Invest in Africa (IIA), a partnership of leading private sector businesses, working to create better access to skills, markets and finance for local SMEs, has launched the African Partner Pool (APP) a platform designed to bridge the gap between larger organizations and local SMEs, allowing them to do business efficiently.
According to the “Barriers to Kenyan SMEs growth and investment” study undertaken by IIA and the Strathmore Business School in mid-2016, SMEs find it difficult to access the business opportunities available from their larger counterparts: conversely, Big Businesses often complain about finding reliable and trusted local SMEs that can deliver to meet their standards. The APP’s vetted supplier pool will facilitate transparent business in a more timely and cost efficient manner.
“IIA’s 10-year vision is to create thriving African economies by having USD 1 billion worth of tenders won on the APP and creating 100,000 jobs across the continent. Less than one year after the launch of IIA, we are proud to unveil this innovative platform that addresses such a fundamental barrier to growth in our economy. By linking Buyers (multinationals and large local corporations) with Suppliers (Small and Medium-sized Enterprises) the APP supports direct linkages in a transparent and efficient manner.” noted Patricia Ithau, IIA’s Country Director
IIA-Kenya has been developing the African Partner Pool (APP) with the assistance of a Kenyan technical advisory team of procurement and ICT specialists.
Beyond buying and selling, the APP is a thriving community of big and small businesses. Buyers include Tullow Oil, Equity Bank, Safaricom, Nation Media Group, EY, Shell, AMSCO, KenInvest and Strathmore Business School, who signed a charter committing to support the growth of SMEs by providing commercial opportunities on the APP platform.
Through innovative features like profile pages for Suppliers to promote their businesses on, customised search tool for Buyers to find Suppliers by region, product and other specifications, a knowledge hub that contains information tool kits to improve their businesses, a review section where the community can post feedback and the tender notice board with live SMS alerts which gives additional value to those registered on the platform.
“The UK and Kenya are deeply connected to each other. Four of the top ten Kenyan taxpayers are British companies, as are the two largest private sector employers in Kenya. The UK Government’s development programmes here put building a stronger and more vibrant.private sector at their heart, to help create the jobs that Kenyans need as the country grows and develops. I’m delighted to support the APP which can play an important part in growing the private sector, particularly SMEs”.
William Pollen, Programme Director of Invest in Africa, UK office concluded, “We are excited about the partners who have come on board today and encourage others to join the platform (www.appkenya.com). Through the tenders and opportunities made available by our partners, the capacity building offered as part of the APP alongside the networking space and events, and the financing options will lead to better outcomes for our businesses and entrepreneurs.”
The launch of the APP was held at The Capital Club, and attracted over 100 guests including senior officials from Government, private sector, embassies and international organizations.