Press Release: COVID-19 MSME Fund Nepal

Press Release: COVID-19 MSME Fund Nepal


27 October 2020

One to Watch, NMB Bank, Laxmi Bank, and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation join forces to support Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Nepal.

Kathmandu, Nepal - One to Watch, with support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC, and in partnership with NMB Bank and Laxmi Bank, has announced the launch of a COVID-19 MSME Fund Nepal.

“Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises are the backbone of Nepal’s economy. They employ a large share of the workforce and are drivers of innovation and new job creation. Their rebound, therefore, will set the foundation for overall economic recovery. As a long standing development partner of Nepal, SDC is proud to be able to support this initiative together with private sector partners.”, said H.E. Elisabeth von Capeller, Ambassador of Switzerland to Nepal.

The Fund seeks to support MSMEs that are struggling to cope with the challenges brought forth by COVID-19 by providing them with bridge financing in order to meet the working capital needs and technical assistance, in the form of business development services, to be able to retain employees, preserve business continuity, and build resilience. The Fund is expected to support up to 100 MSMEs continue their businesses and help them retain up to 1000 jobs.

“In unprecedented times like these, the Fund will leverage One to Watch’s expertise in investment and business development, its robust network of investors and entrepreneurs to identify and support high-impact SMEs. Hopefully, this initiative will be a “pilot” that can be scaled with participation from more bank partners”, said Suman Joshi, Managing Partner, One to Watch.

“As a Retail and MSE focused bank, we are hopeful this collaboration will directly benefit credit-worthy smaller entrepreneurs who require access to bank loans in order to sustain their businesses and livelihoods during an economy under stress. We believe that MSMEs need special attention and support at this point in time and this sector will play a key role in helping the economy revive and regain momentum over the medium and long term.", stated Ajaya Bikram Shah, CEO, Laxmi Bank.

The Fund will provide collateral-free loans for a period of up to 18 months to MSMEs that have the strong potential to bounce back based on a pre-determined set of criteria. Additionally, a subset of such firms will also be provided with business development support that are tailored to meet the needs of beneficiary enterprises.

“NMB Bank is focused on Sustainable Banking and MSMEs are key drivers for sustainable growth of the economy. Businesses across a range of economic sectors, especially MSMEs, are the most vulnerable and facing losses. To support their revival plan, NMB, as a partner bank, is committed to providing collateral-free loans to those highly impacted by the current crisis. NMB is open to more alliances focused on providing support to such initiatives.”, expressed Sunil KC, Chief Executive Officer, NMB Bank.

Interested business may now apply for the loan by filling in the application form at:

About the Organizations

One to Watch

One to Watch (OTW) is an investment management company based in Nepal, the Netherlands and Myanmar. OTW works with high potential small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in frontier markets in Asia, currently Nepal and Myanmar- providing them access to finance to realize their growth potential and enhance stakeholder value measured by creation of local jobs, climate protection, and financial returns, while providing excellent service to investors.

Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) is the agency for international cooperation of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA). Swiss international cooperation, which is an integral part of the Federal Council's foreign policy, aims to contribute to a world without poverty and in peace, for sustainable development. It fosters economic self-reliance and state autonomy, contributes to the improvement of production conditions, helps address environmental problems, and ensures better access to education and basic healthcare services.


FMO is the Dutch entrepreneurial development bank. Its mission is to empower entrepreneurs to build a better world. It invests in over 85 countries, supporting jobs and income generation in order to improve people’s lives in the parts of the world where it can make the biggest difference. Its role extends beyond financing, as it help businesses to operate and grow transparently in an environmentally and socially responsible manner.

NMB Bank

NMB Bank Limited licensed as “A” class financial institution has been operating in the Nepalese financial market for over twenty years and is one of the leading commercial banks in the banking industry. Its vision is to build communities through responsible banking, preferred by all stakeholders, enabling customers and clients achieve their financial goals thus contributing towards prosperous Nepal.

The bank without losing its commercial bank essence has yet embarked on a journey different than its competitions by becoming a first member of Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV) from Nepal. Hence, sustainable banking guided by the principles of Values Based Banking remains at the core of NMB Bank. Additionally, NMB as a representative of Net Zero Asset Owner Alliance (AOA), was recently inducted into the steering committee of The Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials (PCAF), an industry-led initiative to measure and disclose greenhouse gas emissions financed by loans and investments.

Laxmi Bank

Laxmi Bank Ltd. was incorporated in April 2002 as the 16th commercial bank in Nepal. Its vision is to be the bank of choice for a growing, vibrant Nepal – reaching and enriching households, businesses and communities.

Today, through its branches and a host of IT enabled channels, the bank serves a wide range of customers. Despite a relatively short history, Laxmi Bank has emerged as a major player across all business lines – retail, midmarket, corporate, infrastructure and treasury. The bank is widely recognized as one of the best-managed banks in Nepal with high standards of corporate governance culture, risk-management systems and a strong technology.

Contact Person:

Alice Thet

Head of Communications, One to Watch