Mastercard and Pemo, a UAE-based fintech startup that supports businesses across the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan (MENAP), have initiated a strategic partnership to promote cashless, flexible expense management for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in the UAE.
The move supports the country’s ambitions to strengthen its thriving SME ecosystem.
Announced during Fintech Surge at GITEX 2023, the collaboration aims to support the drive towards a cashless economy by providing SMEs with access to digital spend management solutions that empower them to scale and grow. Combining digital and contactless payment technology, Pemo’s physical and virtual corporate cards allow businesses to digitize and automate the spend management process, including one-click invoice payments and real-time cash flow monitoring for full visibility over spending habits.
The partnership will provide Pemo Mastercard Corporate cardholders with access to a range of features that enable them to boost productivity, save on business and leisure expenses and unleash business growth. The program will also connect SME cardholders to over 150 merchant discounts through the Easy Saving Specials (ESS) platform. ESS is an SME-exclusive global redemption-based program with time-limited merchant offers redeemed at checkout. These include discounts and offers on much-needed services, such as Google Workspace, DocuSign, Google Ads, Meta Ads and Notion, as well as flexible workspace.
Cardholders will also be able to make use of travel and entertainment benefits, including access to airport lounges across the Middle East, airport concierge and discounts on on-demand car rides and car rental services.
In addition, those who activate the cards before the end of the year will receive an exclusive, limited-time offer of up to 1% cashback on corporate advertising for three months.
“At Mastercard, we are dedicated to connecting businesses big and small with better ways to make payments and manage expenses. Our innovative payment solutions empower businesses with enhanced efficiency, transparency, and control. We are delighted to partner with Pemo as we continue to work towards our commitment of bringing 50 million micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) worldwide into the digital economy by 2025,” said Gina Petersen-Skyrme, Vice President and Country Business Development Lead, UAE & Oman, Mastercard, Mastercard.
“We are thrilled to partner with Mastercard, who shares our vision to promote cashless spend management solutions for businesses in the UAE. We are specifically geared and catered towards SMEs, and we are well aware of their pain points. For all too long, SMEs have faced challenges when it comes to keeping a tight rein on their finances and expense management processes. Lack of visibility and cumbersome manual processes literally slow the whole operation and business down. Thanks to our partnership with Mastercard, we're giving back to SMEs. Now, companies can operate even more efficiently using innovative technology and rewarding solutions that empower their businesses to grow. We are proud that Pemo Mastercard Corporate card holders will have access to a range of benefits that will actively help them expand their business and save money at the same time,” said Valerie Konde, Co-Founder of Pemo.
SMEs comprise 94% of the total number of companies operating in the UAE, accounting for 40% of the GDP in Dubai alone. Corporate spending with SMEs is typically done using personal cards or petty cash, which is why the reconciliation process can take a significant amount of time, is subject to errors and provides insufficient spend control. Furthermore, SMEs often miss out on some of the perks that larger corporates typically enjoy. Pemo Mastercard Corporate cards aim to address these issues.
The announcement follows a phenomenal year of success for Pemo, with more than 1,000 businesses now using the platform. Since its launch in April 2022, the company has secured $12 million in seed funding, with the investment being used for product development and expansion across MENA.