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Industry roundup: 1 June

ICC launches digital solutions to tackle trade finance gap

ICC has launched ICC Trade Now, a suite of digital products and services to tackle the global trade finance gap in all its breadth and complexity. Through tailored partnerships with providers, ICC Trade Now aims to scale up trade finance solutions, empower small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and provide financiers with new investment opportunities.

International trade is a key driver of growth and innovation for SMEs worldwide - yet over 45% of SMEs see their requests for trade finance rejected and often struggle to find alternative sources of funding. Without adequate access to capital, SMEs are effectively cut off from international markets and unable to grow their operations to meet international demand.

ICC Trade Now will bring together and offer a portfolio of solutions that can address the various facets of the trade finance gap. SMEs will be able to select the solution provider that is most aligned with their needs while a wide array of financiers will be able to leverage ICC Trade Now solution providers to service SMEs profitably. Three digital solutions - ICC TRADECOMM, TradeFlow Capital, and FQX - have already been announced under the ICC Trade Now campaign with more solutions expected to be added in 2021.

ICC TRADECOMM powered by Finastra will allow investors to finance trade transactions against title documents and equip SMEs with a broader set of solutions to mitigate perceived risk and the burden of compliance. TradeFlow Capital - developed in partnership with TradeFlow Capital Management - offers investors a non-credit approach based on direct ownership of the commodities and quick and low cost on-boarding of SMEs with full bank level KYC and AML checks. FQX is a blockchain-based digital infrastructure that enables the issuance, transfer and settlement of electronic promissory notes for obtaining and providing trade finance in 152 countries around the world.


NatWest calls on small businesses to join government climate action campaign

NatWest has released a statement saying that it is encouraging its small business customers to make a climate commitment and join the government’s Together for our Planet ‘business climate leaders’ campaign.

As part of the campaign, the bank says it will highlight to customers the importance of tackling climate change and encourage them to sign up to the campaign where they will commit to cutting their emissions in half before 2030, and to net zero by 2050 or sooner.  When small businesses sign up, they will be given tools to understand their emissions, as well as practical but important steps to protect the planet, the benefits of futureproofing and growing a greener business. 

Small businesses who make a net zero pledge on the new business climate hub will be recognised by the United Nations Race to Zero campaign and will become ‘climate leaders’ - role-modelling and inspiring other to find meaningful ways to take positive environmental action.


Komgo raises CHF26m in funding round

ING-backed software company Komgo has raised CHF26m (€23.7m) in its third funding round from a consortium of investors including ING Ventures. Komgo digitalises trade finance with a platform that automates finance transactions, allowing banks, traders and other participants to transact in a secure environment. 

Spurred by surging demand for digital services during the pandemic, Komgo has seen a 50% increase in trade finance transactions on its platform and a 65% increase in clients in the past year. 

Komgo will use the funds to accelerate its expansion strategy and invest in customer success teams, which will enable the company to support clients worldwide. The funds will also be used to refine Komgo’s products and trade finance applications, such as borrowing base facilities, contract renewals, stock reconciliation and secure digital documents.

"By supporting our clients in adopting Komgo, we can serve them better," said Maarten Koning, global head of Trade and Commodity Finance at ING. "Working with Komgo enables us to increase transactional security, strengthen audit and compliance capabilities and reduce fraud across the value chain."

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