Small businesses from three emerging economies in the sub-Saharan African region are set to equally benefit from a $30 million newly-launched fund, thanks to Business Partners International (BPI).
BPI made the announcement on Wednesday saying it realised that there was a need to address the growing demand for access to finance and technical assistance (mentorship) from small businesses in high growth economies on the continent.
The Business Partners Southern Africa SME Fund will replicate the South African Business Partners Limited investment model which has specialised in investing capital, skills and knowledge in entrepreneurs for the past 33 years.
This fund will provide risk finance to local entrepreneurs and SMEs in Malawi, Namibia and Zambia.
BPI is a subsidiary of Business Partners Limited and the fund management company which supports the growth of viable SMEs in sub-Sahara Africa.
The fund comes with an underlying mandate to invest in the selected countries, and offices have already been established in Blantyre, Windhoek and Lusaka. $10 million has been allocated to finance SMEs in each of the selected countries.
Extending access to finance
Business Partners Limited MD, Nazeeem Martin says that the primary focus of the fund is to provide access to funding and post-investment technical assistance support for SMEs, thereby fostering entrepreneurship, facilitating wealth creation, broadening the tax bases, and creating much needed jobs in each of the selected countries.
“Access to finance remains an issue for many SMEs due to local financial institutions’ reluctance to take on additional risk, and the limitation placed on businesses applying for finance due to the level of securitisation required,” he said.
In response to the growing need for risk capital and quality technical assistance in Africa, BPI has a specific mandate to operate exclusively in the SME space and to invest both capital and knowledge in the entrepreneur and business
Martin added that these countries were an attractive choice for BPI to establish itself since they share many similarities with South Africa, especially in the SME environment.