SMEs struggling to access finance, skills-Shell foundation

Shell Foundation has said that Africa is missing out on a potential engine of economic growth as entrepreneurs across the continent struggle to reach their potential due to challenges of accessing finance and skills training.

Shell Foundation has said that Africa is missing out on a potential engine of economic growth as entrepreneurs across the continent struggle to reach their potential due to challenges of accessing finance and skills training.

Simon Bishop, Head of Policy and Communications for the charity arm of the energy company said during the recent UK Conservative Party visit to GroFin Rwanda.

The energy company has been supporting GroFin since 2002
“GroFin is addressing these issues in a financially viable and sustainable way that has the potential to be replicated across the continent,” he said.

The Conservatives, who were in Rwanda for two weeks under Project Umubano, visited GroFin to learn more about how the company is boosting Rwanda’s entrepreneurs.

GroFin is a multi-national specialist Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) finance and development company offering an innovative combination of risk capital and business development assistance to viable enterprises.

“If you are an informal micro-enterprise in Rwanda then it is often possible to secure microfinance, while local banks will support more established medium-to-large businesses.

But in-between lies the so-called ‘missing middle’,” Eric Rwigamba GroFin Rwanda’s General manger said in a press statement.

Local banks in Rwanda see this entire segment of entrepreneurs as too risky because they lack collateral, experience and a track record.

“GroFin fills this gap through the provision of appropriate finance and business development assistance, and in turn provides social development, including much needed job creation,” he said.

The Conservatives also visited two GroFin supported entrepreneurs which include a paper bag manufacturer and a cosmetics retailer.

“I was delighted to have the opportunity to show the Conservative Party our work. I believe they were impressed, particularly when we took them to visit our entrepreneurs,” said Rwigamba.

The company has presence in seven African countries employing almost 100 people.

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