Please describe the goal of your initiative; outline what you are trying to achieve
The goal of our solution is to allow entrepreneurs to access funds in order to expand their businesses and create employment opportunities. Our coaching program will enable an exchange of knowledge and skills by creating the opportunities for business professionals around the globe to collaborate with local entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurs will receive capital and innovation. In addition, Invest Africa is developing an SMS-based accounting mobile application that will allow entrepreneurs to report their key sales, expenses and operations figures via text messages: this will increase the tracking of the investments and the transparency of the process. In addition, an education program will support education initiatives in the entrepreneurs communities.
Which barrier(s) to financial inclusion does your solution seek to address? (select all applicable)
The lack of affordable financial products tailored to the needs of underserved and excluded communities,.
If you selected 'other' above, please specify which other barriers to financial inclusion you solution seeks to address:
For which underserved or excluded communities will your solution create access to valuable, affordable, secure and comprehensive financial services?
Our solution targets former micro-credits clients based in Africa who need capital to expand their businesses. These clients are micro-entrepreneurs and small business which lack access to traditional banking services due to the lack of financing offered to entrepreneurs who already have received several micro-credits and need larger amounts of financing to expand their businesses and create employment opportunities.
Could your solution work in other geographies or regions? If so, where?
Invest Africa aims to work in the following regions in Africa: West Africa, East Africa and Southern Africa. However, our model could work worldwide since we only need an online platform to raise the funds and local partners to assist the entrepreneurs on the field.
If your solution is dramatically successful, how will things be different in 10 years?
The beneficiaries of the solution are the entrepreneurs who receive funding to expand their businesses. These entrepreneurs will be able to provide for their families and to hire employees who will be able to provide for their families.The indirect beneficiaries are the extended family of the direct beneficiaries and their communities and the users of the SMS accounting application. Indeed, the success of the businesses that received investments will generate an improvement of the local SME sector, the employment market and the living standards. In addition, the education and coaching program will provide services to the entire communities and will contribute to the economic growth in the areas where Invest Africa operates. If our solution is successful, we could observe the development of the SME throughout Africa. This sector is underdeveloped in Africa, even though it represents a vital sector to drive economic growth (SME account for 57% of employment in developed countries.
What will have had to have changed to make this happen?
In order to make this happen, Invest Africa would need to provide capital to a great number of local entrepreneurs and to implement a strategy to ensure their businesses are succesful. To do so, Invest Africa must implement a rigorous selection of the local partners and entrepreneurs, raise a high volume of capital via its online platform, lead them to success with our coaching program and support local development initiatives in their communities via our linked non-profit organization.
What has been the impact of your solution to date?
Invest Africa has established contracted partnerships with local institutions in the following countries: Benin, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria. As of today, Invest Africa raised $1460 via its online platform and plans to finance an agro-processing plant in Ghana.
What is your projected impact over the next five years?
As an online platform, Invest Africa will be accessible to anyone with Internet access. The platform and the team members are bilingual (English and French) which will enable Invest Africa to develop in the USA, Europe and Africa and gain millions of users over the years. If successful, Invest Africa could expand its activities in all the African regions by increasing the number local partners/entrepreneurs and set up an office in Africa.Invest Africa will track its impact through program performance indicators (total value of investments, number of enterprises who received investments, number of hours of coaching program provided...) and social and economic indicators (number of jobs created, number of local service providers who better meet entrepreneurial demand)
What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?
Lack of repayment: While the extremely high repayment rates among microfinance clients are encouraging, there are still potential circumstances which could lead to an investor‘s loss of all or part of his/her money. These include: political unrest, currency fluctuation, natural disasters, business failure, institutional bankruptcy or fraud, etc. Invest Africa aims to circumvent these challenges as best we can with the selective choosing of our field partners and areas of operation.
Another challenge is the difficulty to raise funds to provide funding to the entrepreneurs. The balance the risk of failure, Invest Africa plans on using various sources of funding: individuals (online investments, fundraising events), corporations (sponsorships, investments).
Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact
Reach 1000 online investors and provide $50000 funding to African entrepreneurs
Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone
Reach 10 000 online investors and provide $500 000 funding to African entrepreneurs