer an asset of value that can be taken as a mortgage.
Prioritized areas for SME selection:
SDFC also has some priority sectors that they are promoting under the Government mandate. They believe it is one of their responsibilities to promote these sectors to ensure economic growth and extend more economic benefits to the public.
One of the areas the company primarily focuses on is local island tourism and transport. Since these are two areas that are connected, SDFC believes it is of utmost importance to improve these sectors to provide easier services when channeling people and goods from one place to another.
Another area the company focuses on is, real estate and construction, where companies face difficulties obtaining loans from commercial banks in the Maldives. Their main priority is to provide the equipment, machinery and materials required by businesses.
SDFC is also very focused on improving the agriculture and fisheries sector in the Maldives. These two are the longest standing main sectors in the Maldives and plays a huge role in the economical growth of the country. They believe new approaches need to be taken to improve agriculture within the Maldives through greenhouse and verticulture.
Another area the Government plans on improving is the Information and Technology sector, to provide and encourage through financial assistance for software developers and alike to expand their work. Manufacturing is also an area where SDFC’s interest lies within.
Priority is given to proposals that fall under the mentioned prioritized sectors. For other sectors, funds are released depending on how good the proposal is, the risk and profit that can be attained by the end of the project.
SDCF does not consider it as a requirement for it to be a registered business when submitting proposals to the institution. Once it has been submitted, they review it under the previously mentioned criteria and if it has been approved, then the business will have to make its official registration to gain access to the funds. It will be released according to the plan stated in the proposal, not all at once. The rest of the funds will be released after monitoring and reviewing the businesses.