Portfolio Partner Profile
GroFin SGB Fund Limited Partnership
GroFin is a specialist, impact-driven SME financier that helps entrepreneurs succeed by providing them expert advice, continuous guidance, and financing to grow their businesses. GroFin believes that growing small businesses to create sustainable jobs is the most powerful driver of social and economic development that truly improves people’s lives. Headquartered in Mauritius, GroFin offers financing and support to SMEs in 14 countries in Africa and the Middle East.
As of December 2019, GroFin has invested in 733 small and growing businesses (SGBs), including 196 businesses owned by women. GroFin’s investments maintained 29,457 jobs at its directly financed enterprises and enabled these businesses to sustain a total of 89,450 direct and in direct jobs, ultimately supporting the livelihoods of 447,250 people.
Featured Impact Story
Dental care in developing countries
Senegal, like many developing countries, faces a shortage of dental surgeons and is estimated to have only one dentist for every 39,000 people. GroFin client Ecole Dentaire Internationale (EDI) is helping to address this by providing dentistry training to 30 students.
GroFin provided EDI with financing for new state-of-the-art dental chairs and equipment to improve the quality of its training and care. EDI also runs an in-house dental clinic to provide students with practical experience and give patients access to affordable dental care.
EDI is owned and managed by three dentists, including a female dental surgeon. GroFin’s continued business support to EDI has included helping to improve the financial management skills of these medical professionals and formalizing the business’s accounting practices. “GroFin believed in our project as much as we did. They helped us to make a diagnosis on the organisational and financial levels of our business and supported us on the formalization of EDI,” says one of EDI’s owners, Prof. Abdoulaye Diouf.
GroFin is also helping EDI to formalize the employment of its workers to improve the business’s labor practices and provide greater job security to its 30 employees, which includes 19 women.
EDI’s impact reaches beyond Senegal through training students from other countries in the region. “My plans for the future are to return to Niger to open a dental practice in the most disadvantaged areas to provide good quality treatment to even the poorest patients,” says Alassane Alkaly Abourahmane, an EDI student in his sixth year.
Photo Credit: Ecole Dentaire Internationale | GroFin
Educating the future of Tanzania
When Japhet Makau and his wife, Lupi, first opened Fountain Gate Academy, the school had only seven pupils. “I wanted to start a school which would develop children’s talents, while helping them to do well in school,” says Japhet.
Today, Fountain Gate provides pre-primary and primary school education to nearly 3000 children at two campuses in Dar es Salaam and a third in Dodoma. In 2018, The GroFin SGB Fund provided Fountain Gate with financing to add 14 new classrooms to its campus in Dodoma. GroFin advised the entrepreneur to add a computer lab to the campus and provided financing to equipment it. The expansion allowed Fountain Gate to increase its student number at the Dodoma campus from around 410 to around 1350. Its number of employees at this campus also climbed from 37 to 75, which includes 52 women.
GroFin assisted the entrepreneurs in managing the construction of the new classrooms to ensure it was completed on time, within in budget and met the necessary quality standards. GroFin also advised the entrepreneurs to reduce their expenses and environmental impact by installing solar water heaters and LPG gas, instead of coal fires, for cooking.
The GroFin-funded school in Dodoma caters for low- and middle-income families. “We had to cut down our school fees, since we want to give an opportunity to all children. I want to see children’s talents developed and nurtured. I want to see CEOs of big companies coming from this school,” says Japhet.
Photo Credit: Fountain Gate Academy | GroFin
Bestever Paper Industries
GroFin’s willingness to provide start-up capital to Bestever Paper Industries in Uganda gave birth to a business which today employs over 300 people from communities at the base of the income pyramid. Bestever manufactures eco-friendly polypropylene (PP) bags and ropes used to store and transport agricultural produce.
The business approached GroFin in 2014 for start-up working capital and again in 2017, this time to add a third production line. The new line increased Bestever’s production capacity by 30% and diversified its production range.
GroFin advised Bestever on procuring and implementing a management system to enhance control and efficiency in its factory. The new system helped Bestever to become more profitable as the business expanded by allowing the entrepreneur to monitor all aspects of the production process, including raw material usage and wastage.
GroFin’s business support to Bestever also included the improvement of its ESG and health and safety practices. Bestever now provides its employees with protective clothing – and ensures that they wear it – as part of a formal health and safety policy. The business employs 320 people – which includes 141 young women.
Ssembatya Musa (24), works at Bestever as a machine operator and supports his family of seven. “It is very difficult to find a job in Uganda, especially for the youth. Being employed has given me a sense of purpose in life and this has prevented me from getting involved in bad habits like drug and alcohol abuse which most of my peers are into.”
Photo Credit: Bestever Paper Industries | GroFin