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Lidya Launches SME Lending Platforms for Poland and Czech Republic

Digital small and medium enterprise (SME) lender Lidya is launching its platform in Poland and the Czech Republic, marking the Nigerian firm’s first international expansion into Europe since it was founded in 2016 in Lagos, reports Ruby Hinchliffe of Fintech Futures, Finovate’s sister publication.

Lidya’s launch in the Central and Eastern European (CEE) region is being led by former CEO of Polish lender Idea Money, Tomasz Sekalski, and the former head of retail banking for ING Bank Czech Republic, Libor Vanicek. Sekalski and Vanicek will become country directors for Poland and the Czech Republic, respectively.

The company’s proposition is to provide loans within 24 hours to SMEs and create 100 million jobs worldwide. To date, it has raised nearly $10 million.

“Through Lidya, we have the opportunity to empower the growth of SMEs in Africa, Europe and around the world,” said Lidya’s co-founder, Ercin Eksin. “SMEs create the most number of jobs and significantly contribute to GDP. We are on a mission to support the creation of 100 million jobs in fast-growing economies.”

The fintech says it has issued more than 10,000 loans in Nigeria, and aims to become the largest lender in the country’s market for SMEs by the end of this year.

“We are planning to disburse €1 billion to small businesses in Poland and the Czech Republic over the next five years,” said fellow Lidya Co-founder, Tunde Kehinde.

Eksin demonstrated Lidya’s credit scoring algorithm at FinovateFall 2016. The demo showcased how the bank helps small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) share or upload their bank data to manage cash flow, customer data, and create and send digital invoices. To help businesses smooth lumpy cashflow held up in invoices, Lidya lends from $500 to $50,000 without requiring the business to visit a physical branch.