Etisalat announced the agreement to acquire a majority stake in Beehive, MENA’s leading peer-to-peer digital platform, to tap into opportunities in the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) lending market.
Beehive, founded in 2014, leads the crowdfunding platform space in the UAE, with operations in KSA and Oman. It connects creditworthy SMEs seeking finance with private and institutional investors, offering conventional and Sharia-compliant loans.
The company recently reached the milestone of facilitating over AED 1.5 billion in loans. With this acquisition, e& enterprise will be able to provide an innovative lending solution to address the $250 billion SME credit gap across the GCC region, combining its strong brand positioning with a Fintech platform.
The acquisition aligns with UAE’s National Agenda for Entrepreneurship, which aims to establish the country as an entrepreneurial nation by 2031.
Salvador Anglada, CEO, e& enterprise commented: “The acquisition of Beehive’s digital lending
platform marks the second step in e& enterprise’s journey in the Fintech space, after the launch of UAE Trade Connect in 2021. SMEs are important drivers of the economy and there is a need more than ever to support their unique financing needs. With Beehive, we have the right technological innovation to accelerate on our agenda in the UAE and beyond.”
Craig Moore, Beehive’s Founder & CEO added, “This strategic alignment presents a huge opportunity to increase and accelerate financing to SMEs across the region. The market-leading brand, reach, and vision of e& and e& enterprise allows Beehive to drive more innovation and collaboration into the market. As one of the very first regional Fintech’s, this is a validation of the Beehive team’s incredible effort over the last nine years and reflects the vibrancy and success of the UAE’s start-up ecosystem.”
Traditional lending to SMEs is paper-intensive and relies on collateral and guarantees. Fintechs and
alternative lenders have recently stepped into this space introducing advancements such as one-time KYC, fast onboarding, and data-driven credit scoring. The regulatory structure is also rapidly evolving in the region, fostering a conducive environment for liquidity providers and borrowers.