White Paper: The Future of SME Financing

White Paper: The Future of SME Financing

The white paper discusses current industry pain points, the drivers of change in the SME financing landscape, the promising technological advances, as well as the role regulation could play in this evolution.

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The Background


The Swiss corporate landscape is characterized by a large proportion of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that need capital in order to grow. In contrast to larger enterprises, SMEs often face size related disadvantages that constrain their ability to raise capital. Technology promises to fundamentally change that, but will it?

Facts & Figures

99% 99%

99% of all companies in Switzerland are SMEs

3 million 3 million

SMEs employ approximately 3 million people

67% 67%

SMEs represent about two thirds of all employees in Switzerland

SME’s access to capital

SMEs play a fundamental role in the economic growth, job creation and innovation. To expand their business or to launch new, innovative products onto the market, they require capital, whether in the form of debt, equity or alternative capital sources.

While not necessarily facing a financing gap, SMEs frequently experience size-related disadvantages in accessing financing. As a result of this ongoing challenge, new solutions have been emerging promising to significantly improve SMEs access to capital.

SMEs are frequently unaware of the existence of alternatives to bank lending and, even if they are, they are very often unable to comply with the requirements of professional investors.

Technology as the driver of change

Technology is rapidly changing how the financial services industry operates, as well as leading to the creation of new business models on the part of SMEs.

  • How does that impact the way SMEs obtain financing?
  • What are new alternative financing solutions?
  • Will Fintechs eventually take over?
  • How important will public equity markets be for SMEs in the future?

To investigate those and many other questions, SIX has partnered with the Swiss Research Institute of Small Business and Entrepreneurship at the University of St. Gallen (KMU–HSG)  and dedicated a white paper to the Future of SME Financing. It is the only Swiss university institute which focuses exclusively on SME research.

Supporting the growth of SME ecosystem

As an essential step in advancing the SME financing landscape, the involvement of a variety of players within the SME ecosystem is required. This includes the SMEs themselves, finance suppliers, regulators, researchers, and partners in innovation activities.

Fostering development of the broader ecosystem would not only improve SME access to financing, but also allow for greater exchange of knowledge about different forms of financing, as well as promote the dialogue of other relevant aspects such the ever increasing importance of sustainability-related matters.