The worst and best week
Access to finance is one of the critical pillars of any business. Some of the best companies only made it because they had the finance to speculate or take risks. Finance though is not normally available to every company that needs it.
Over the last year or so, my colleagues and I have made it our priority to match businesses and the finance providers in West Africa. Over a year ago, we started helping a well established agricultural business that has been in existence for more than 5 years. The analysis and data were very encouraging and we thought we could get the business the much needed capital for its expansion. The business had collateral to support the case with the loan scheduled to be paid back over 5 years. That process took over 1 year and at the last huddle, the loan was turned down without any explanation apart from the change in the bank’s focus.
The collapse of the deal was disappointing not because of the level of work put into getting the deal, not even the time wasted or the hopes of the staff dashed etc, but because of the missed opportunities. If banks cannot support established entrepreneurs, new businesses do not stand a chance.
After the collapse of that deal, we have now decided to partner not with the banks in Nigeria, but with international investors ready to do their own due diligence but are also willing to take risks.
These investors have specific requirements, the businesses must have impacts of the lives of people, must not damage the environment and must not displace people. These are also our goals as well. These are ethical businesses with social impact. Whether you are building an estate with some low cost housing or your estate generates electricity through solar powered system or if you are into a organic agriculture, then these investors will want to help either through loan or equity investments.
The promise is that we will not leave any stone unturned to help you achieve your dream.