Business Partners International Malawi (BPI), a fund manager that provides debt equity financing, has advised budding entrepreneurs to consider seeking technical assistance from experts to grow their businesses.
BPI country manager, Akuzike Kafwamba made the call in Lilongwe when the company hosted a business breakfast with the Central Region entrepreneurs, after successfully hosting the same in Blantyre in April 2023.
According to Kafwamba, BPI as a risk financier also provides Technical Assistance Loans, at zero interest, as a way of supporting the entrepreneurs to address technical requirements of their businesses and achieve the desired growth.
“The main message was how do they get themselves ready to access funding. The biggest challenge with SMEs is access to finance and also access to information on how to access funding. These two things we try to tie them together by engaging them so that they appreciate there is someone who can provide both financial and technical support for them to grow their businesses”.
“We do appreciate their business and growth plan and also we ensure they dive deeper into their operations. We have noticed that most SMEs do not understand their operations and the kind of funding required for their business,” he said.
One of the participants, Nomonde Sambakunsi commended Business Partners International for the meeting saying it was an eye opener to her as a fashion designer.
“Despite providing financial assistance, they have also provided direction on how one can grow their business. This is one of the aspects that we as business people miss,” she said.
During the meeting, Kafwamba made a presentation where he outlined BPI’s commitment in improving the lives of entrepreneurs. Since January 2023, BPI has approved MWK2.9 billion investments, and disbursed MWK1.6 billion investments. The firm has also approved MWK164.5 million technical assistance loans, and disbursed MWK73 million. In doing these investments, BPI has created and sustained 332 jobs, according to Kafwamba.
“We are a risk financier because we fund where others wouldn’t because of lack of or nature of securities offered and also lack of own contribution or where the industry is regarded as risky. Our major focus is on the entrepreneurial ability and viability when considering funding,” said Kafwamba.
Some of the businesses BPI funds include: Commercial property development/purchase, Manufacturing, Retail, Education, Health, Tourism, Green energy, and Services like IT and other professional services. The firm offers financing from MWK100 million to MWK1 billion.