NEWS

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On Thursday, March 8, Invest In Africa (IIA) – Kenya entered into a collaboration with Educate Global, a Kenyan - based private equity asset manager focused on education. Educate Global is a newly-formed fund management company aiming to invest in small and medium businesses, in sectors with direct impact on educational outcomes for children and young people in East Africa.

IIA is working to enhance SME access to skills, markets and finance in partnership with leading organizations in Kenya to drive job creation and enterprise development in the economy. IIA’s collaboration with Educate Global represents a significant opportunity to share networks and expertise to support SMEs across Kenya with vital skills, markets and access to finance.

Together with its Partners, IIA has built a unique, world-class online technology platform – The African Partner Pool (APP) that currently has a cross-sector database of over of over 1,300 vetted SMEs from Kenya. The platform directly links SMEs to procurement opportunities from larger organizations sourcing for goods and services locally and also offers capacity building to enable address their skills and knowledge gaps.

IIA Partners with Tullow Oil, Equity Bank, EY, Clyde & Co, Ecobank, Safaricom, Shell, Nation Media Group, AMSCO, Strathmore Business School, Keninvest, KEPSA among others.

Speaking at the launch of the Partnership, Wangechi Muriuki, COO Invest in Africa welcomed EGF to join its pool of leading Partners in advancing the agenda of SME growth and job creation in the economy. She stated that IIA is seeking to create 1 million jobs and connect SMEs to tenders worth USD 1billion.

“IIA is delighted to have EGF join our pool of partners. We are committed to building sustainable solutions to job creation and sustainable development in the country, and this partnership will go a long way in supporting our agenda’’, Wangechi said.

Sandrine Henton, Fund Manager at Educate Global, expressed her appreciation in Partnering with IIA, commenting: ‘’We are proud to partner with IIA and look forward to working together to support the growth of SMEs in Kenya.’’

For additional questions or information, please contact Denis Mbau on 0724988258 or denis.mbau@investinafrica.com

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As Printed in the Daily Graphic Newspaper by Elikem Kuenyehia) click here

Nearly ten years ago, Fuseini lost her job when the grant money dried up at the NGO where she worked. She couldn't find another job and her attempts at retraining as a teacher fell through when she couldn't find money to stay in the training programme. The gentle speaking Fuseini, turned to community work organising groups of people to join local peasants associations where they could learn improved farming methods. Camfed, an organisation dedicated to educating girls, chanced upon her and invited her into their peer-educator programme where she taught skills like financial literacy, entrepreneurship, conception and contraception to girls in school in English, and later to members of her community in Dagbanli. The lessons on conception and contraception she recalls,with glee, were enthusiastically received.

The 'Shea' strength of butter

When Camfed later invited her to submit a pitch for a business idea competition, she decided Shea butter production could transform her fortunes and improve the circumstances of many of the women she encountered through her community work. Fuseini had learned Shea butter extraction, as traditionally practised by women in the North, at her mother's side when growing up." As the third of ten children, she would pick the nuts and then help out in the painfully laborious process of peeling, shelling, pounding, boiling, roasting, and a few other tedious tasks in-between, before finally skimming off and cooling the finished butter from the waste residue. And for all this hard work, her mother -like many other women - never earned much selling the butter raw. Fuseini's big idea was to add value by creating consumer products like scented body lotions from great quality Shea butter. Her business· idea won some funding, and after training trips to India and mentoring in Accra, Fuseini started her journey and has walked that path ever since.

Fuseini started Asheba Enterprises in 2012 and has built it through grit and organisational acumen from her home into an operation that supports some 600 women in over seven communities in Tamale where she lives: She continues to train other women's groups on her improved production methods that fetch high prices for her high quality butter. Fuseini has built a production and storage facility to reduce the women's workload. She also offers pre-financing arrangements to the women to take away any financial barriers that could prevent those interested in making a living from production of the butter from getting involved. Asheba Enterprise's product-line currently include Shea-butter-based baby pomades, hair food, body creams and mosquito repellent. Asheba Enterprise also exports tonnes of 100% natural Shea butter for cosmetic, food and pharmaceuticals uses.

Entrepreneurially skilled women create local opportunities

Fuseini pays 'her women' well because their economic empowerment matters to her. The financial support they are now able to provide makes them independent and respected members of their households, the mother of two says.

 

While the Shea nut tree holds immense economic value in Ghana's northern savannah -with some estimates at $100M each year, it is these largely uneducated rural women who have processed the nuts into butter in the past for much less than its true economic value. Fuseini's success is evidence that empowering women with entrepreneurial skills makes them better able to recognise and exploit available economic opportunities for themselves and their communities. Kwegyir Aggrey's famous quote, "If you educate a woman, you educate an entire nation", rings true here as well.

