Addressing the entrepreneurial funding knowledge gap with the launch of a comprehensive funding handbook

Zevoli Growth Partners in conjunction with the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) is thrilled to announce the release of the first in a series of much-anticipated funding guides for local Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

Going after the right money in the right way

“The purpose of these funding handbooks is knowledge sharing,” explains Mpopi Khupe, Managing Director at Zevoli Growth Partners. “In working with micro and small businesses, we provide non-funding business development support, but a recurring theme from all of our programmes is that small businesses fundamentally believe that funding is the solution to the bulk of their problems. However, a lot of the time, they’re not funding-ready or they’re going after the wrong money,” Khupe continues. “With this and future handbooks, we intend to help micro and small businesses gain a proper understanding of the funding solutions available, and how to position themselves correctly to access the appropriate resources they need to grow.”

True catalysts of economic development

“As a global network of organisations looking to propel entrepreneurship in developing economies, ANDE understands that small and growing businesses are the true catalysts for job creation,” notes Sekai Chiwandamira, ANDE Chapter Head in South Africa. “We saw the development of this series of handbooks in partnership with Zevoli as a great opportunity, not only to share knowledge with the small and growing businesses, but with the ecosystem as a whole.”

Having identified a number of gaps within the ecosystem relating to finance, Chiwandamira believes that this partnership is a strategic opportunity to strengthen the entire ecosystem in a way that constructively assists growing businesses to scale. “Often, guides like these tend to speak exclusively to a specific segment of the business sector. However, through the envisaged series that will focus on different funding solutions, we intend to broaden access to all types of finance, particularly on a micro- and small-business level,” Chiwandamira adds.

Packaging knowledge in palatable formats

The first issue of the handbook will explore national development funding institutions in South Africa. Subsequent issues will unpack a range of others, including provincial development agencies, MSME funding offered by corporates, retail banks’ MSME funding. “There tends to be a perception there is no money out there for MSMEs, but this is not the case. By packaging information in a palatable manner, we hope to give small business owners the knowledge, skills, and ability to develop a holistic understanding of the funding options that are available to them and put through well-articulated applications that stand a chance of being successful. This requires that they themselves understand their own funding readiness shortcomings or limitations, the stringent requirements of funders and how to address these when it comes to the funding solutions that are out there,” Khupe says.

Expanding across the African continent

Through knowledge sharing, we can also actively contribute to empowering businesses that operate in the informal economy and provide unbanked, survivalist business entities the knowledge to integrate into the formal economy. “We are confident that this series of handbooks will play a critical role in closing the financing gap, as well as the gender gap. This is particularly important, as the majority of entrepreneurs on the African continent are women,” Chiwandamira points out.

Starting with a South African focus, the guide will expand into a series of handbooks for each country in Africa. Chiwandamira adds that we often forget that MSMEs are the bloodline of our economies, not only for job creation, but most importantly for the provision of goods and services. “Access to finance is going to enable these enterprises to scale and grow by bridging the disconnect with the right information,” Chiwandamira concludes.

Mpopi Khupe, Managing Director at Zevoli Growth Partners.

Sekai Chiwandamira, ANDE Chapter Head in South Africa.