The USAID Hub participated in the latest Ignite My SME seminar organized by FACTS Africa in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The seminar is the last of ten seminars to train small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) owners on how to access working capital for their businesses, with a focus on agribusinesses. Over 100 delegates attended, including agriculture and agribusiness SME owners, representatives from USAID Tanzania’s ENGINE project, representatives from the USAID Tanzania mission, and eight Hub-sponsored women who trade along the border of Rusumo, Tanzania.
FACTS Africa specializes in the provision of working capital for agribusiness SMEs in Kenya and Uganda, and is planning to expand its services to Tanzania. Despite having a simpler application process and more lenient terms than banks, Facts Africa noticed low success rates of loan applications with 90% of them being turned away due to falling short of requirements. As a result, they developed day-long seminars to provide a platform for SMEs to gain knowledge on how to access finances as well as interact with stakeholders from financial institutions and development partners running various financial access and Business Development Support projects.
Previously, the Hub supported eight women cross-border traders from Kenya to attend the Nairobi league of the seminar in November 2017 and ten Ugandan traders who participated in the Kampala seminar held in March 2018. The women received useful information on working capital solutions, financial management, operations, and essentials of credit worthiness and the use of technology to scale their business.
The eight Tanzanian women cross-border traders are also engaged with the USAID Hub through a grant with the Agribusiness Focused Partnership Organization (AGRIFOP), which aims to drive formal trade in the East African Community (EAC) through the empowerment of women cross-border traders in the staple foods and horticulture sectors.