NEWS

Collaboration in any undertaking is to be applauded and encouraged. Business to business collaboration lags as a strategy because it has not been given enough emphasis. There is a realization that embracing collaboration in business strategies is key to an organization’s overall profitability. It is a valuable way to expand knowledge, learn from the success of others, recruit new clients, tell others about your business and to build a sustainable business.

There is an increasing need for business enterprises, especially SMEs, to come together, open up their operations and establish ways they can learn from each other to enable easy navigation of the business and market environment. That way, they will be able to identify and leverage the business opportunities they are afforded. It also helps to build relationships and avenues for partnership and to share relevant information for training, inspiration, and guidance.

In a bid to create opportunities for SMEs to share knowledge with their peers and form business linkages, Invest In Africa (IIA) introduced the ‘Biashara Exchange Tours’ for the SMEs registered on our online platform, Biashara.Now. The monthly tours involve visits to Biashara.Now member firms, with the aim of enhancing Business-to-Business linkages, learning, and business knowledge exchange. This greatly enhances our key pillars of creating access to skills and markets, as it offers firsthand learning experiences to the SMEs, as well as providing opportunities to directly link and acquire business deals.

During these tours, the SMEs get an opportunity to explore the host company intensively to understand its operations and business structure. The SMEs can learn new business ideas while identifying business opportunities they can take advantage of. This is also an opportunity for the visiting SMEs to interact with each other, form relationships, and share business ideas.

Since the launch of this initiative, there have been 2 tours. The inaugural tour, in August, took a select group of SMEs to MECOL, a company on our platform that specializes in manufacturing bespoke office, school, hospital, library, and shelving furniture. This tour included 15 companies, who visited the MECOL’s Nairobi plant.

MECOL shared some insights into its success with the SMEs and how they have managed to stand out in a sector that is greatly infiltrated by importation. This was an eye-opener for the SMEs, most of whom marveled at the realization that they could get good Kenyan-made furniture instead of importing from Asia. Four of the visiting SMEs pledged to procure their furniture from MECOL.

The next tour was a visit to LINEPLAST Group, which is an alliance of three companies, Plast Packaging Industries Limited, Line Art Solutions Limited, and Aromakare, who offer processing and packaging solutions. The tour took place on 10th September 2019 and involved 10 SMEs. The SMEs were able to explore LINEPLAST Group’s manufacturing and processing facility, giving them a feel of their basic and core operations. Through the tour, 3 business linkages were realized for processing and packaging services. The tour also included a mentorship session where, Mary Ngechu, the LINEPLAST Group Managing Director, motivated the SMEs with the story of her journey of establishing and growing LINEPLAST. She encouraged them to consolidate their businesses into areas of strength and pledged to support SMEs of every level.

These business exchange tours support IIA’s core mission of creating access to markets and skills, through the creation of viable business linkages and sharing of relevant information and ideas. The October edition will hosted by Rhombus concrete, who will host firms in the construction and contracting sector from our platform to learn and identify business opportunities.

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Invest In Africa (IIA-Kenya) in partnership with the Department of Trade, Gender and Youth of the Turkana County Government, International Finance Corporation (IFC), Lundin Foundation, Technoserve, and Tullow Kenya, organized the 2nd annual business forum in Turkana County dubbed, ‘THE TURKANA BUSINESS EXCHANGE FORUM and MSME EXPO 2019.’ This event is a follow-up to last year’s IIA-led event that was held against the background of the Credit Guarantee Scheme (CGS) which has seen IIA-Kenya work with over 125 MSMEs in Turkana through the platform.

The exchange forum and MSME EXPO was conceived as an interactive platform bringing together several actors in the County including County and National Government Ministries and Agencies, private sector entities, business associations, bilateral and multilateral agencies, academia and MSMEs. This interaction aims to position the MSMEs to take advantage of Business Linkage opportunities through networking, showcase MSMEs from Turkana and public-private open dialogue to address key policy issues affecting the business environment in Turkana.


