Category Archives: SME solutions

Spanish delivery company Glovo enters the Kenyan market.

Glovo is a four years old Spanish delivery company started by Oscar Pierre and Sacha Michaud. Its headquarters are in Barcelona, Spain and Glovo has been expanding globally, and just recently begun operations in Kenya five months ago, with Morocco and Nigeria being the other two African countries using the Glovo app services.

Glovo actually means balloon in Spanish to signify the way a balloon moves easily from one place to another. Kenya has seen some new delivery companies but is yet to experience one which can deliver even a personal item that you forgot at home. We are used to the traditional delivery of items by people we know but now this app will very well facilitate an easier way. The one challenge being how safe or how trustworthy Glovo delivery people are which, and the company has placed safeguards for this.

The Glovo app is found on Google play store for Android and App Store for IoS and it doesn’t take more than five minutes to start using the app. What makes them even more competitive is their pricing which is quite the saver.

Glovo performance is improving by the day. William Benthall, the General Manager for Kenya stated that the number of Glovo bikes he’s seen around town keeps increasing with time. Just like other delivery services, with Glovo, interested partners sign up their machines, for instance, bikes, to the app and can from there, connect with clients who need items delivered.

A guest post by @themkare 

CBK launches Stawi SME pilot credit facility

The Central Bank of Kenya has launched a pilot credit facility targeting informal unbanked traders in partnership with local institutions. ¬†This will be through an app, marketed under the name “Stawi”, that will initially be managed by five banks ‚Äď Commercial Bank of Africa, Cooperative Bank, Diamond Trust, KCB Bank and NIC Group.

The pilot phase lasts two weeks and will involve 3,500 traders without bank accounts, who have turnover of Kshs 30,000 to Kshs 250,000 (~$2,500) per month and who are at least six months old. To register, besides providing their ID details, traders will need a valid business permit and an email address to create an account Рthis is an unusual as mobile apps just require a national ID number to match with the phone number of the loan applicant.

The businesses will be able to borrow between loans of Kshs 30,000 to 250,000 (~$2,500). Loan charges are at an interest of 9% per annum, plus a facility fee of 4%, insurance fee of 0.7% and excise tax on the facility fee – all adding up to about 14.5%.

Other features of Stawi:

  • Loans are repayable between 1 – 12 month and borrowers can top up loans once 80% has been repaid. Loans are only¬†disbursed¬†through the¬†app as will all repayments be done.¬†
  • The loan rates are not cheap, but they are mild, and this program is targeted at the unregulated lenders who charge as much as 300% p.a. There was a draft financial markets conduct¬†bill formulated to protect consumers from such practices.
  • There are also transfer fees and Stawi customers can also¬†link up with¬†Pesalink¬†which allows much greater daily transfer amounts (up to Kshs 1 million) than the mobile money wallets. ¬†
  • For now, there is no Stawi in the Google store as the program is still in a test phase. (There is an app called Stawika that has no affiliation)
  • A second round of the pilot will target 10,000 other traders.

While trying to forestall the arrival of interest rate caps back in 2016, banks, through their umbrella Kenya Bankers Association committed to set aside Kshs 30 billion for lending to SME’s including Kshs 10 billion to micro-enterprises owned by women and youth and lend to them at no more than 14%. They also committed to rank borrowers by high, medium and low risk and to work to reward low-risk borrowers with low-interest rates.¬†To date, the credit reference bureaus piling up data on loan defaulters which good borrowing records are ignored or not rewarded with lower interest rates.

AVCA 2019 private equity and venture capital conference in Nairobi

The 16th annual conference of African Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (AVCA) was held from 1st -3rd April 2019 at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Nairobi. A guest post by Marcela Sinda.

This flagship conference event for the African continent had a fantastic kick-off and turnout, bringing together private equity and venture capital investors who handle a portfolio of over $1.5 trillion in assets. This was according to Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Trade, Peter Munya who officially opened the conference on behalf of President Uhuru Kenyatta. The goal of this kind of conference, he said, is to expose investors to the diverse prospective investment markets across the Africa as the continent was now being looked at as any other region, with the focus being around checking due diligence, ethics, looking at best practices and asking the same questions around deal sourcing.

 

DFI’s Role: Kenya is an increasingly attractive investment destination and according to AVCA data, it is the 2nd most attractive country for private equity investments in Africa over the next three years and hence an obvious choice to gather the industry players for this conference. The African PE sector has been shaped for decades by DFIs, and at¬†AVCA 2019, there was some discussion about new DFI strategies for investment across Africa. Maria Hakansson, the CEO of Swedfund, noted that, as a community, DFIs could do so much more when it comes to anti-corruption, e-waste management, customer protection principles etc. and that Africa‚Äôs portfolio is constantly outperforming in terms of impact compared to other regions portfolio.

