Business Partners International (BPI) Malawi, a fund manager that provides debt equity financing, has encouraged entrepreneurs to seek technical assistance in building their businesses.
BPI Malawi Country Manager, Akuzike Kafwamba made the call during a breakfast interaction with small and medium entrepreneurs (SMEs) in Blantyre over the weekend.
Making his presentation, Kafwamba said technical assistance enhances the business processes in each business invested in, and also helps to mitigate risks associated with increased funding into the business, which might lead to default.
Apart from improving and increasing efficiency in the operations of the business, Kafwamba further said technical assistance adds value to the business in different areas.
“It is appreciated that SMEs do not have the level of sophistication that larger enterprises have, and therefore in addition to core funding, require to have their business processes enhanced in order to create more efficiency and professionalism in their operations.”
“Business Partners provides technical assistance to its investee clients upon approval of the main loan. Each investee client is eligible for up to 30% of the main loan amount, in form of technical assistance during the term of their loan.”
“Identification of technical assistance needs is made during the due diligence period and also during the monitoring period while the term of the funding runs. The technical assistance loans are interest free and subordinated to the main loan with flexible payment terms,” he said.
One of the participants, Chimwemwe Nyirenda of Hashtag Communications commended BPI Malawi for the eye-opening interaction.
Nyirenda said failure by SMEs to consult experts for technical assistance affects the growth of their businesses.
“Through the technical assistance, one is also able to get mentors who can play a big role in growing the business through networking with other potential clients. Through this networking, the mentors may recommend your business to others,” he said.
Some of the issues involved in technical assistance are financial management systems, trainings like sales, customer service, corporate governance, recruitment/human resources, automation of operating processes, business trade fairs, environmental processes, health and safety training, mentorship by industry experts, familiarization tours, ISO certification, marketing strategy and others.