The Senior Vice President, Product Management, Digital Payments and Labs, Middle East and Africa, Gaurang Shah, Mastercard, has said the Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) segment of the economy has been terribly hit by Covid-19 pandemic.

The Senior Vice President, Product Management, Digital Payments and Labs, Middle East and Africa, Gaurang Shah, Mastercard, has said the Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) segment of the economy has been terribly hit by Covid-19 pandemic.

He said the SME market represents 90 per cent of businesses in Nigeria, and has been deeply impacted by the pandemic.

Speaking during the launch of a new low-cost payments solution that enables small business owners to move their businesses online and accept a range of digital payments from their customers, he said the firm acknowledged the pressures faced by SMEs pledging support to them.

“We recognise the overwhelming pressure that small business owners are currently facing and are committed to supporting them through COVID-19 and beyond by bringing our tools at a low cost and rapid time to market.

The SME-in-a-Box offering provides SME owners with a quick and simple way to digitize their business and build a platform for sustained future growth’, ” he said.

He explained that the “SME-in-a-Box” solution is powered by Mastercard’s payment technologies and that of its StartPath fintech partners, including onboarding technology provider Signzy and Mastercard’s network of Tap on Phone partners. It is also powered in Nigeria by leading fintech, Innovectives.

The solution, he said, will aid small and micro merchants across the country in expanding their customer base via digital platforms and enable sustainable revenue growth.

The unique offering enables business owners to access a wide range of financial services quickly and easily through a single intuitive app compatible with all Android mobile devices. The app’s functionality supports contactless payments, Quick Response (QR) code payments, and can generate e-payment links for remote payments. The platform can be leveraged by partners including banks, Payment Service Providers and Mobile Network Operators through application programming interfaces (APIs) or a white label app to rapidly take the solution to market.


SME-in-a-Box offers a low-cost acceptance service that can run on smart phones and is powered by Mastercard Payment Gateway Services. It also delivers speed and simplicity with remote digital onboarding services from Mastercard’s StartPath partners. In addition, through its Simplify Commerce offering, Mastercard will enable SMEs with a plug-&-play e-commerce store builder with an instant online checkout. SMEs can access a virtual card and get access to business tools through Mastercard’s partner ZOHO as well as get access to educational tools. These capabilities have been packaged as a bundled solution combined with special incentives to drive adoption and support business owners to tackle challenges during COVID-19.

Also speaking, the Group Executive Director, Platforms and Partnership, Innovectives, Olubusola Osilaja, said: “Merchants across emerging markets are the backbone of these economies and are eager to do more. However, many of them are limited in accessing supportive financing and business support. In combination with the impact created due to the pandemic, the need to support SMEs is more stringent than ever before. We are leveraging our strength in banking, payment and lending technologies, along with a deep understanding of retail merchant networks to deliver SME-in-Box. We are excited to work with the amazing team at Mastercard and partner fintechs to unlock rapid growth through digitisation for small businesses in emerging markets”

Mastercard has made a global commitment to bring 1 billion people into the digital economy by 2025. This includes 50 million small businesses and 25 million women entrepreneurs. As part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mastercard has pledged $250 million in financial, technology, product, and insights support over the next five years to small businesses across the globe, supporting the financial security and vitality of businesses and their workers.

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