Monday, March 12, 2007

Free business plan toolkit for Tanzanian SMEs

[Dar es Salaam, Tanzania]
THIS is EXCELLENT news...that a Kiswahili business planning toolkit will soon be available for prospective SME owners throughout Tanzania. However, I'm still dismayed that it's so damn hard for women entrepreneurs to get seed money before their businesses can become fully operational. I truly believe that women are BETTER managers of money than MEN simply because they have to manage household finances every day of their lives -- especially in this part of the planet. Are there no NGOs out there that cater specifically to businesswomen on the continent??

To all loans officers at lending institutions throughout Africa: "Come on, YOU can do BETTER than that! Give women the credit they deserve, for crying out loud." (pun intended). Someone should seriously start a bank that caters to women. They'd probably make a killing.
Any how, I feel that this type of news is what Go Africa go! is all about: Highlighting positive business developments on the continent that'll lead to more prosperity. And who can argue with that? Oh, don't forget to take a peek at an earlier post of mine that relates to this topic: Are Online Lending Sites a Threat to Banks?
Article: Business planning toolkit for SMEs in pipeline
By: Beatrice Philemon
Source: The Guardian (Tanzania), 12 Mar 2007, Business & Foreign section, pg ii
The World Bank is funding business plan training tool kit for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Tanzania. A manual on business plan writing skills exists in the English language and was recently used by experts from the US to train women entrepreneurs on export trade skills and procedures. Happiness Mchomvu, Project Coordinator of the Women Entrepreneurship Development Programme said last week that World Bank has agreed to support the manual's translation into Kiswahili language in order to facilitate effective communication.

One of the weaknesses that beset SMEs in Tanzania was the inability of its managers to compost bankable business plans. As a result, it becomes difficult for them to access loan from financial institutions. Business plans, she said, help one to visualize goals and introduce basic requirements for credit. It also helps an investor to consider what aspects were needed in order for SME to qualify for a loan. "Business plan shows the bank how well ones own business can survive in future", she said. A business plan begins with a vision, with goals helping an entrepreneur to achieve that vision.

Highlighting on Small Enterprises (SME's), she said SME's have traditionally had a difficult time gaining access to finance. Most small businesses will start with money borrowed or given by family members or with personal savings, and without access to further funds; many businesses are unable to take advantage of opportunities, which can make their business grow. For women entrepreneurs, the challenge is even greater, because in most countries, they are not in full control of the assets they own.

Although it is slowly changing, most women in East Africa will require the signature of their husbands in order to obtain loan, or acquire large assets. These are obstacles to business growth as most commercial banks require collateral as security back up. Furthermore in East Africa, as in other developing countries, women entrepreneurs are usually some of the smallest businesses. For a variety of reasons, only a few of them are able to make their businesses grow.

A 2003 study on women enterprises in Kenya revealed that there were 613,000 women-owned enterprises while in 1999, it was estimated at 1.3 million and in 2002, of those, only some 5 percent or some 65,000 had hired employees. While the informal sector businesses have access to group lending schemes through various NGOs and other specialized institutions, the small women-owned enterprises generally lack support services or access to finance, she noted.

No comments: