Behind every Budweiser, Stella Artois, Corona (or any one of our 500 brands worldwide) is a local network of millions of entrepreneurs. Farmers who grow the barley, hops, cassava, sorghum and other crops to brew our beers. Bar and restaurant owners running your favorite hangout. Neighborhood shops where you pick up essentials. Without these small and medium sized businesses (SMBs), AB InBev could not exist – we depend on each other to succeed.
For years AB InBev has been making investments and developing solutions to help our partners build more profitable and sustainable businesses. Financial technology (known as ‘fintech’) is a big need as these platforms often solve some of most critical issues faced by SMB owners, such as limited funding to support and grow their businesses, and accurate management of sales, expenses and financial records.
In 2020, when pandemic lockdowns disrupted or completely halted operations for many SMBs, AB InBev had fintech solutions at the ready. Z-Tech, our global technology and innovation hub, offered its digital financial tools to more than 100,000 SMBs across Latin America, enabling them to move their transactions online. For unbanked retailers who could not access fair credit and financial services, Z-Tech together with fintech companies such as Konfio, Tienda Pago, and KEO, extended over 100 million USD in emergency credit to provide cash flow and working capital to help SMBs in Latin America recover from the pandemic, as well as sustain and grow their businesses.
“Z-Tech is committed to empowering SMBs through technology and amplifying their access to financial services; such as digital payment accounts and credit, to support their growth and recovery,” says Francisco Prisco, CEO of Z-Tech. “More than 100,000 SMBs have already joined our platform and our mission is to continue helping in the digital transformation of these businesses and, together with AB InBev, positively impact our communities through new technology.”
Z-Tech also offers its own fintech platforms, Donus and SiHay. Donus is used by tens of thousands of small businesses and provides a debit card, credit services, point-of-sale system and credit, and a simple smartphone app to monitor transactions and access funds placed in a secure digital wallet. SiHay helps owners manage their inventory and digitize their sales.
To support smallholder farmers and other SMBs, such as independent bottle and can recyclers, AB InBev is building a foundation for transparency and financial empowerment working with partners like BanQu. The blockchain enabled platform helps solve common issues like a lack of record-keeping and lack of digital identity that can often make it difficult for many SMBs to access banking services. BanQu makes it easy for farmers and recyclers to have more transparency in pricing and selling their products, to keep a history of their transactions and also enables more secure payments through mobile money or mobile banking.
“Access to finance is essential to empowering entrepreneurs across our value chain, and technology can be a key enabler in promoting that access,” says Katie Hoard, Global Director - Agricultural Innovation & Sustainability at AB InBev. “AB InBev will continue to invest in partnerships and platforms that will contribute to building enduring and prosperous businesses.”