Tough Challenges, New Possibilities: interview with Blake Rosenthal

Welcome to ‘Tough Challenges, New Possibilities’, the interview series that asks world-class business advisors and executives to reflect on success and key challenges for small businesses in difficult times. We spoke to Blake Rosenthal, a leader with over two decades of experience in the banking industry executing growth strategies and business development.

What’s the biggest challenge small businesses face coming out of the pandemic?

Small firms form the backbone of our local economies and communities, representing nearly 90% of businesses, employing 70% of all workers and delivering half of global GDP. COVID-19 has unsurprisingly had a huge impact with one in five small businesses having closed. Now, their challenges are about getting paid, getting digital, and getting capital. We’ve committed $350m of financial technology products to help small businesses and are investing hugely in financial inclusion and female empowerment projects.

Blake Rosenthal

How can technology enable small businesses to make a difference?

For half a century, Mastercard has been transforming how people pay and get paid. We believe technology is critical for small businesses and our commitment to innovation includes supporting businesses through the consumer payment experience and building a more inclusive financial system. We’re working to build a business economy that connects everyone everywhere through transactions that are simple, smart and accessible. Small businesses need to become digital-first, data-driven and security-centred.

Blake Rosenthal

Where will the greatest gains be made for small businesses over the next decade?

Tremendous advances in innovation will enable small businesses to get paid, get digital and get capital almost seamlessly. This needs to happen because savvy young entrepreneurs emerging from the pandemic will be looking for the right solutions to make their businesses better. In America, we still check out in restaurants by signing a paper ticket and there’s a lot of waiting involved. All these interactions will be streamlined. There will be much more use of payment by phones and other mobile device. Tap on Phone (ToP), an acceptance solution that turns an Android mobile device into a point-of-sale device that accepts contactless payments, is the perfect example of how we’re helping every business get paid.

To read more of Blake Rosenthal’s insights, check out the full interview below.