PURPOSE: The traditional sources of financing (bank loans) cannot be treated as an essential source of financing for SMEs in developing countries. For this reason, this group of entities uses many alternative sources, from bootstrapping to microfinance and crowdfunding. During the last decade, a significant contribution in this area has been financial technology. The purpose of this study is threefold: 1) to present the role of financial technologies in financing SMEs, 2) to examine the role of entities based on financial technology in financing SMEs in developing countries, and 3) to consider other non-bank aspects of financing SMEs, leading to the improvement of the financial situation of these entities. The in-depth analysis of these entrepreneurial finance practices will be developed in the following papers presented in this Issue. METHODOLOGY: This study employs a theoretical approach based on a narrative literature review. The primary attention is focused on applying financial technology as a stimulant for the finance of SMEs in developing countries. FINDINGS: As a consequence of the financing gap for SMEs within the traditional financial system, these entities use non-bank financing based on financial technology. The research confirms that financial technology plays a crucial role in fostering the financial situation of SMEs in developing countries and providing greater financial inclusion for these entities. Both, financial technology and enterprises based on this technology contribute significantly to the improvement of efficiency of financing SMEs in emerging markets. They also provide a broader range of services, than were offered by the traditional financial sector. Regarding the other aspects of SME finance, it is essential to implement such ways of financing like microfinance services and crowdfunding. Such funding mechanisms, together with the budget process and the compliance under the conditions of e-tax systems, are important determinants of current entrepreneurial finance. IMPLICATIONS: The paper describes the financing of SMEs in developing countries. The in-depth picture of the SME’s financial situation, focusing on the technological development in this area, provides essential insight into this still poorly explored area. It also offers important premises for shaping the post-pandemic policy to support their further growth. ORIGINALITY/VALUE: Despite growing theoretical and empirical literature about entrepreneurship finance, this study aims to contribute to the role of financial technology in this area. The impact of financial technologies and the role of fintech-based entities on SME activity in developing countries are still poorly researched. Moreover, the research provides a brief overview of other SME funding sources and their determinants in this group of countries.
Keywords: financial technology, fintech, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), developing countries