As we move into a post Covid-19 world, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that have weathered the storm now have the chance to ride a wave of economic renewal – notably in the digital space.
A recent study by Visa found that 92 per cent of small businesses in the UAE still have concerns about increasing their digital presence, which reinforces the need to assist them in making the transition.
To help them build confidence and find success, National Bank of Fujairah (NBF) has developed an innovative new platform called NBF Connect. Co-created with SMEs, the one-stop-shop provides a host of features – including easy access to the SME community, business banking and digital services.
The aim is to bring together business owners from all walks of life, giving them the opportunity to connect, share insights, exchange ideas, and discover avenues of growth.
Here are six reasons why NBF Connect will be a game-changer for business owners in the UAE.
Created by SMEs for SMEs
NBF encouraged local SMEs to fully collaborate in the design of this much-needed platform in a way that suits the community’s needs. Along with more traditional services, NBF Connect allows users to gain invaluable insight into a wide range of non-banking offerings, all provided by fellow companies. They can get to know about various services being offered and get in touch for any specific needs – and who better to assist than fellow businesses going through similar experiences in 2020?
Offers access to a community
“One of the guiding ideas behind NBF Connect was the power of community,” explains Devid Jegerson, Head of Customer Experience and Platform Development. “During the pandemic, the repeated message was we’re all in this together – and we strongly believe this message should continue being voiced by the country’s banking and business sector as we adapt to the new climate in order to thrive. That is why the community aspect of the platform is integral.” Community features include a discussion platform where SME’s can engage in industry-focused conversations such as the opportunities and challenges that currently exist.
News and events
Knowledge is power, as the saying goes. By using the NBF Connect platform, registered users have access to the latest SME news with insights about key business trends and updates. “The more you know, the more you grow,” explains Jegerson. “As a UAE business owner, keeping your finger on the pulse has never been more important.” The NBF platform also gives access to a calendar so users can stay up-to-date and participate in the latest featured SME events.
The Knowledge Hub on NBF Connect is a space for SMEs to get practical guidance on everything from how to file VAT and manage accounts, to offering concise articles on issues like how to motivate employees. This allows others to share topics and comment, once again tapping into the sense of community. “The Knowledge Hub is a great example of how NBF has responded directly to the needs and requests of SMEs,” says Jegerson. “The platform has been designed as a genuinely indispensable aid for individuals who often don’t have time to seek out business coaches or chase information from multiple sources. This model is something special and a potential game-changer for the SME sector.”
A full range of business services
Whether you are nurturing a new company or are at the helm of an established corporation, NBF’s SME division can provide knowledge, products and services that will help your business succeed in the UAE. On the new platform there is a fantastic suite of business services provided by fellow SMEs such as HR services, legal support, e-commerce, digital tools, and marketplace management to meet every SME need. The platform also allows each SME to become a service provider and start provisioning product and services to the community.
NBF Connect will be an important part of the business ecosystem as notable partners like Etisalat and Visa join hands with NBF to offer a range of non-banking services and knowledge base to empower business owners with the right tools and support them to move ahead in their journey.
Online banking support
The platform offers registered users real-time banking at their fingertips. Clients get access to NBF’s secure online banking service whenever they like, wherever they need it. This includes banking queries and online applications for finance, as well as the usual monthly transactions.
The platform also addresses one of the main pain points of SMEs: opening an online bank account in a quick and straightforward manner. NBF Connect users can easily open a business bank account online within a simple-to-navigate system. One less headache!
SMEs in the UAE interested in joining the platform can register on https://smeconnect.nbf.ae/NBFSMEConnect/