e& enterprise, part of e&, has announced the signing of a binding 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 investors, both private and institutional, offering conventional as well as Sharia-compliant loans. The company boasts of facilitating over AED 1.5 billion worth of loans.
With this acquisition, e& enterprise will be able to provide an innovative lending solution to address the $250 billion SME credit gap1 across the GCC region by combining its strong brand positioning with a Fintech platform. This also marks the next step in e& enterprise’s expansion, as the move demonstrates its commitment to opening new avenues of growth across the UAE and in the region while enabling Beehive to scale its business and expand its offerings.
The acquisition is in line with the UAE’s National Agenda for Entrepreneurship, which aims to establish the country as an entrepreneurial nation by 2031.
Salvador Anglada, CEO, e& enterprise, said, “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.”
Meanwhile, Craig Moore, Beehive’s founder and CEO, said, “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 Fintechs, this is a validation of the Beehive team’s incredible effort over the last 9 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 the use of data-driven credit scoring. The regulatory structure is also evolving rapidly in the region, fostering a conducive environment for both liquidity providers and borrowers.