Despite the challenges the world is facing with the coronavirus, it has brought some great in humanity. In particular, not just individuals at the consumer level but also companies as well, in particular amongst SMEs and other entrepreneurs, supporting each other in difficult times. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), home to global hubs of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, here are some recent initiatives to highlight amongst the fintech and wider tech community.
Offering ‘ZERO Fee Monthly Plan’ for Insurance – Tabby & Souqalmal.com
Souqalmal.com is the biggest and most-trusted insurance and banking comparison website in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, giving users the opportunity to compare personal finance products such as credit cards, loans, bank accounts and insurance. After launching its ‘Insure Now, Pay Monthly’ service recently, the Souqalmal team has now boosted efforts to make the installment option even more accessible and affordable for UAE vehicle owners. Souqalmal.com’s Founder & CEO, Ambareen Musa, says, “In times of financial crisis, the option to convert a big lump-sum payment into smaller monthly payments can bring huge financial relief to customers. We realized that offering this option to all car insurance buyers, especially those whose finances were most severely impacted by the pandemic, would help them free up cash for more crucial expenses.”
The service is being offered in collaboration with tabby, a Dubai-based FinTech company and new-age pioneer of ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ services in the region. According to the co-Founder and CEO of tabby, Hosam Arab, “Our partnership with Souqalmal over the past few months has shown the value of offering customers the choice of how and when to pay for their car insurance. Customer convenience is at the core of our offering and we believe that offering this as a free service for customers is essential under the current environment.”
How the B2B wholesale marketplace is creating entrepreneurs through social commerce push – WEMENA
WeMENA, the region’s online marketplace for wholesalers, is celebrating another industry first – an innovative reseller programme which allows anyone to sell the 1000s of products available via their platform. Pali Banwait, WeMENA’s co-founder, says, “As part of our ongoing mission to help bolster the UAE economy, we are expanding our offering beyond business-to-business wholesale, and allowing anyone to create their own online ‘social commerce business’. The pandemic has hit everyone hard, and we want to help people get back on their feet. Those who have lost their jobs, those who have seen a drop in income, anyone can set up an account with us and start selling products of their choice with a few simple steps.”
The feedback is positive so far. For instance, One of WeMENA’s new resellers stated, “I think the Reseller programme by WeMENA came out at just the right time. At the beginning of the pandemic, I got a huge salary cut and with bills and rent, I needed to find myself something on the side to make money. That’s when I stumbled across WeMENA and started buying products in bulk and selling them to my friends and family.”
100 Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs) supported in Key Milestone with marketing and communications assistance – SME Rise Collective
Others have also supported the community by donating their time and subject matter expertise. For instance, The SME Rise Collective is a new platform launched four months ago that offers individuals and companies in the community the chance to come together and buy packages from local marketing and communications agencies that will be used to support other local SMEs at a time when they need it most. They recently announced a milestone target of supporting 100 SMEs in the UAE with marketing and communications support since their launch. With SMEs making up such an important part of the UAE economy, The SME Rise Collective was created with one goal only – to support as many SMEs as it could during Co-VID 19 times to ensure their survival back to thriving profitable businesses.
Natasha Hatherall, founder of TishTash and The SME Rise Collective says “Reaching this milestone feels a bit emotional for myself and the team. What started as a silly idea when we felt helpless in the middle of lockdown and a belief that even if we could help one SME we’d be happy, grew and grew. During this time we have met so many amazing people, have been touched by the kindness of strangers, felt warm and fuzzy at the messages we received and ultimately what many may not realise is that #SmeRiseCollective helped get us through this time, adding a positive focus to our days when we were dealing with our own badly affected businesses.”
Despite the current global environment, the best of humanity and the business community spotlights examples like these. There are indeed countless more happening throughout the rest of the UAE, Middle East & Africa (MEA) and the rest of the world.