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Aspire to offer Lazada S'pore merchants working capital loans within 3 hours

SINGAPORE-BASED lending startup Aspire has partnered Lazada to offer the e-commerce platform's Singapore merchants up to S$100,000 in working capital loans within three hours of application. 

The aim is to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) maintain operations and stay competitive amid Singapore's circuit-breaker period, said Aspire and Lazada in a joint statement on Tuesday. They noted that traditional banks typically take weeks to approve such applications. 

Joel Leong, Aspire co-founder and Singapore country head, said: “We hope to create a meaningful difference during these trying times, when local businesses cannot afford to wait for long approval processes during the circuit-breaker period."

Lazada Singapore's chief operating officer Carey Chong added that the tie-up will provide business owners with the flexibility to "pivot their strategy", as many entrepreneurs are now looking towards e-commerce to diversify their revenue streams. 

The offer is open to merchants that have been operating for at least three months on Lazada. They can apply online through Aspire’s website or MyInfo (CorpPass). The sign-up process takes only five minutes, said the joint statement. 

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Once the application is approved, working capital can be withdrawn immediately. There is no obligation to draw the full amount and Aspire will charge based only on drawn funds.

Aspire's website says interest rates start at 1 per cent per month; there is a processing fee of 2-4 per cent on the amount withdrawn. 

Aspire was founded in 2018 and operates across Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Singapore. Last August, the startup raised US$32.5 million from investors including Arc Labs and Y Combinator. 

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