Indian High Commissioner to Kenya, joined by the global head of Shell Foundation & Head of DFID Kenya also in attendance
Africa has always had a leadership position in ICT and Technology, but increasingly activity by Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in sectors like healthcare, clean energy, agriculture and financial services is booming. Over US$ 5 bn is currently available in private equity dry powder – if tapped; it has potential to play a catalytic role in the continent’s growth. To support the growth of such SMEs, Intellecap, an India based advisory firm has expanded Sankalp Forum, one of the world’s largest SME focused platforms to Africa. Shell Foundation and UKaid are supporting this expansion.
Established in 2009, Sankalp Forum was the first platform for high impact SMEs in India, and rapidly became one of the worlds largest. Derived from the ancient Sanskrit word “sankalpa” meaning determination; it has built an enabling ecosystem for early-stage SMEs, channels investments, and engages over 11,000 people globally through collaborative year-round initiatives. It is a convergence of global knowledge, investment and dialog geared towards building a more inclusive ecosystem for high impact, pro-poor businesses. Over the last 5 years Sankalp has supported 300 such businesses in India and channelled investments worth US$ 120Mn.
At day 1 of the Sankalp Africa Summit on 12 February, 12 such high impact SMEs chosen from around Africa were showcased to an audience of over 450 investors, donors, advisors and SME supporters from over 25 countries around the world. 4 of these SMEs won awards – with Continental Renewable Energy which manufactures eco – friendly plastic fencing posts from recycled plastics taking the Grand Winner Award. Represented by Dr. Aghan Joshua Oscar, CEO, the winner was picked by a jury of angel and venture capital investors who found that Continental was the most scalable and socially impactful of the finalists. The second runner-up award was given to Prosoya Kenya, which under the leadership of CEO Kaburu Maguika buys maize, sorghum, soya beans and finger millet from small scale farmers, extrudes the composite, fortifies the extrude with vitamins and minerals to create packages of fortified foods. They sell these packages at affordable prices through large retail outlets and their own distribution networks, creating access for under-served markets. The second-runner up was MicroClinic Technologies; a Kenya-based corporation specialized in developing and commercializing healthcare technologies. Their products include mobile monitoring devices for maternal and child conditions and their flagship enterprise health management application, ZiDi™, designed to improve the supply chain management of medical commodities in the Africa market. The people’s choice award was won by Rwandan SME DASSY Enterprise which specializes in retail, supply, installation and after-sale services of all affordable, reliable and low-cost solar energy technologies, solar system components, solar ovens and electrical items. CEO Nezerwa François d’Assise received the award on behalf of the DASSY team.
Key industry leaders who are attending the Sankalp Africa summit include Amrote Abdella – Director, Microsoft 4Afrika, Dr. Wiebe Boer – CEO, Tony Elumelu Foundation, Chris West – Director, Shell Foundation, Eme Essien Lore – Senior Associate Director – Africa Regional Office, Rockefeller Foundation, Lisa Phillips – Head – DFID Kenya, Ranjith Cherickel – Head – Africa Sales, Nokia Siemens Networks, Jan Schwier – Head – Sub Saharan Africa, International Finance Corporation.
Vineet Rai, Chairman – Intellecap said that, “Africa is attracting more investments into high impact SMEs than any other part of the world; and is very high on the agenda for groups like G8. By expanding the Sankalp Forum into Africa, we want to first learn from all the things that are working well in Africa and take these learnings to others. We also want to make it easier for SMEs from Africa to expand to Asia and vice versa. Sankalp Forum is just the start of these conversations and we will be building a stronger foundation soon.”