Large multinational firms and state-driven initiatives like those in China have sufficient resources to tap African markets which are overall emerging, inefficient, more costly than other regions to operate, and difficult to navigate at this stage of their development. There are some noted exceptions like Mauritius and South Africa, but every country has its peculiarities that can make it challenging to business.
In this scenario, businesses in the middle market, small and medium enterprises, entrepreneurs, and micro entrepreneurs are left behind. In speaking with the head of the Western Cape Province investment agency (WESPRO) in South Africa, he noted that they see significant increases in large firms from the US establishing themselves there but little of small and medium enterprises that are vital to both US and South African economies. The US EXIM bank provided more than $1.4 billion in funding for projects in Africa that used American products, but the majority of that went to large-scale projects like $800 million. This left very little for small businesses for which the money was set aside. The simple truth is that these firms typically do not have access to the resources and channels to navigate the African business landscape successfully.
This gap in service to firms, other than large multinationals, is not relegated to US firms. You will find this in other free economy markets like Spain, Brazil, and South Africa. In fact, African small firms in their own countries and those trying to access neighboring markets have the same experience on the whole.
In many of these countries there are government programs to support firms entering foreign markets, but they are insufficient to help a broad base of firms tap African markets. This is the gap Afribiz Accelerators™ addresses. The accelerators are able to help local African firms and foreign firms grow simultaneously through a unique combination of networks, resources, and clusters while maintaining a socially inclusive business model which engenders positive relationships with government, business, and social sectors in the countries established.
The Afribiz Accelerator™ is a for-profit, social enterprise model, which focuses on integrating entrepreneurship/leadership training for youth, economic opportunity development for youth, social/business network leverage, an incubator/venture accelerator, SME/entrepreneur venture capital fund, and development of an SME/entrepreneur support industry in each country of operation.
Accelerators are currently located in Southern Africa, East Africa, West Africa, and Central Africa.