Fintech firm Payfort launches Dh1m initiative to help start-ups amid Covid-19 pandemic

The Dubai-based firm will fund a three-month digital marketing campaign for more than 100 customers

Omar Soudodi, managing director of Payfort, said the company aims to help as many businesses as it can to come out of the crisis. Pawan Singh / The National 
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Amazon-owned Payfort is to spend Dh1 million backing its start-up and small business customers hit by tougher economic conditions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The #StartUpStayUp initiative will involve a three-month digital marketing campaign promoting more than 100 of its customers' businesses across a number of media channels, the Dubai-based financial technology firm said in a statement on Thursday.

These include organic, paid and influencer social media campaigns, video content production, email marketing campaigns and internal marketing promotions.

“The Payfort team understands that this is a critical time for many start-ups and small and medium businesses ... we aim to help as many businesses as we can to accept payments online quickly and improve the cash flow,” said Omar Soudodi, managing director of Payfort.

The new initiative aims to help businesses by increasing traffic on their websites, driving more sales. The company said the campaign will be launched in the UAE before being rolled out to Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

It has teamed up with Emirates NBD bank in the UAE, Commercial International Bank in Egypt and Saudi British Bank in Saudi Arabia to promote the campaign through customised announcements to a targeted audience.

“We are pleased to partner with Payfort in this initiative … [it] will provide our customers with attractive offers and benefits, providing enhanced value and convenience especially during this time,” said Suvo Sarkar,  group head of retail banking and wealth management at Emirates NBD, Dubai’s largest lender by assets.

Under the initiative, Payfort, which was founded in 2013 and bought by Amazon in 2017, will also promote participating businesses on its own digital channels and waive the maintenance fee it charges them. It is offering support to start-ups in more than 10 categories, including grocery, food and beverage, fashion, beauty, entertainment and e-learning, among others.

"Start-ups need support now more than ever … this initiative will lead them towards operational continuity and economic sustainability during these hard times,” said Rashwan Hammady, head of retail segment and product at CIB.

Saudi start-ups are facing “unprecedented challenges” due to the pandemic, said Khalid Almuammar, general manager, mid-market and SME at SABB.

“The impacts have resulted in widespread layoffs, in addition to companies shifting their strategy or pivoting their offering to continue. We aim to help new businesses to get off to a good start and contribute to a more diverse and sustainable economy,” he added.

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