GroFin, which is engaged in Small and Medium Enterprises’ (SMEs) finance and business support was this week announced as one of the ten winners of the 2010 World Business and Development Awards at a ceremony in New York.
The awards launched by the international chamber of commerce in 2000 and now run in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme and the International Business Leaders Forum is one of the central events in 2010 to recognise the contributions of the private sector to development.
In a press statement, Jurie Willemse, the Managing Director of GroFin said: “GroFin has proven that investing risk finance in SMEs can deliver net positive, consistent returns.”
GroFin, founded in 2004 in partnership with the Shell Foundation addresses challenges like limited access to finance and lack of management skills that are a major stumbling block to the growth and development of SMEs.
The awards form part of the United Nation’s drive to build a renewed momentum around the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The winners are chosen from a record pool of 172 nominations from 42 countries.
“GroFin is committed to creating wealth, employment and economic growth by supporting businesses at any stage of development across all sectors, that have the ability to succeed and continue to make profit year after year,” Willemse said.
GroFin also notes that the SME sector in developing economies, in particularly Africa, is notoriously under-served; severely restricting pro-poor economic growth and job creation.
To date, GroFin has invested US$170 million in Africa Fund which is the world’s largest fund targeting the sub $1 million SME sector.
“For our work to be recognised at this point by the WBDA judging panel illustrates the importance of the small and medium businesses in driving development in African economies.” said Willemse.
Regardless of whether their loan is approved, businesses that apply to GroFin receive a detailed assessment of the potential challenges that may arise in their business and the perceived ability of the business to prosper in the long term.