Gulf Finance Corporation has launched trade finance solutions for SMEs in the UAE, adding to the growing support provided by alternative lenders in the country.

Gulf Finance’s products include letters of credit bonds and guarantees starting at a minimum of AED50,000 (US$13,600) and with a minimum tenor of 30 days.

“The UAE has developed into a regional trading hub and our research shows that there is a gap in the market for the position of trade finance services to SMEs and microbusinesses,” says David Hunt, the company’s CEO.

“By launching our trade finance facility we hope to close this gap by fulfilling SMEs’ requirements for both short and long-term liquidity, making it affordable and accessible for SMEs to engage in real cross-border trade transactions. Our own market research, the recently launched Gulf Finance SME Sentiment Survey, tells us that 20% of our customers are looking to expand into new markets.”

A wholly-owned subsidiary of Shuaa Capital, Gulf Finance offers financing solutions to UAE-based SMEs, including small business loans, business vehicle finance, working capital, asset finance, invoice finance, medical equipment finance and marine finance.

In the past few months, alternative lenders have been actively providing trade finance for SMEs in the UAE, with Beehive (the country’s first peer-to-peer platform) offering invoice financing, Singapore-based ApexPeak acquiring Dubai tech start-up Cashnomix in a bid to establish a presence in the UAE, and Tawreeq launching a shariah-compliant supply chain finance solution.