2019 Challenge for Goal 9

Supported by Standard Chartered


Lead 2030 Challenge SDG 9- Supported by Standard Chartered
How can we re-imagine solutions to finance the growth of SMEs and trade to unlock prosperity for the world’s communities?

Sustainable Development Goal 9 (SDG 9) is based on three interconnected pillars: infrastructure, industry and innovation. How can we re-imagine these as facilitators of growth and development in a connected world? 80% of world trade is believed to be intermediated through global supply chains. 90% of business worldwide is driven by small and medium sized enterprises, in turn driving up to 60% of employment. 80% of global merchandise annual trade flows rely on financing from financial institutions. Financial services are the lifeblood of commerce, commerce in turn driven by entrepreneurs and small businesses. In developing countries in particular, one of the main barriers to the growth of SMEs is a lack of access to finance, including trade finance; limiting the mobilisation of resources, growth in prosperity and flourishing of communities. Supporting SMEs and trade worldwide and in particular developing markets, plays a key role in helping to advance SDG 9.

We work with clients to generate positive environmental and social impacts from our lending activities in sectors as varied as infrastructure and microfinance. In 2017, we funded and facilitated $1.2 billion towards clean technology and made $1 billion available to microfinance institutions for onward lending to entrepreneurs in 2016 and 2017:

  • We have mobilised more than USD5 billion to tackle some of the world’s most difficult development challenges through Blended Finance with our Public Sector and Development Organisation clients.  
  • We have provided advisory, financing, debt structuring services and policy advice for $25 billion of infrastructure projects, including $4 billion toward clean technology 
  • In 2018 we banked 8,000 of our clients’ international and domestic networks of suppliers and buyers through banking the ecosystem programmes
  • Leveraged technology and created Breeze Biz for SMEs, providing discerning business owners an easy-to-use platform of information and networking opportunities, to help them in the next step of their growth journey.

Standard Chartered is proud to support the Lead2030 Challenge for SDG 9.  We will focus the challenge on target 9.3. Increase the access of small-scale industrial and other enterprises, in particular in developing countries, to financial services, including affordable credit, and their integration into value chains and markets.

At the same time, traditional models of banking and financial services are changing, with the potential to fundamentally transform. This transformation is being driven by innovation and technology in an ever more connected world; already changing the way we perceive communities, and certainly the way we should think about financial services.

How can innovation support new ways of banking - from intermediating financing to information, connection and trust (re-broadening the definition of financial services) - to provide more businesses and communities with the means to grow, more quickly? How can we collaborate - on ideas, technology, across industries and borders to serve those who cannot easily access support from banks and financial institutions?

We are looking for solutions that creatively address the need to grow access to banking & financial services to support, in particular, trade and SMEs. In doing so, solutions will be characterised by how they support:

  • Communities: growing the economic vibrancy of communities of entrepreneurs and businesses in and across our footprint
  • Networks: connecting communities & ecosystems through commerce, information and communication
  • Participation: creating engagement and mobilisation for the purpose of sustainable development and prosperity

Standard Chartered has supported trade, commerce and prosperity across Asia, Africa and the Middle East since 1853. How will we do this in 2030’s world? Are you ready to rewire the DNA in Banking? Show us your vision for communities, trade and prosperity in the future. We are proud to support the Lead 2030 Challenge for SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation & Infrastructure. 

Application deadline: 5 January 2020


  1. Aligned: Evidently aligned with the SDG9 challenge. See ‘Challenge outline’.

  2. Youth-led: Founded by a person aged 18 – 30.

  3. Focused: Well-structured time horizon, identified key stakeholders and beneficiaries, and proposed outcomes that are reasonable and well thought out.

  4. Proven: Readily available, in or past implementation phase.

  5. Impactful: Solutions must have a positive social impact, for example generating employment, or developing skills.

  6. Measurable: Impacts of solutions must have been adequately measured and/or be measurable.

  7. Financially viable: Must be able to achieve efficiency and to survive independently through the resources they generate and/or the investments and donations they attract.

  8. Scalable: Potential to perform as well or better after expanding in scope or size and/or being transported to other regions.


The winning solution will receive

  • A US$50,000 grant from Standard Chartered

  • 12 months of mentorship from a team of Standard Chartered professionals. The mentorship team will work to accelerate your solution based on the needs of your initiative or organization, such as:

    • Business strategy

    • Best practices for data collection

    • Monitoring and evaluation

    • Product design