New fund launched to cater for SMEs

WINDHOEK: The South African Business Partners International (BPI) launched a N.dollars 100 million BPI Namibia Small and Medium Enterprises’ (SMEs) Fund in the capital on Wednesday.

This fund is now one of the biggest in the country, aimed at providing risk financing to local entrepreneurs and SMEs.

Its focus is to provide access to funding and post-investment technical assistance support to SMEs, thereby stimulating wealth-creation, increasing employment and fostering local entrepreneurship in the country.

Speaking at the launch, BPI Namibia Country Manager Eloise du Plessis said the fund was launched in response to the growing demand for access to finances and technical assistance.

She said the fund will be managed by a local investment team from a regional office in the capital, and will specialise in investing capital, skills and knowledge into entrepreneurs.

Speaking at the same occasion, BPI Managing Director Nazeem Martin said Namibia was an attractive choice for the business to establish itself due to the fact that the country shares many similarities with the South African SMEs environment.

“Besides the country performing relatively well economically, the regulatory environment is similar to South Africa, which means we can relate to the business practices and culture in the country,” he noted.

“The Namibian government is also driving the process of creating an enabling business environment in the country, which is positive for the sector. The Namibian government also has an appetite to protect foreign investor rights, thereby making the country foreign investor-friendly,” he indicated.

BPI Namibia will fund businesses such as sole proprietorships, partnerships, close corporations and limited companies.

The investment amounts vary from N.dollars 500 000 to N.dollars 10 million, and are repayable between five to 10 years.

The fund will provide money for expansion, asset finance, management buy-outs and buy-ins, replacement finance, property purchase (retail, commercial and industrial), and property development (retail, commercial industrial and turnkey residential).

BPI Namibia will not invest in lending activities, farming, underground mining, informal and micro- enterprises, non-profit organisations and gambling, alcohol and tobacco.

BPI Namibia is the fourth investment fund managed by BPI on the African continent. Other BPI funds are present in Kenya, Madagascar and Rwanda.

BPI is a specialist risk finance company for formal small and medium enterprises in South Africa and selected countries.

The company actively supports entrepreneurial growth by providing financing, specialist sectoral knowledge and value-added service for viable and medium businesses.