Empowering SMEs with Islamic Finance

Bali, Indonesia - 26 September, 2016: Produce, meat and dry goods at the Badung Market in Denpasar

By Danis Nurul Yunita and Nur Dhani Hendranastiti

The success story of SMEs in Indonesia began to attract public attention from their strength during the financial crisis in 1998. However, their true potential has not yet been fully actualised due to their difficulty in securing financing from conventional banking. The authors argue that Islamic banks can play a key role on the provision of instruments and capital SMEs need in order to grow, and create a better wealth distribution in the society at large.


Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs), in many countries, act as the backbone of development with great socio-economic significance. Their contribution to the socio-economic development was channelled through the reduction of unemployment numbers, the improvement of economic stability and the growth of real income per capita. Even though SMEs have many advantages, they are constrained by a number of factors, including lack of human resources, skills, training and difficulty in accessing formal credit.1  Indeed, those obstacles have hampered SMEs’ ability to realise its potential and getting developed.  This article attempts to explain the availability of Islamic financial institutions and how it has been putting their efforts in accommodating the financing needs of SMEs. Using survey data collected by Central Bank of Indonesia, consisting of 4,752 SMEs, this article also provides characteristics of SMEs, and how supporting them can affect their ability to obtain financing from Islamic financial institutions.

The success story of SMEs in Indonesia began to attract public attention from their strength during the dark ages of Asian financial crisis in 1998. At that time, SMEs contributed to employment growth and steady decline in poverty rate.2 In addition, SMEs have higher contribution towards economic growth compared to large enterprises, due to SMEs’ independency from formal market and credit, implying that they have the flexibility to respond to any changes compared to the large enterprises.3 Statistically, Indonesia Ministry of Cooperatives and SMEs acknowledged that SMEs have been contributing for approximately 58% of national GDP as well as a significant 97,16% to job creation.4

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About the Authors

Danis Nurul Yunita is currently pursuing a Master Degree in Islamic Finance and Management, Durham University. Her research interest areas are Islamic Banking, Microfinance, Islamic Accounting and Islamic Management.


Nur Dhani Hendranastiti is currently pursuing her PhD in Islamic Finance in Durham University after obtaining an MSc in Islamic Finance from Durham University and BSc in Economics majoring in Financial Management from Universitas Indonesia. Her research interests are in the fields related with Islamic finance, sustainable development, and SMEs.


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The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The World Financial Review.