In September we announced our £10m grant win from the Capability and Innovation Fund (CIF), which is a part of the Banking Competition Remedies (BCR). The award will allow us to support more SMEs with the funding they need to expand and thrive. The whole team at MarketFinance is hugely excited about our next steps that we’ll be making with the grant.

The BCR requires all grant winners to hold themselves accountable in how the money is used. Transparency is an important principle for us at MarketFinance and visibility is a key component of our ethos, as it is to the BCR. Part of the way we’re upholding these standards is through sharing our public commitments and by creating two separate committees to oversee spending.

We’re delighted to announce that Shalini Khemka, alongside Baroness Susan Kramer, will serve as a Member of the Company's Grant Supervisory Committee. The committee has been established to oversee the governance of this grant.

Shalini is CEO and Director of the UK’s largest entrepreneur network, E2Exchange, as well as an advisor to several government committees. We can’t wait to get started together on our shared goal of helping SMEs get the funding they need to grow.

What is the BCR and how are we using the grant?

BCR is an independent entity that was set up under the Alternative Remedies Package to encourage SME lending. It’s vetted by the Treasury, the European Commission and the Royal Bank of Scotland. We’re thrilled by the opportunity the BCR grant gives us to help more SMEs across the country.

When we applied to the fund, we had to be clear about exactly how we’d use the money and how it will positively affect SMEs. We’re promising to offer SMEs better choices through a range of tailored funding solutions. The grant will allow us to facilitate and develop our products and reach. We’re also going to focus on helping younger, smaller SMEs and sole traders access funding, working with even more businesses across the UK.

Our final aim is to partner up with other innovative fintechs and banks to create well-rounded digital solutions. We want SMEs to have access to one simple interface with multiple funding solutions that are all easy to use and support different areas of their finances.

The Grant Supervisory Committee (GSC)

SMEs should be able to access funding more easily, and it should be better adapted to their needs. We were founded on the idea of creating better competition for banks, which ultimately benefits SMEs as their needs are amplified.

All the businesses BCR have awarded a grant to must commit to open accountability and proper governance. We’ve laid out an independent governance structure to make sure our public commitments are upheld, and that we use the money exactly as we’ve promised to. We’ve established two separate committees to check the ways we draw down on funds and report to BCR, along with independent assurance and a control framework.

The first committee – the Programme Implementation Committee – will coordinate decision making on a day-to-day basis (everything from staffing decisions to resource allocation). It’s chaired by our CFO, Tom Stenhouse, along with other members of our leadership team.

This committee is accountable to a Grant Supervisory Committee, which is made up of two internal members of the leadership team, two board members and two external advisors. Their role is to supervise how we use our grant funds. In real terms what this means is that members assess and report on what we’re doing directly to BCR on a quarterly basis. They have the final say on how these funds are used, including over any changes to original plans. We are looking forward to working with Shalini Khemka on the GSC.

Shalini Khemka

Shalini is the CEO and Board Director of E2Exchange (E2E), which she founded in 2011, as well as government advisor. With 23,000 members contributing £213 billion to the UK economy and employing 1.15 million people, E2E is the largest and most active network of entrepreneurs. Shalini describes it as ‘match.com for businesses’ and is enthusiastic about the collaboration this community fosters.

E2E helps finance high growth businesses, as well as recruiting non-executive directors for SMEs. Essentially the business is a connector, allowing individuals to grow their businesses. Helping small businesses succeed is part of her day-to-day, which makes her the perfect addition to advise our Grant Supervisory Committee.

Shalini’s government advisory experience is focused on committees that support British business. Currently she’s a member of the main Board and Audit Committee on UK Export Finance (UKEF). The aim of this committee is to support exports for UK companies of any size, across all sectors. UKEF helps to provide attractive financing terms, working capital loans and insures against buyer default.

As a Member of the Mayor of London’s Business Advisory Board, Shalini has had an impact on the economic support businesses have had recently. During the pandemic she’s been part of the Business Action Council, which provides a voice to represent the challenges and issues facing SMEs. And, to top it all off, she’s heading up the Employee Retention Scheme Subgroup.

When government business support scheme deadlines drew nearer, Shalini was an important figure in securing extensions. She put forward a second policy paper asking for changes to the scheme, considered short-term working and a flexible working initiative. Her main focus is in helping employers keep employees on and avoiding mass redundancies.

Shalini is an instrumental supporter of SMEs in the UK and we are extremely excited to start working together following our BCR grant win. Her insights will be invaluable to us as we build a unique digital offering that supports SMEs right now as well as in the long-term. The whole team here at MarketFinance is excited to be working with Shalini and Baroness Susan Kramer.