In Timor-Leste, small and medium sized entrepreneurs (SME) are often overlooked by mainstream financial institutions due to limits in knowledge and understanding of emerging business prospects in the economy beyond oil and gas and government procurements. Without financial support it is very difficult for new businesses to get off the ground and thrive.
Alongside this, the Chamber of Commerce in Timor-Leste is dominated by large construction companies, which can prevent SMEs from organising themselves and engaging with other businesses and financial institutions. Compounding the challenges for SMEs, poor infrastructure and difficult terrain make it very difficult for existing financial institutions to expand their coverage across the country so that SMEs can benefit from their services.
ANZ has a strong reputation and long history in Timor-Leste and offers cash, trade, markets and commercial loan products in sectors including tourism, wholesale trade, infrastructure and natural resources. It offers a range of services to customers through its branch in Dili and has catered primarily to large national and international companies with limited emphasis on SME financing.
Enthusiastic about expanding into the agricultural and non-agricultural sectors, ANZ is keen to strengthen relationships with the private sector by organising events for networking and financial literacy. Specifically targeted at SMEs, it will also promote business advisory services for emerging business enterprises and popularise mobile banking.
Through the MoU with ANZ, MDF will play a valuable role in facilitating dialogue with the private sector through different events, workshops and seminars to bring together SMEs in Timor-Leste. ANZ will also capitalise on MDF’s local business intelligence and its depth of experience in creating positive social impact through business.
There will be an emphasis on encouraging female entrepreneurs to attend the events to encourage greater participation, and SMEs will have the opportunity to engage with government organisations on policy issues.