It now serves about 400,000 SMEs through its 13 marketplace partners across 7 countries and will continue to grow its network in Asia and Africa next year
AS MORE small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) begin their digitalisation journeys, business-to-business (B2B) marketplace network Proxtera has been hard at work to help companies connect with each other more easily online.
Back in 2018, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) launched Business sans Borders (BSB), an initiative to create an open connector for SMEs to reach business platforms, trade associations, government bodies, financial services and other service providers.
Launched in 2020, BSB through the private entity Proxtera has grown to serve about 400,000 SMEs through its 13 marketplace partners across 7 countries.
Currently, new cross-platform and cross-border trades have been conducted in areas such as fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) and agriculture products.
It is not sitting still either. The company will continue to grow its network in Asia and Africa next year to provide domestic ecosystems and their SMEs with easy and direct access to the growing global digital economy.
It will also expand its embedded financial services for SMEs and businesses to include a wider set of financial empowerment tools with third-party providers.
These initiatives will build on its success in facilitating cross-border trade and financial services between a number of partner countries across Asean nations as well as other African markets.
“With a single integration point, Proxtera facilitates instant access to broader marketplaces and services through smart search through its open application programming interface (API), smart recommendation, and matching of platforms for service providers; including those from banks, fintech’s, and logistics through its artificial intelligence (AI) machine learning core,” Winston Nesfield, programme lead, Proxtera, said.
To create this single integration point, the company works with B2B platforms, eCommerce platforms and service providers through Proxtera Connect, its marketplace network.
This widens the scope of products that users on these B2B platforms can access, allowing them to connect to different buy-and-sell options and new services to complete their trade journey without the need to leave the original platform they were using.
Among its different marketplace partnerships, the company has worked with the likes of Singapore’s Eezee and Malaysia’s Dropee to assist SMEs with procurement and connect businesses with other wholesale sellers as well.
Platform creators can even work with Proxtera’s solution partners, such as Sourcesage and Globallinker, to create their own purpose-built marketplace platforms and integrate them easily with Proxtera’s network.
For instance, the company previously worked with the Trade Promotion Council of India to develop a Proxtera-connected digital platform, allowing members to increase their brand and product reach.
In February, the company partnered with digital-payments platform Tazapay to offer Proxtera Protect, a digital escrow service for SMEs looking to trade globally.
At the time, Proxtera programme director Shirish Jain said that Proxtera Protect would help to “bridge the trust gap that hinders cross-border trade” and complement Proxtera’s goal of unlocking new trade and business opportunities for SMEs around the world.
Through the partnership, Tazapay provides secure background checks on both buyers and sellers, and holds funds until both parties confirm delivery and receipt of goods. Monies are returned to the buyer if a shipment fails to arrive.
“Proxtera has also openly worked with a growing list of embedded financial services providers for offerings such as remittance and escrow, as well as non-financial service providers such as logistics, to smoothen the connectivity and trade flows for the participating networks,” Nesfield said.
In April, the company signed a memorandum of understanding with the Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry to create a trading network on the back of Singapore’s free trade agreement arrangements.
As part of the collaboration, Proxtera will help trade association members to join the network with quick onboarding and enhanced connectivity.
“By driving more trade and financial services options, Proxtera continues to help its domestic partners and SMEs across the globe to build business resiliency by diversifying supply chain options, and enhancing financial empowerment within each connected country,” said Nesfield.
Proxtera also welcomes new investors interested in the public-private partnership.