Djalal Khimdjee, Deputy CEO of Proparco said SMEs in Africa are essential towards job creation and achieving the sustainable development goals (SDG’s) and that 60% of the 1.5 million jobs that have been created in Africa every month come from SMEs and venture capital firms. He said that PROPARCO and French development agencies had committed £2.5 billion by 2022 to support African MSMEs, including £1 billion through private equity investments. 

Mathew Hunt, Principal at South Suez Capital shared that one of the reasons why investors are in Africa and especially now is because of the tech-driven growth that‚Äôs been on the rise in recent years.¬†Venture capital investments are new in Africa and only a handful of funds have grown successfully. ¬†The role of African Development Bank, said Robert Zegers, their Chief Investment Officer, was to now help support the industry and act as anchor investors in these funds as a lot of development agendas can be achieved by generating value through VC’s and great businesses.

The narrative throughout the discussion panels was around the real opportunities Africa presents for investment with building blocks in place such as improved policies, the rise in middle-income earners, the Africa Continental Free Trade Area, and enablers such energy, improved infrastructure and technology as pathways that cater for development needs. The most attractive areas for P/E investment were perceived to be consumer-driven sectors (financials, FMCG, agribusiness, healthcare and technology).

Deals Galore: VCs are willing and able to take risks and are looking to invest much more than they did previously. According to the ¬†AVCA report 2018, VCs invested $725.6 Million in 458 deals a 300% leap in the total funding amount and over 127% increase in the number of deals as compared to 2017. ¬†VC fund managers, therefore, need to have great entrepreneurial skills to identify numerous opportunities and create great pipelines for growth and expansion. This is the first generation of PE owners and from the lessons learnt, a¬†good company always attracts a buyer¬†and a great way for VCs to approach funding private companies is to ask; ‚Äėif everything works out, how big can this be?‚Äô. But investors ought to be cautious not to misconstrue Africa as a single country with regard to investments, rather, and instead start by breaking down the micro trends in each jurisdiction and analyse the different risks.

Investments, not Aid: Charles Mwebeiha of Sango Capital urged investors to look at Africa while investing, like any other region in the world noting that many times, investing in Africa is made to sound like some sort of assistance. He offered that the issue should be whether returns can be made and reiterated that with good strategies, there is money to be made in Africa.

Women: It was also highlighted that having a gender-sensitive lens when investing is an imperative for an inclusive and fair investment strategy and that, especially in Africa, the number of female entrepreneurs supported is a key metric. There is an even split between male and female entrepreneurs on the continent but less than 2% of those women are getting formal funding as they are often working in hidden, informal sectors.

Exits: A major area of discussion was around exits. Carlos Reyes of the IFC, ¬†pointed out that; ‚Äúto prepare companies for exits, we try to improve reporting standards, corporate governance and we look at the bench –¬†so if the entrepreneur leaves, who can come in? The succession process is quite important.‚ÄĚ Exits are not the easiest but they are not deal-breakers and good exits can be achieved. At¬†Leapfrog Investments, they evaluate exits right at the beginning, by sitting down with the owners to try to understand their dreams for the future so as to align funding with their plans for exiting.

Predictions: And finally, taking a forward look at the sector five years into the future, George Odo, Managing Director of AfricInvest Capital Partners observed that there would be more capital raised from African economies, more policy changes required to mobilise pension funds, much more experienced fund managers, and also more EA players paying attention to Ethiopia.

Glossary
AVCA – Africa Venture Capital Association
EA ‚Äď East Africa
PE ‚Äď Private Equity
LP ‚Äď Limited Partners
DFI ‚Äď Development Finance Institution
IFC ‚Äď International Finance Corporation
PROPARCO – A Development Financial Institution partly owned by the French Development Agency
SME ‚Äď Small Medium Enterprise
MSME – Micro Small & Medium Enterprises
VC ‚Äď Venture Capital

TEF 2019 class unveiled

The fifth cycle of beneficiaries of the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) entrepreneurs program was unveiled on Friday, March 22 in Abuja, Nigeria.

This year 216,000 applied to join (up from 151,000 in 2018), with 90,000 being women during the window that opened on January 1. After an extensive shortlisting process, 3,050 entrepreneurs, from 54 African countries, were selected to receive $5,000 capital for their business ventures, 12 weeks of tailored training, and the opportunity to attend the annual TEF Forum in July 2019.

