GroFin launches $100m fund to support African startups

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International development finance organisation GroFin has launched a US$100 million fund specifically for small African businesses, aiming to support over 9,800 entrepreneurs and help create 47,000 sustainable jobs over the next five years.

The GroFin Small and Growing Businesses (SGB) Fund, which is expected to grow to US$150 million in two years, is one of the largest funds specifically targeting small and growing businesses, and a follow-on to the already fully invested US$170 million GroFin Africa Fund.

Investors in the fund include Shell Foundation, KfW Development Bank (KfW), the Dutch Good Growth Fund (DGGF) and Norfund, which the fund looking to provide business development assistance and finance to small and growing businesses that are currently underserved in Africa.

Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, Zambia, Kenya, South Africa, Rwanda, Tanzania and Egypt are the countries specifically targeted by the GroFin SGB Fund, which seeks to provide an integrated solution of patient risk capital and end-to-end business support for small and growing businesses.

Each year GroFin aims to support up to 100 entrepreneurs, with an estimated average loan size of US$350,000. The company said entrepreneurs in Africa typically lack the vital resources they need to succeed; access to flexible patient capital, access to business skills and training, and linkages to the supply chains of larger organisations.

“In many parts of Africa, SMEs account for over two thirds of GDP and are therefore critical to economic growth and poverty reduction. However many entrepreneurs struggle to access the finance and skills they need to grow their businesses successfully,” said Sam Parker, director at the Shell Foundation.

“With the launch of the GroFin SGB Fund, entrepreneurs across nine countries will be able to access critical ingredients for growth that will also create jobs and support inclusive economic development.”

Jurie Willemse, chief executive officer (CEO) of GroFin, said the fund was a clear demonstration of the high levels of interest that investors have for smaller investments in Africa that deliver both quantifiable investment and development returns.

“The confidence shown in the GroFin team and our unique business model that integrates risk finance with business development assistance to develop entrepreneurs, local business and employment at scale is heartening,” he said.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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