In a bid to assist Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) by promoting access to finance in order to grow their business, Ecobank Group and the Africa SME Champions Forum have partnered other co-organisers like the African Guarantee Fund and AfricSearch to ensure a successful hosting of over 300 Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) in Dakar, Senegal.
According to the organizers, meeting forms a veritable platform for over 300 ambitious SME companies in Africa who are interested in growing their businesses to enhance opportunities.
The forum which the bank said creates an opportunity to identify Africa’s next great success stories, is the first direct access platform to finance for the SMEs. It is also providing them the opportunities to enjoy master classes, customised consultancy service that brings together high-quality experts and a mentoring programme.
The rationale behind the forum was to bring together at a single location an entire range of tools, networks and services dedicated to SMEs to allow them to put in place, on their returns, the methods shared by the community of the Africa SME Champions Forum.
Commenting on the forum, the Deputy Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria Tony Okpanachi said the inaccessibility of finance is a major obstacle to small business growth and development, with only 20 per cent of African SMEs receiving a credit line from financial institutions.
He emphasised that “this forum aims to assist viable SMEs by providing them opportunity for easy financing. The partnership reaffirms Ecobank’s commitment to support small and medium-sized businesses and further enable the SME sector play a critical role in the socio-economic development of Africa.