Nigerian fintech firm, Lidya, has launched SME lending platforms in Poland and the Czech Republic

Tunde Kehinde of Lidya (Ventureburn)
  • Lidya plans to disburse €1 billion ($1.1 billion) loan to SMEs in both countries over the next five years.
  • Tomasz Sekalski, the former CEO of Idea Money, will lead Lidya in Poland, and Libor Vanicek, the former Head of Retail Banking for ING Bank will lead the firm in the Czech Republic.
  • Since 2016, Lidya has raised close to $10m – founded by Tunde Kehinde, who also co-founded Jumia Nigeria, and Ercin Eksin, former CEO of Jumia Nigeria and COO of Jumia Africa.

Lidya, the digital SME lender, has launched its services in Poland and the Czech Republic, the company said.

This is Lidya's first international expansion into Europe since its establishment in Lagos, Nigeria, in 2016.

The expansions now add to the company's operations in New York, Lagos, Porto, Warsaw, and Prague. Partnering with banks, payments processors, and consumer brands, Lidya provides loans within 24 hours to SMEs in fast-growing economies and proud itself on a mission to create 100 million jobs worldwide.

Ercin Eksin said, “We have built a world-class business that is helping SMEs to access the credit they need to grow, often for the first time. Our technology is proven in Nigeria where we have helped thousands of businesses to create wealth and employment. Improving access to credit for SMEs is a global problem and we have ambitious international expansion plans to meet this challenge.

Through Lidya, we have the opportunity to empower the growth of SMEs in Africa, Europe and around the world. SMEs create the most number of jobs and significantly contribute to GDP. We are on a mission to support the creation of 100 million jobs in fast-growing economies.

The Central and Eastern European region is home to some of the fastest-growing economies in the world, with the region being a key global trading partner and a hub for financial services. Lidya’s launch in the region is led by Tomasz Sekalski, the former CEO of Idea Money, one of the largest lenders in Poland, and Libor Vanicek, the former Head of Retail Banking for ING Bank Czech Republic. Tomasz and Libor join as Country Directors for Poland and the Czech Republic, respectively.

Tunde Kehinde, said, “We see a big opportunity to expand into the region given our technology, history of execution and uniquely talented team. We plan to disburse 1 billion euros to small businesses in Poland and the Czech Republic and over the next five years and are excited to have Tomasz and Libor, two seasoned executives with deep experience in the market lead our expansion into the region.”

To date, Lidya said it has dispersed more than 10,000 loans in Nigeria and will become the biggest SME digital lender in the market by the end of the year.

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