The key objectives of this year’s forum (BEF 2019) were: to provide a platform for multi-stakeholder dialogue – with the Turkana County Government (TCG), on the action areas identified at the previous Business Exchange Forum (BEF 2018) and progress made towards operationalizing the MSME Development Framework; to increase opportunities for public-private partnership for increased investment into Turkana County; to showcase scalable local Turkana businesses for the purpose of creating viable linkages for skills, finance and markets; and to understand the different MSME development initiatives and identify the areas of possible synergies.


This year’s theme is ‘Enhancing MSME Competitiveness for Business Linkages’, focused on the key value chains which carry opportunities in Turkana county. These value chains include; Extractives, Agribusiness, Basketry and Handicrafts, Construction and Fisheries. The other additional areas the forum covered included Refugee Livelihoods and wholesale and retail business.

This year’s forum was attended by 150 participants drawn from the private sector, government, business community, and Media. 43 MSMEs from Turkana County also exhibited at the EXPO. The highlight of this year’s event was the participation of MSMEs from the humanitarian ecosystem from Kakuma/Kaloyebei in Turkana West. IIA’s partners, Kenya Tullow and Equity Bank, facilitated sector discussions on Extractives and Access to finance respectively.

The event was graced by His Excellency, Josephat Nanok, Governor – Turkana County with participation from high-level county ministers. The event brings together several private sector actors, business associations, bilateral and multilateral agencies, academia, the business community, MSMEs and the media.

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A Comp Services Limited

A Comp Services is an indigenous supply and retail service provider that specializes in stationery, office supplies and safety wares in Ghana.

A Comp joined Invest in Africa’s African Partner Pool (APP) in the latter part of 2017. In early 2018, Oduro saw a bid request posted by Ecobank Ghana on the APP. He put in an application and subsequently won a contract to supply several items of stationeries; and one year on, the contract is still in force. According to him, the deal with Ecobank has had a very positive impact on his company’s cash flow due to the recurrent nature of the arrangement and prompt payment by the bank. Proud that he can now boast of having a regional banking powerhouse among his list of clients, he also reveals that inflows from the Ecobank alone approximately constituted 30% of his revenue in 2018.

More opportunities continue to come way through the APP. More recently, the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA), an initiative backed by the US Government, has also extended an opportunity to them. This, too, has been a revenue boost for A Comp.

Akiberan Aberu Suppliers and Contractors – Rael Mzee Lochodo, Chairperson

Akiberan Aberu Suppliers and Contractors are a wholly women-owned and run business based in Lokichar, Turkana County, Kenya.

Aberu Suppliers who were the first SMEs to secure a loan through IIA’s Africa’s Credit Guarantee Scheme (CGS) are contractors of Tullow Kenya B.V and supply vegetables, fruits and other perishable farm produce to Tullow Oil.

“The unlocking of 70% financing by IIA-Kenya is a dream come true for our business. It is the beginning of a new journey to prosperity as some of the constraints we have been facing in accessing finance are now a thing of the past. Through the Credit Guarantee Scheme by Invest In Africa, we can now bid for bigger jobs without worry.” says Rael Mzee.

Loiteiteleit Company Limited- Lydia Tioko, Founder

“I dared to dream and venture into an unknown world of construction which is mostly dominated by men. With a lot of persistence, assistance and hand-holding from Invest in Africa, I have been able to climb up the ladder and bid for jobs I could not even imagine. I have been able to work with the County Government and also Tullow Kenya B.V for a project to construct latrines. However, when I could not attend to the tender because of financial challenges, Invest in Africa through their Credit Guarantee Scheme came to my rescue and I was able to deliver to the contract on time. Additionally, through IIA-Kenya’s continuous capacity building training programmes, I have gathered a lot of knowledge to run my business better.”

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Invest in Africa in partnership with SME Advisory Presidency, hosted a breakfast event themed ‘Growing an Inclusive Economy: Creating Linkages for MSMEs within the Big Four Agenda’. The event was aimed at highlighting the important role MSMEs play in the Kenyan economy on its trajectory of industrialization and job creation. We will elucidate the on-going challenges MSMEs face in their business activities and share ideas on how to better support the sector to take advantage of the potential economic power of the MSMEs for the benefit of all Kenyans.

