SMEs taking Africa and the World; A conversation at the Big Baraza

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Written by: iPay

We recently participated in The Big Baraza, a fully virtual SME conference held on Tuesday 25th and 26th May 2021, was put together by SMEs for SMEs by SNDBX, a one-stop-for SMEs to access tools, mentorship, coaching, consulting and professional services from over 25 professional experts. At the Big Baraza, our CEO and MD, Philip Nyamwaya spoke during a panel session on how SMEs can take on Africa and the world to scale their businesses. 

Posted on July 8, 2021

SMEs taking Africa and the World; A conversation at the Big Baraza

By: iPay

We recently participated in The Big Baraza, a fully virtual SME conference held on Tuesday 25th and 26th May 2021, was put together by SMEs for SMEs by SNDBX, a one-stop-for SMEs to access tools, mentorship, coaching, consulting and professional services from over 25 professional experts. At the Big Baraza, our CEO and MD, Philip Nyamwaya spoke during a panel session on how SMEs can take on Africa and the world to scale their businesses. 

For many SMEs in Kenya and Africa at large, entrepreneurship is not a walk in the park, especially since most African countries are in struggling economies. This has over the years presented an opportunity for growth and statistics now show that Africa has the fastest urbanization rate in the world, giving opportunities for businesses to innovate, expand and thrive in the growing economies. There are a lot of investors coming into Africa as people can now access more consumer data. This can be attributed to the fast adoption of technology such as online and cross-border money transfer processes like what we at iPay do, making Africa very attractive.

With an estimated 1.7 billion people in Africa by 2030, it is now the right time for businesses to think about moving into new markets. The African Continental Free Trade Area, (ACFTA), has made it easier for businesses to trade easily across borders by removing a lot of the trading barriers across Africa.

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Mr. Alex Rurii, CEO Moran Capital, during the session said, “Africa is a consumption-driven economy and whatever you do, you need a quick turnaround on investments. To be able to grow beyond borders, businesses need to think about sustainable investing and think ahead, 25 years ahead in that market, get in patiently and have a clear strategy, good partnerships and knock-on doors of the organizations that can support you”.

“Businesses need to be proactive and create the business for your business in new markets. Do not sit and wait for a buyer to come to you for you to grow, find out how you can go to the buyer in the market to create the business,” said Ms. Navalayo Osembo, founder Enda Sportswear, during the session.

Some hurdles in scaling to new markets were also discussed during the session as follows:

  • Limited access to information of how businesses in the market you are planning to go into works. Business owners are able to access tools that can help them gather more information through the International Trade Center, which has tools (Market Access Map, Export potential map, Market investment map) that will guide you with the right data. 
  • Bilateral agreements between Kenya and other countries will also help you understand what you can do as you grow into the new markets.
  • Getting the right partners to work with in the new market to help you grow is a big issue. You will need to cultivate strong, trustworthy partnerships with various relevant organizations such as the Kenyan embassy, in the new markets to help in guiding you in the right direction.  
  • Cultural differences are also a huge hurdle in the acceptance and operation of businesses in new markets. Business owners need to learn how to localize their products in the new markets to suit the cultures and norms of the new market.  
  • Perceived lack of capital. Many businesses cite that this is a major hindrance to scaling. It is however not impossible. Working with investment, growth, and scaling experts, who are also found at the SNDBX, will guide a business through the scaling process through sourcing of capital or with the company’s existing resources.

“Kenya is a very small market; you need to look at the entire continent as your playground because wealth is created in scale. Businesses can grow out of Kenya and will need to invest in sound legal advice. The last thing you want is a tax problem in a new jurisdiction, work with companies that are experts in cross-border support,” said iPay MD Philip Nyamwaya.

iPay is helping businesses to scale through the constant innovation of products to help our merchants collect and disburse payments both online and offline in multiple currencies. We recently launched our iPay Kopesha product that has unlocked short-term credit access opportunities for SMEs in Africa. 

 

For more information on iPay Kopesha, visit: https://bit.ly/iPay_Kopesha  

Big Baraza session link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ymhb8QudZF0&t=134s  

 

 

 

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