Mauritius government gives consent to the first ever crowdlending platform

MAURITIUS – The government of Mauritius through its SME Equity Fund Ltd (SEF), has just given its consent, through a partnership, to the country’s first ever crowdlending platform, Fundkiss Technologies Ltd.

Under a public-private partnership, the SME Equity Fund would invest up to 10% on projects posted on the Fundkiss platform, up to a maximum of Rs 100,000 ($2.5k) per project.

This move was captured in a Budget 2020–21 announcement which noted that ‘the SME Equity Fund Ltd will invest through the crowd lending mechanism to the tune of up to Rs 200,000 ($5k) per project’.

Already, the SME Equity Fund has invested in about ten projects run on the Fundkiss platform.

“This partnership is a perfect example of what cooperation between the different players in the financial ecosystem symbolises, with the common objective of boosting SME access to finance,” said Paul Perrier, Fundkiss’ co-founder and CEO.

“The SME Equity Fund Ltd is a well reputed institutional investor that is joining the Fundlkiss community because of the deeper understanding that this collaboration makes sense, probably even more so in today’s world. We are confident that other institutional investors will join us to invest in the real economy, alongside individual investors, in promising projects led by passionate Mauritian entrepreneurs.”

Launched in 2006, the SME Equity Fund Ltd (SEF) invests in start-ups, expansion projects and new lines of business. It provides equity financing to SMEs established in Mauritius, and where the majority shareholder of the SME is a Mauritian national.

The investment range starts at Rs 500,000 (US$12.6k) and can reach up to Rs 25m (US$630k). The financing it provides to companies should not exceed 49% of the business’ equity capital — which means that the entrepreneur, must invest in at least 51% of the share capital. Since inception, the fund has provided financial support to more than 150 companies for an amount exceeding Rs 550 million (US$13.8m).

“We see this partnership between the SME Equity Fund and Fundkiss as a “game changer”. The market is moving in the right direction,” Mardayah Kona Yerukunondu, Chairman of the Financial Services Commission and First Deputy Governor of the Bank of Mauritius, said.

“Fundkiss is among the first to have obtained a licence under the National Regulatory Sandbox Licence (RSL) regime and will soon transition to a more permanent licence under the FSC, while the SME Equity Fund already holds a CIS license under the FSC. This collaboration is a significant step for SMEs and will provide the necessary impetus to FinTech in Mauritius.”

Fundkiss, which is pioneering crowdlending platform in Mauritius, is encouraged by the country’s National Regulatory Sandbox License regime of the Economic Development Board (EDB).

Fundkiss is Mauritius’ first licensed crowdlending platform that allows individuals and corporates to lend directly to SMEs and startups.

The startup’s platform helps to connect borrowers (sole proprietors or startup companies) in search of financing, to lenders (individual or institutional investors) seeking to diversify their investments and support the real economy.

To date, Fundkiss has financed more than 70 projects for funding of over Rs 31 million (US$781k) bringing together a community of 1,750 investors in the process, of whom at least 276 are active lenders, in that they have invested at least once in the last 12 months.

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