Over the years, more strategic partners have come forward to assist the Tony Elumelu Foundation to expand the impact of their ten-year $100 million program that aims to empower 10,000 entrepreneurs and create 1 million jobs and in 2019, partners are providing funding support for 2,500 entrepreneurs.

The African Development Bank (AfDB) is sponsoring 1,000 entrepreneurs (a commitment worth $5 million) and matching the support of the Tony Elumelu Foundation this year. Also, the United National Development Program (UNDP) is sponsoring 754 from 45 countries, while the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is sponsoring 180 entrepreneurs from conflict-hit countries. Others are Seme City (from the Federal Republic of Benin), the US Consulate in Lagos (sponsoring 20), the Anambra State Government, Indorama, and the Government of Botswana (sponsoring 20).

Present at the unveiling, that was livestreamed around the world, was Aisha Buhari, the First Lady of Nigeria, and Tony Elumelu, who founded the Program. Others were the Foundation CEO Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu, her predecessor Parminder Vir, TEF partner representatives, and the media.

Also at the event, a team of evaluators from Accenture explained the selection and short-list process they had done since the application deadline of March 1 2019. They also provided a breakdown of applications by country, gender, business stage, and business industry, with the highest number of applicants for 2019 engaged in agriculture, ICT and education sectors. They also highlighted trends in the program over the years including the overall increase in the number of female applicants.

All the applicants are now part of TEF Connect, which, with over 600,000 members, is the largest social network of African entrepreneurs. On the Connect platform, they can chat with fellow business owners in different African countries, access mentors, learning materials and network and share business ideas.

Idea Exchange: Anzisha, Obama, Elumelu, HEVA

EDIT The African Banker Awards that will take place during the African Development Bank Annual Meetings on 11th June in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea are now accepting entries for the awards of African Bank of the Year, African Banker of the Year, Investment Bank of the Year, Best Regional Bank in Africa, Best Retail Bank in Africa, Innovation in Banking, Infrastructure Deal of the Year, Deal of the Year (Debt), Deal of the Year (Equity), Award for Financial Inclusion, and Socially Responsible Bank of the Year. All financial institutions (banks, micro-financiers, investment banks, DFIs and others) are invited to compete. Completed entry forms should be submitted by Monday 1st of April.

Edit¬†Africa CEO Forum Awards¬†recognizes outstanding business leaders and this year includes a ¬†‚ÄúGender Leader of the Year‚ÄĚ prize and¬†‚ÄúDisrupter of the Year‚ÄĚ award to go with other existing awards for CEO of the Year, African Champion of the Year, and International Company. Some nominees include¬†Mohamed El Kettani – Attijariwafa bank and¬†Tewolde Gebremariam – Ethiopian Airlines for “CEO of the year”,¬†Banque Centrale Populaire,¬†Ethiopian Airlines,¬†OCP Group and¬†Royal Air Maroc for “company of the year”,¬†Absa Group,¬†Access Bank,¬†First Bank of Nigeria and¬†Unilever for “gender leader” and¬†Africa‚Äôs Talking,¬†Baobab+,¬†InTouch,¬†Jumia and¬†Kobo360 for the “disruptor” award. The awards will be given during the¬†7th Africa CEO Forum on 25 – 26 March 2019 in Kigali, Rwanda.

Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI) will officially open its call for applications starting from the 27th of March 2019. The ANPI is a US$10 million Prize competition for African entrepreneurs, founded by the Jack Ma Foundation, where ten finalists from across the continent will compete for US$1 million in total prize money. Deadline for applications is 30th June 2019

EDIT Class 5 of the Alibaba Global Initiatives eFounders fellowship is open to founders/co-founders of digital ventures from Botswana, Cameroon, Chad, Kenya, Rwanda, or Uganda. It is jointly organized by Alibaba Business School and UNCTAD and the deadline is March 17. Note that the fellowship does not cover air tickets and transportation/pick-up services to and from Hangzhou, China.

The Anzisha Prize is Africa’s biggest award for her youngest entrepreneurs and hands out over USD $100,000 every year in funding to entrepreneurs from all over the continent.  Details here.

EDIT  The British Council Future Leaders Connect, is a global network for emerging policy leaders seeking to connect to a long-term network of emerging leaders from around the globe, who want to change the world through policy making. To take part you must be aged 18-35 and live in one of our participating countries РCanada, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, Tunisia, UK and USA. Applications from Egypt and the USA are by invitation only. Applications close on Monday 6 May 2019.