Invest in Africa, celebrating two years of it's online platform unveiled the new identity/name of the platform from the 'African Partner Pool (APP)' to the 'Biashara.Now.' The online technology platform links MSMEs with procurement opportunities available to the private sector across value chains to promote local content and business sustainability.

Speaking during the launch, IIA-Kenya Country Director Wangechi Muriuki said, “ in just two years, we have been able to register 2,250 MSMEs registered on our platform, recruit over 20 partners who have provided 67 tenders worth Kes, 270 Million being won so far by MSMEs. Additionally, over 200 MSMEs have been trained and over Kes, 300 Million of financing unlocked through these partnerships.”

Wangechi added that it is IIA-Kenya’s belief that the new identity will spur increased mutual value and engagements between Buyers, Partners and SMEs as we continue working towards IIA's vision of Prospering African Economies in Kenya.

The event was graced by Honourable Peter Munya, the Cabinet Secretary of Trade Industry as well as representatives from IIA’s partner organizations, academia, policymakers, MSMEs from the IIA platform and other high ranking officials from the bilateral and diplomatic missions.

IIA Kenya aims to leverage on the new brand identity that speaks to the market to refocus on its path towards our vision of ‘Connecting Kenyan SMEs to contracts worth Ksh.1billion and create 25,000 jobs by the year 2020’.

For inquiries contact

Denis Mbau on 0724988258 or denis.mbau@investinafrica.com

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Firstly, we’d like to wish you all (especially all Women) a happy International Women’s Day. As you all may know, tomorrow is International Women’s day and since Invest in Africa are major advocates of women empowerment, especially in business, we are happy to shine a light on two extraordinary women (Yasmine Boamah and Georgette Barnes) who have previously won Invest in Africa's Women Entrepreneur of the Year award each.
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Invest in Africa has named Mrs. Georgette Barnes Sakyi-Addo, Founder and Executive Director of Georgette Barnes Limited, as the Woman Entreprenuer of the Year at its SME Excellence Awards.

The awards ceremony held late last month recognized the role played by Mrs. Sakyi-Addo in establishing an astute owned Mine Support Service business, which provides key exploration and drilling supplies to mining clients in West Africa and represents six (6) internationally known sector brands.

The Executive Director of Georgette Barnes Limited described the recognition as an “exciting experience.”

“We have been working since 2009 and we are a bit secluded from mainstream general business, and so I was also very surprised that our business was chosen being a female owned business working in the male mining dominated sector,” she said.

A citation in honour of Mrs. Sakyi-Addo said she has been able to rise from the position of Administrative Assistant to various director-level positions in her illustrious career before establishing her own firm.

While she remains grateful to Invest in Africa for the Award, she opined that this award would not necessary give her company any special boost regarding its clients.

“What matters is that you deliver what you are supposed to deliver in the manner it was approved to deliver. Having said that, it is a great for building our corporate brand and also a validation of what our clients have always believed and seen in a company as small as ours,” she stated.

On her advice to young people seeking a career in the extractives sector, she argued that there are a lot of opportunities for young people in the sector and they need to explore the subject area and disciplines that would give them the competitive advantage to work in the sector.

“Along the mining value chain, we have all the regular jobs that are available in general industry and then we have specialised roles as well. I would encourage them to explore all these opportunities.

A lot of the large scale mines are looking for top notch requisite skills and talent and I believe Ghana has them but young people have to be prepared to learn, acquire skills, be prepared to be inconvenienced, be patient and grow over time,” she added

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Accra–Ghana, 28 January, 2019: Invest in Africa (IIA) has honoured nine (9) SMEs at the 2nd edition of its SME Excellence Awards held in Accra.

The SME Excellence Awards is a platform that showcases and celebrates the achievements of successful businesses and individuals of entrepreneurial excellence who have experienced IIA’s three benefit platforms; ‘access to skills’, ‘access to markets’, and ‘access to finance’.

