Australian FinTech firm Tyro says the gap in small business lending among traditional banks is “staggering” at A$7 billion (about $5.2 billion). On Wednesday (Sept. 14), the company announced its Smart Growth Grant program to help tackle that gap in SME financing.
That program will see Tyro asking the nation’s SMEs to propose their own innovative solutions to encourage small business growth and will award $25,000 in grants to up to 10 small businesses with the most progressive concepts, the company revealed.
At present, Tyro said, inefficiency and a lack of access to capital are the top challenges for SMEs looking to grow and thrive.
“With the Smart Growth Grant program, Tyro intends to do two things: crowdsource ideas we can share with the business community to help close the efficiency gap and provide funding for up to 10 businesses to help them kickstart their next phase of growth,” said Tyro CEO Jost Stollmann in a statement. “Along with efficiency, swift access to working capital is the most important driver of competitive growth for Australian SMEs,” he added.
The program was announced at the Tyro nextGen Business Banking Summit, a conference to explore trends and innovation in banking technology. The company said the summit was an opportunity to express Stollmann’s vision for banking technology evolution: “cloud-based, totally integrated and mobile banking that encompasses EFTPOS, payments and cash flow-based unsecured growth funding — something SMEs have been crying out for,” Tyro stated.
Tyro first secured a banking license in Australia last year, turning the company into what some analysts describe as an alternative lender-bank hybrid. Soon after it secured that license, Tyro also announced a $72 million funding round led by Tiger Global, TDM Asset Management and others.