Enrolling with IIA

Fuseini was admitted into Invest in Africa's (IIA) Business Linkage Programme (BLP) in 2016, where she received training and was assisted to develop a road map to improve governance and financial reporting of her business. With new business development skills and an appreciation of business partnerships from IIA sponsored legal sessions, she has been able to establish promising new relationships that would open up her products in international markets and increase her market presence in Ghana in coming months. The BLP is helping to turn Asheba Enterprise into a global growth-oriented business.

Fuseini-was recently named IIA woman entrepreneur of the year at the maiden IIA Business Excellence awards for her determination and social impact. She has also made it to the top ten finalists in MTN's Heroes of Change Season four in recognition of the economic and social change her business is bringing to her community. The GHS 100,000 cash prize could make a huge difference for the communities her work supports as she is already planning other activities.

Fuseini intends next to embark on a tree planting campaign and to raise awareness of the need to protect Shea nut trees which are increasingly cut for firewood and charcoal. As it takes up to 20 years for the trees, which grow mainly in the wild, to reach maturity and begin bearing fruit, Fuseini hopes to reverse this threat to tree populations and the livelihoods of-her women in the North.

Ayisha Fuseini has come a long way from her days trying to make-ends-meet to respected entrepreneur who sustainably exploits her community's resources to raise the economic circumstances of women and their families. This will likely remain Asheba Enterprise's greatest strength as it moves to expand into new markets.

To learn more about IIA's programme's, click here

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On Friday 27th April 2018, Invest In Africa Kenya hosted over 50 SMEs to a Breakfast Panel Discussion themed: “The SME financing gap - myth or reality?” at the Strathmore Business School in Nairobi.

The purpose of the forum was to foster the participation of and dialogue between SMEs and financiers on perceptions biases regarding SME financing if any and gain consensus on the way forward towards advancing the SME financing agenda in Kenya.

Perceptions about SME financing have metamorphosed over different sectors and these have influenced the behaviour of both SMEs and financiers. On one hand, financiers are perceived to have stringent lending conditions while on the other hand, SMEs are perceived to be a “risky lot.”

Some of the conversation angles discussed included:

  • Are there mistaken assumptions about SME finance?
  • Is the said huge SME financing gap a myth or a reality?
  • Do commercial banks understand how to finance SMEs?
  • Are SMEs in Kenya Investor ready
  • Do SMEs really understand how financing works?
  • Are all avenues explored or can more be done to improve access to finance?

 

Speaking at the forum, IIA- Kenya Country Manager, Wangechi Muriuki pointed out that “Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are the key drivers of growth in the Kenyan economy, creating about 90% of new jobs every year and contributing to about 25% of the country’s GDP.”

The growing attention and interest regarding SME development in Kenya has led to a more diversified pool of targeted funding options for SMEs ranging from debt to equity financing. More and more DFI’s are extending credit lines to commercial banks for lending to the SMEs while there is remarkable growth registered in Equity funding in the form of venture capitalists, angel investors, private equity funds, grants among other initiatives.

“Despite the growing number of targeted efforts for financing SMEs, the lack of ‘Access to Finance’ continually emerges as a critical factor affecting the growth and scaling up of SMEs in Kenya. It remains one of the most debated topics on matters SME”, she added.

Equity Bank’s Director of SME Banking Philip Sigwart highlighted that banks are generally considered to be averse to risk, he however noted the importance of protecting depositors’ money as this is what is used to onlend to those seeking credit facilities. He stated that Equity Bank disburses facilities amounting to Kes. 4 to 5 Billion monthly to SMEs.

Jeff Alondo, Head, Enterprise Banking, Stanbic Bank noted that 90% of SMEs in Kenya have access to finance from various sources. However, a considerable number do not keep records nor have business plans. Many of them do take a long term sustainability view of their businesses. He maintained that every SME should aim to build a company that will outlive them.

Martin Kiilu, Lead at Intellecap Impact Investment Network emphasized on the importance of developing a business vision. “Investors are not just looking for businesses to invest in but visions to invest in”, he said.

From an SME perspective, Myke Rabar, the CEO and Founder, Homeboyz Entertainment advised SMEs on the importance of being trustworthy to enable growth and business partnerships. He also reiterated that his company grew organically because of the unique nature of his business. He urged SMEs to capitalize on the finance options currently available based on the different stages of growth that the company lies in. Hadija Jama, Director, Darubini Screening Company Limited highlighted the importance of background checks and various screening interventions that SMEs can employ in their business to improve on their credit score and competence.

Professor Geoffrey Injeni, Faculty and Consultant at Strathmore Business School accentuated that they have training programs that assist SMEs to become investor ready and are working with customers of some financial institutions. Their focus is based on research led studies and business cases. This provides a more practical approach for SMEs to improve their businesses.

Invest In Africa is working to enhance SME access to skills, markets and finance in partnership with both leading organizations in Kenya in order to drive job creation and enterprise development in the economy.

