First Circle grants first loan to SME without interest

Jekki Pascual, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 15 2022 06:47 AM

First Circle grants first loan to SME without interest

MANILA - Financial technology company First Circle sealed its first deal under the new Growth Partners Program. The new program aims to help high-potential small and medium enterprises (SMEs) get access to financing without interest rates or other fees.

First Circle signed the new partnership with Internet of Things (IoT) company ClixLogic in a ceremony in Taguig, Wednesday night.

Under the deal, First Circle would grant ClixLogic P15 million initially for them to expand their business, while in return First Circle will be given a share or a portion of the company in the future.

The two companies say this works for both firms. Charlie Fernando, CEO of ClixLogic said they need cash flow to improve their business and with the new deal, they would get money without having to pay interest fees.

"Ang daming negosyo na nawawala kung kulang ka ng pera," exclaimed Fernando. He added, "There are businesses that will need much more and they will be ready to inject at least 15 [million pesos]."

Patrick Lynch, CEO of First Circle, said "By providing those businesses with access to money, we've been able to help them to grow typically from either small to medium or medium to large."

Lynch said that it is very important to help the SME sector especially since almost all have been affected by the pandemic. Aside from this program, First Circle normally offers loans to small businesses with better rates than commercial banks.

"A strong SME sector is perhaps the most important thing for the health of the economy," Lynch said.

The new Director of the UK Trade and Investments in the Philippines Lindsey Gilbert-Crouch also joined the signing ceremony. She said she is behind supporting SMEs in the country as well as fintech firms like what they did in the UK.

She said, "We've done quite to bit around making sure companies were able to access the right types of finance, and also to access the right connections."

For ClixLogic, the new investments can help them reach their dream of going public in 5 years, as well as bring IoT to a higher level in the Philippines.

"Putting a lot of effort on Internet of Things. It is revolutionary. It is a game changer. I always say I want the Philippines to be IOT capital of the world," said Fernando.

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