The Nine (9) SMEs were recognised for performing excellently in various aspects of their respective businesses. They are; WOMAN ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR AWARD - Georgette Barnes Limited, YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR AWARD - Agriaccess Ghana Limited, BUSINESS TRANSFORMATION AWARD - Ricks Logistics Limited, BUSINESS LINKAGE AWARD - Right Consult and General Supplies Limited, BUSINESS TECHNOLOGY GROWTH AWARD - Consolidated Shipping Agencies Limited, BUSINESS INNOVATION OF THE YEAR AWARD - Liranz Limited, MENTORSHIP RECOGNITION AWARD - Ricks Logistics Limited, SCALE-UP BUSINESS OF THE YEAR AWARD - Right Consult and General Supplies Limited.

The ultimate award, IIA STAR AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE went to AIDEC Holdings Limited, a downstream fuel retailing and petroleum haulage company.

The Accounts and Finance Manager of AIDEC Holdings Limited Mr. Hector Awaana who received the award, expressed his gratitude to IIA and its partners, on behalf of the award winners, for the support being offered to SMEs in the Country. “The training in entrepreneurship we received from IIA has enhanced our operations and we are grateful”, he added.

The event was organized under the theme “Supporting SMEs – Key to Accelerating Inclusive Growth and Prosperity.

The Country Director of IIA, Mr. Clarence Nartey underscored the need for SMEs to be supported to grow. He said SMEs employ between 60-90% of Africa’s population thus supporting them will enable SMEs contribute more to prospering African Economies. “IIA has in the past four years provided $150million worth of contracts to Ghanaian SMEs registered on the African Partner Pool (APP), $1.2 million worth of credit support to SMEs, trained 230 SME’s and supported 32,000 jobs” He noted.

He disclosed that going forward, IIA has prioritised 6 strategic sectors for support as part of its long -term broad-based growth strategy. These are; Financial Services, Agriculture, Construction, Extractives (Oil & Gas & Mining) and ICT. “IIA is investing millions of dollars to build the long -term capacity of local suppliers across these sectors in order to drive sustained growth and job creation” Mr. Nartey stated.” He reiterated IIA’s vision 2022 agenda to provide $500million worth of contracts to SMEs and 100,000 jobs for Ghanaians.

He commended the government for recognising the important role of SMEs and taking appropriate steps to create the enabling environment for their growth. “It is great to see that our Government through its 10-point Industrial Transformation Agenda has rightly identified SME development and Industrial subcontracting exchange as two key growth pillars”, he said. Mr. Nartey further commended the Ministry of Trade & Industry for formulating the Draft National MSME Policy, which is a necessary first step towards creating a true entrepreneurial ecosystem in Ghana.

The Special Guest Speaker, Mr. Kweku Awotwi in his speech emphasized the critical role of SMEs in national development. He said in this regard, Tullow Ghana Limited has committed itself to using the services of local suppliers. “Local content has significant input and influence in our procurement processes. We currently have 75% of contracts in our procurement plan earmarked for indigenous companies and joint ventures between indigenous companies and foreign companies who can transfer knowledge, skills, experience and technology to the indigenous partners” he stated.

He further noted that; “since 2010, Tullow Ghana Limited has invested $15billion on rigs, well development among others and $9.5billion out of the amount was awarded to companies that have joint venture partners in the country.

Dr. Sebastian Okeke, Country Programme Manager for the African Development Bank (AfDB) reiterated the commitment of his organization to continue to support SMEs through its Fund for Africa Private Sector Assistance (FAPA) programme. “AfDB has created various instruments to ensure that Africa’s private sector is well equipped to rise above its current challenges” he stated.

The event was attended by other IIA’s partners - EY, AB & David Africa, MODEC Production Services Ghana JV, Ecobank Ghana, GCB, Barclays Ghana, MTN Business, the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) and Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC).

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Invest in Africa (“IIA”) - Kenya, is a private sector, Not-for-Profit partnership of organizations working to develop local enterprises to drive job creation and enterprise development with the purpose of enabling trade between larger organizations and Suppliers (SMEs).

