Poland’s government has made a high-profile effort to help small businesses access capital in the past few years, through a combination of loan instruments, state guarantees and tax credits.
It’s starting to work: the latest data show that only 4 percent of Polish MSME loan applications are rejected by banks - about half the European average of 8 percent.
But access to capital is not the end of the story. When a business accepts a loan, that opens the door to new questions about how to manage and leverage the funds - questions that small business owners often need helping trying to answer.
Filling the “Knowledge Gap” for Small Business Owners
This is where fintech Metis.finance enters the picture. Co-founder Michal Swierczynski worked at several small businesses early in his career, and learned about the needs of small business owners. “Running a successful business isn’t only about acquiring financing, but also having the knowledge, skills and tools to really understand the financial aspects of the company,” he said. “Many small business owners aren’t finance experts, and we’re here to fill in that gap.”
Metis is also responding to the fact that many of the most well-known small business services that are commonplace in countries like the US are often not available in Poland - they’re either too expensive, or are designed for the needs of larger companies.
When a small business owner signs on to the Metis platform, they interact with an AI-based financial “advisor” that answers questions and provides suggestions around everyday financial tasks like budgeting, controlling and invoice management. If the advisor concludes that the SME needs additional financing, Metis suggests tailored product options offered by their institutional partners.
Michal Swierczynski, Co-Founder of Metis.finance
Metis.finance has visions beyond Poland. Swierczynski sees the potential to treat similar pain points for MSMEs in neighboring countries in Central Eastern Europe, and is looking to expand to Hungary.
As Communications Director at Village Capital, Ben works on sharing what we’ve learned from our work in order to amplify our impact and help catalyze the fields of impact investing and entrepreneur support.