EDIT Cities Alliance a global partnership supporting cities to deliver sustainable development, hosted by the United Nations United Nations Office for Projects Services (UNOPS), is offering grants up to USD 50,000 to people working on innovative and accessible solutions for improving tenure security and land and property rights in any African country. It is open to Innovators, microenterprises, social entrepreneurs, community-based organisations, and national and local NGOs working in African cities.  Deadline to apply for the Cities Alliance is  March 14, 2019.

Edit Coca-Cola Beverages Africa and PETCO have launched an innovation challenge, dubbed the Beyond Baling Innovation Challenge (BBIC), that aims to provide innovative solutions to bale post-consumer PET plastic in order to ease their transportation for recycling and manufacturing.

DRC Innovation for Financial Services 2019:  The Central Bank of Congo, in partnership with FSDA Africa and Elan DRC, has launched Innovation for Financial Services 2019, a competition for businesses and entrepreneurs aimed at promoting the development of innovative and relevant financial services and payment solutions in the DRC. The winner of each category will then have access to FSD Africa’s investment process with the possibility of raising up to US$130,000.

The Tony Elumelu Foundation, the leading African-funded and founded philanthropy committed to empowering African entrepreneurs, has announced its last call for applications into its prestigious 2019 Entrepreneurship Programme. Selected beneficiaries will join 4,470 current alumni and will receive $5,000 seed capital, access to mentors, bespoke training and numerous opportunities to impact policies at the local and global level.

The programs is a 10-year, $100 million commitment to identify, train, mentor and fund 10,000 African entrepreneurs, the Programme’s objective is to generate at least 1,000,000 new jobs and create at least $10 billion in new business revenue across Africa. Applicants can apply on TEFConnect, the largest digital networking platform for African entrepreneurs by March 1.

HEVA Fund: HEVA has launched a Growth Fund in collaboration with Agence Française de Développement (AFD), targeting mature businesses in the creative economy Рfashion, apparel and accessories; live cultural events (music, shows, venues, festivals); and digital media content production and distribution. Рthat have been in operation for at least 5 years, with annual revenues exceeding KES 10 million. The targeted businesses are in the following creative economy value chains:  HEVA will be investing a minimum of KES 5 million and a maximum of KES 10 million in each successful enterprise. Deadline is 13th March 2019. HEVA is also receiving applications for its Cultural Heritage Fund and for a Young Women in Creative Enterprise Fund.

The Inter Region Economic Network (IREN) has launched the IREN Technologies and Innovations Platform 2019 (ITIC 2019) to promote the best mix of technology and innovation to processes along the agribusiness value chains. Innovators are expected to address the region’s challenges in value addition, energy, storage, logistics and marketing. The Lake region is known for fish, grain, vegetable, cash crop, dairy and livestock production. IREN welcomes Institutions and established companies to participate in the final ITIP 2019 Trade Fair to be held later in November 2019.

Edit¬†MEST:¬†Five promising start-ups from across Africa have¬†been chosen as regional winners in MEST Africa‚Äôs annual Pan-African pitch competition, moving one step closer to winning $50,000 in equity investment, a place in the MEST Africa incubator of their choice and global mentorship to help their company scale. The winners who were chosen from over 1,000 applicants are¬†AMPZ.TV – a¬†‚ÄėLinkedIn for Sports‚Äô (Nigeria), OZ√Č –¬†a financial data insights company (Ghana),¬†Snode –¬†real-time cyber security (South Africa), ¬†WayaWaya –¬†a fintech company (Kenya) and¬†Seekewa – an agricultural¬†financing platform (Cote d‚ÄôIvoire).

Obama Founder Leaders Africa Applications are live for the Obama Foundation Leaders Africa Program which aims to¬†identify a group of emerging African leaders from all sectors‚ÄĒgovernment, civil society, and entrepreneurs‚ÄĒwho have demonstrated a commitment to advancing the common good.¬†Apply by February 28, 2019.

Edit ¬†Pivot East:¬†East Africa’s premier entrepreneurs’ program is back for its 6th year after a two year break with a call for applications¬†opening on¬†11th March 2019 and the startups pitching competition and conference event happening on 27th June 2019. Applicants can be in software and hardware in five categories of finance, enterprise, entertainment, social Impact and utilities.

Sanofi, the global pharmaceutical company, extended the registration deadline for entries to this year’s edition of the VivaTech innovation conference. 17 Kenyan start-ups have registered so far and are expected to participate in the conference.