IIA-Kenya achieves this by providing better access to skills, markets and finance to enhance and ensure inclusive growth and sustainable development for businesses and organizations in Africa.

We are currently looking for experienced consultants across to be part of our growing pool of experts and resource persons.

For more information visit: https://script.google.com/macros/s/AKfycbxzfE5LHtq...

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Accra, Ghana, 21 November 2018: MTN Business, Ghana’s leading telecommunications provider of business connectivity solutions, announces its partnership with Invest in Africa (IIA) to provide custom-made ICT solutions to Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises (SMEs) in the country. Through this partnership, services offered by MTN Business will be available to help SMEs optimise their productivity to enable them grow and expand their businesses.

IIA is a not-for-profit organisation committed to addressing the challenges of identifying credible local suppliers, developing local content and driving cross-sector growth across the economy.

The Country Director of IIA, Mr. Clarence Nartey said; “with MTN Business, we have a Pan-African mobile telecommunications powerhouse and local market leader whose commitment to providing tailor-made enterprise solutions will give a big boost to the SMEs. We also intend to tap into MTN Business’ suite of ICT solutions to improve our own organisational efficiency and productivity as well as ensure that our flagship online marketplace platform, the African Partner Pool (APP), is technologically enhanced for the benefit of all our buyers and suppliers.”

Since its establishment four years ago, IIA has provided business opportunities valued at $150m to Ghanaian SMEs registered on its online marketplace platform, the African Partner Pool (APP). IIA has facilitated over $1m of credit support to SMEs. Through skills training, IIA has empowered over 230 local SME’s by improving their entrepreneurial, managerial and technical competencies.

Commenting on the partnership, the General Manager of MTN Enterprise Business, Mr. Samuel Addo, reiterated that by partnering IIA, MTN is living up to its overriding mission to be a vehicle for Ghana’s economic growth and development. “MTN’s world-class telecommunications products and services, as well as innovative and sustainable corporate social responsibility initiatives, are all contributing to the realization of Ghana’s strong development potential. This partnership is our way of helping SMEs grow and play their role in the nation’s development” Mr. Addo emphasised.

IIA plans to provide $500m worth of business to Ghanaian SMEs, and in the process contribute to supporting 100,000 jobs by 2022.

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Barclays Bank Ghana (Barclays) has committed to providing SMEs enrolled with Invest In Africa (IIA) credit support to expand their businesses. This forms part of a partnership established between the Bank and IIA through which Barclays will also provide other forms of enterprise development assistance.

 

IIA is a not for profit organisation with the vision to create Prospering African Economies. The organisation has in the past four years facilitated over $1million credit support to SMEs through its ‘Access-to-Finance’ benefit offering. Mr. Clarence Nartey, IIA Ghana’s Country Director, expressed delight at the partnership with Barclays and how it will result in more funds being made available to support the growth of SMEs. “The benefits to our SMEs are enormous. These include; access to world class business advisory services, short-term loans, supply chain financing and project financing at competitive rates. This should enable them grow their businesses and create more jobs in the economy”, Mr. Nartey said.

 

According to him, the partnership is very strategic because Barclays’ Enterprise Supply Development (ESD) programme has similar objectives as IIA’s three (3) prong benefit offerings. To date IIA’s ‘Access-to-Markets’ pillar, delivered through its online marketplace platform the African Partner Pool (APP), has provided Ghanaian SMEs with business opportunities valued at $150m. IIA’s ‘Access-to-Skills’ pillar, delivered through a suite of training programmes, has empowered over 230 SMEs by improving their entrepreneurial, managerial and technical competencies.

Barclays Bank Ghana’s Business Banking Director, Mrs. Grace Anim-Yeboah, says through the programme, Barclays aims to help SMEs that supply goods and services to corporate organisations get access to funding to enable them fulfill their orders and increase their competitiveness. “Our partnership with IIA is not only borne out of the recognition that, the growth of SMEs is critical to the growth of Ghana’s economy but also out of our renewed commitement to Ghana as we rebrand to Absa - an African bank with a global scale”, Mrs. Anim-Yeboah explains.

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