To raise and then invest up to $150 million in small enterprises in southern, eastern, western and northern Africa at the same time as providing critically necessary business development assistance to all of its clients.
Economic growth in Africa requires a focus on assisting small enterprises (SME). Yet many SMEs lack skills and collateral to access finance for their start-up/early growth. Pilot funds established in Uganda and South Africa by Shell Foundation and GroFin - a specialist African financier - demonstrated that by combining the provision of business development assistance and innovative finance products to SMEs, it's possible to bridge the gap between micro and commercial finance. Totaling $13 million, these pilot funds have generated financial and developmental returns via hundreds of small enterprises helped and thousands of jobs created including exporters of organic honey and mangos in Uganda and fabricators of small 'bush' windmills in South Africa. These pilots - which UK Prime Minister Tony Blair called 'a pioneering example of how to provide the skills and finance necessary to unleash the strong entrepreneurial spirit of African people' - provide the template for the African Small Enterprise Fund.
The African Small Enterprise Fund, based on an innovative and successful fund model developed by Shell Foundation and Grofin Capital of South Africa, has raised $23 million in the first stage funding for the East African segment of the African Small Enterprise Fund, being secured by commercial and development banks in Uganda, Kenya and, Tanzania, Shell Foundation, Grofin Capital, and development finance and commercial investors in the Netherlands and United Kingdom. In addition, a range of large companies are committed to help local SME's in their supply chains that require business development assistance and finance to enhance their performance, profitability and contracting relationship.