Enhancing Market Access for Manufacturing SMEs Through Capacity Building and Business Linkages

Invest in Africa in partnership with the Business Scouts for Development Programme (BSFD) have  launched a market linkage program for manufacturing Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in natural food clusters.BSFD is a programme commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.

The program will drive capacity building to upscale SMEs and enhance competitive access to market opportunities.Currenty, the East Africa Community (EAC) market is gaining increasing importance for value-add agricultural products made in Eastern Africa. In addition, there is also an increasing openness in the community to buying “products made in EAC. This  initiative ,therefore, targets manufacturing SMEs in Kenya and Uganda in natural food clusters focusing on Avocado, Shea Butter, Coconut, and Moringa. 

This translates into a high potential for medium-sized agro-processors and the need to augment their capacity to take up the available opportunities. Through successful linkage to buyers seeking to source locally, this initiative by IIA and the BSFD programme will jumpstart an accelerated growth of the target SMEs. Prior capacity building will guarantee the sustainability of these SMEs in accessing and delivering to available opportunities in the longer term. 

Under this initiative, we will leverage IIA’s flagship business membership platform Biashara.Now  to enable market linkage by allowing the SMEs to use the digital traceability tools on the platform to make sure buyers can trace and understand their products, which will enhance efficient engagement and transaction.  

Other capabilities which will be delivered under the capacity building component include good manufacturing practices and new product development. This will ensure that the SMEs can meet the required market standards and efficiently undertake demand-driven introduction of new products. Importantly , the initiative is in line with IIA’s goal of linking SMEs with $100M worth of contracts and creating up to one million jobs by 2025. It has come in handy to ensure collaborative efforts in supporting SMEs to competitively access industries and adequately contribute to value chain development. This, in turn, translates to job opportunities generated through the resultant enterprise growth.   

“Through this initiative, we hope to create an economy that thrives for everyone. This aligns with our purpose of prospering the African economy through sustainable development: where we all participate in trade as entrepreneurs, employees, and consumers, driving economic growth through entrepreneurship and business linkages”, said Terry Kinyua, the COO and acting Country Manager at IIA-Kenya during the project kick-off with beneficiary SMEs.