"helping Small Business Owners Scale the Steps to Business Success"

"helping Small Business Owners Scale the Steps to Business Success"
Symbol of Hope for Small Businesses in East Africa

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Establishment of the SME Africa Trust

Brief on the SME Africa Trust; Small and Medium Enterprise Africa Trust is non- profit making Trust set up to assist in the development and promotion of Small enterprises in Africa. Its primary objectives are the following: i) Business Support services to small and medium enterprises which entails basic business information, SME sector data, appropriate inputs and reference materials. ii) Capacity Development which involve collaborating and working toward individual capacity development of SME entrepreneurs as well as institutional capacity development of SME related organisations, trade bodies and financial institutions iii) Policy advocacy, aimed at assisting SME development in Africa, major activities being working with stakeholders to facilitate the growth of an enabling environment to smoothly run SME business in Africa. iv) Making SME products and services competitive through facilitation of standardization, protection of innovation, research and development. v) Creation of linkages to facilitate growth in trade etc. BACKGROUND ON SMALL BUSINESSES IN AFRICA The micro and small enterprises (MSEs) sector is one of the most dynamic and fastest growing sectors of the African economy. The activities of the MSEs majority of which fall within the informal economic sector cut across other sectors of the economy. It’s wide geographical distribution attest to its potential for provision of goods and services offering excellent opportunities for skills entrepreneurs and management development, alleviation of unemployment and poverty, strengthening forward and backward linkages with other economic sectors and supporting industrialization policies that promote rural urban balance. It is estimated that the MSE sector especially in the East African region is growing at the rate of 10% and if supported, is expected to be the main source of employment to the African continent as a whole. Despite the critical and significant role played by the MSEs in national development, the sector has over the years experienced many binding constrains to the realization of its full potential in most African countries, there is no vertical growth in the MSE sector and therefore virtually no medium enterprises hence the question of the “missing middle”. Lack of vertical growth has inhibited the translation of the sector into a vibrant sector as an engine of growth and to provide sustainable economic development and generate significant employment and wealth. The above scenario has been attributed to a number of constrains including: low education levels, inadequate and poor penetration of export markets, inaccessible to affordable finance and credit, lack of appropriate information, poor infrastructure, inhibitive legal and regulatory environment, etc. Arising from the above, it is apparent that a concerted effort needs to be put in place for the purposes of promoting and developing the micro and small enterprises in the African continent in an effort to realize its full potential in the creation of wealth and employment to our continent. SME Africa Trust Provides the platform to address the above, and is therefore looking for partners and collaborators for the same

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