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Lending to Emerging Market SMEs Picks Up Pace

Dutch peer-to-peer lending outfit Lendahand is opening up investment opportunities in emerging markets.

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The unconventional platform – which we caught up with back in July – has now crossed the €1m mark in cumulative lending to SMEs in emerging markets. The lending capital itself comes from a base of adventurous Dutch investors. Lendahand showcases investment opportunities in Colombia, the Philippines and, most recently, Ghana. The platform makes use of local partnerships in order to select and underwrite loan opportunities.

Those investing in Lendahand deals can expect to earn a 3%-4% interest rate per annum, while borrowers are charged anywhere up to 30% in local currency. The social impact engendered by the platforms “mesofinance” provision is seen as a big hook for investors. Entrepreneurs in Columbia, the Philippines and Ghana are starved of affordable credit – and what might seem like a relatively small amount of money can in fact go a long way.

Take Mega Windows Ltd. – the platform’s latest investment opportunity. This company has been manufacturing aluminium window and door frames for the past 12 years, and has turned to Lendahand in pursuit of some much needed credit. A loan of €12.5k would allow Mega Windows to hire 8 new employees, and to take on many more orders.

Growth is coming steadily but surely for Lendahand. Peter Heijen, the platform’s Founder and CEO, told us in July that by the close of 2015 he hoped for the platform to have a spread of local partners across the different continents – including Europe:

“It is our ambition to become a key European player in the missing middle debt market.”

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