Together with its Partners, IIA has built a unique, world-class online technology platform – The African Partner Pool (APP) that currently has a cross-sector database of over of over 1,300 vetted SMEs from Kenya. The platform directly connects SMEs with larger organizations sourcing for goods and services locally and also offers capacity building to enable address existing skill and knowledge gaps.

IIA Partners with Tullow Oil, Equity Bank, EY, Clyde & Co, Ecobank, Safaricom, Shell, Nation Media Group, AMSCO, Strathmore Business School, Keninvest, KEPSA among others.

For additional questions or information, please contact Denis Mbau on 0724988258 or denis.mbau@investinafrica.com

">

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Friday 27th April 2018, Invest In Africa Kenya hosted over 50 SMEs to a Breakfast Panel Discussion themed: “The SME financing gap - myth or reality?” at the Strathmore Business School in Nairobi.

The purpose of the forum was to foster the participation of and dialogue between SMEs and financiers on perceptions biases regarding SME financing if any and gain consensus on the way forward towards advancing the SME financing agenda in Kenya.

Perceptions about SME financing have metamorphosed over different sectors and these have influenced the behaviour of both SMEs and financiers. On one hand, financiers are perceived to have stringent lending conditions while on the other hand, SMEs are perceived to be a “risky lot.”

Some of the conversation angles discussed included:

  • Are there mistaken assumptions about SME finance?
  • Is the said huge SME financing gap a myth or a reality?
  • Do commercial banks understand how to finance SMEs?
  • Are SMEs in Kenya Investor ready
  • Do SMEs really understand how financing works?
  • Are all avenues explored or can more be done to improve access to finance?

 

Speaking at the forum, IIA- Kenya Country Manager, Wangechi Muriuki pointed out that “Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are the key drivers of growth in the Kenyan economy, creating about 90% of new jobs every year and contributing to about 25% of the country’s GDP.”

The growing attention and interest regarding SME development in Kenya has led to a more diversified pool of targeted funding options for SMEs ranging from debt to equity financing. More and more DFI’s are extending credit lines to commercial banks for lending to the SMEs while there is remarkable growth registered in Equity funding in the form of venture capitalists, angel investors, private equity funds, grants among other initiatives.

“Despite the growing number of targeted efforts for financing SMEs, the lack of ‘Access to Finance’ continually emerges as a critical factor affecting the growth and scaling up of SMEs in Kenya. It remains one of the most debated topics on matters SME”, she added.

Equity Bank’s Director of SME Banking Philip Sigwart highlighted that banks are generally considered to be averse to risk, he however noted the importance of protecting depositors’ money as this is what is used to onlend to those seeking credit facilities. He stated that Equity Bank disburses facilities amounting to Kes. 4 to 5 Billion monthly to SMEs.

Jeff Alondo, Head, Enterprise Banking, Stanbic Bank noted that 90% of SMEs in Kenya have access to finance from various sources. However, a considerable number do not keep records nor have business plans. Many of them do take a long term sustainability view of their businesses. He maintained that every SME should aim to build a company that will outlive them.

Martin Kiilu, Lead at Intellecap Impact Investment Network emphasized on the importance of developing a business vision. “Investors are not just looking for businesses to invest in but visions to invest in”, he said.

From an SME perspective, Myke Rabar, the CEO and Founder, Homeboyz Entertainment advised SMEs on the importance of being trustworthy to enable growth and business partnerships. He also reiterated that his company grew organically because of the unique nature of his business. He urged SMEs to capitalize on the finance options currently available based on the different stages of growth that the company lies in. Hadija Jama, Director, Darubini Screening Company Limited highlighted the importance of background checks and various screening interventions that SMEs can employ in their business to improve on their credit score and competence.

Professor Geoffrey Injeni, Faculty and Consultant at Strathmore Business School accentuated that they have training programs that assist SMEs to become investor ready and are working with customers of some financial institutions. Their focus is based on research led studies and business cases. This provides a more practical approach for SMEs to improve their businesses.

Invest In Africa is working to enhance SME access to skills, markets and finance in partnership with both leading organizations in Kenya in order to drive job creation and enterprise development in the economy.

Together with its Partners, IIA has built a unique, world-class online technology platform – The African Partner Pool (APP) that currently has a cross-sector database of over of over 1,300 vetted SMEs from Kenya. The platform directly connects SMEs with larger organizations sourcing for goods and services locally and also offers capacity building to enable address existing skill and knowledge gaps.

IIA Partners with Tullow Oil, Equity Bank, EY, Clyde & Co, Ecobank, Safaricom, Shell, Nation Media Group, AMSCO, Strathmore Business School, Keninvest, KEPSA among others.

For additional questions or information, please contact Denis Mbau on 0724988258 or denis.mbau@investinafrica.com

Read more