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On friday I had an interesting meeting with Mr.James Kachangati of FSDKenya, James is the head of GrowthFin and had been informed about TIDE from one of our partners, which aroused some interest from him. The meeting was to start at noon but I arrived at about half past after getting lost on my way there, nevertheless James was welcomed me and proceeded to brief me on what FSDKenya does.
FSDKenya (Financial Sector Deepening) through a project called GrowthFin is an organisation that works with key partners to facilitate access to finance for Kenya's Small and Medium sized Enterprises.
Our conversation centered on the fact that there are no innovative solutions to SME financing within the market, even the current solutions being offered aren't tailor made for SME's. SME's such as Multiple Choices face large financial challenges, and these challenges are made even more difficult by the fact that the financial institutions around aren't willing to offer financial solutions geared towards our needs and our structures. The ICT sector has the greatest potential to provide employment in this country, unfortunately it's viewed by many financial institutions as a "high risk" industry due to its intangible nature as is the case with sofware development companies, this has the effect of locking us out of the large amounts of money available to other businesses. Bringing together financial players and SME's to discuss and come up with financial solutions is the first step and forms the basis of what GrowthFin is about. The provision of support to oranisations that have made the choice to implement the financial solutions forms the second part of what GrowthFin is about.
We also got to discussing about the lack of information available to the masses, I for one did not know that only 11% of the population has access to formal banking, this kind of information is invaluable and needs to be made accessible.
From one meeting two great opportunities became evident:
Facilitation of events that will get the financial sector and SME's talking and exhanging ideas of financial solutions.
Development of financial information portals.
As a company we look forward to facilitating events that will champion the agenda of SME's as well as building tools to provide the masses access to vital financial information.
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Preparing for 2008
By John Wesonga
About the Author: John Wesonga
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Born in Nairobi, Kenya, John Wesonga is a partner and the Technology Director of Multiple Choices, a communications company that builds web 2.0 applications for the Internet and provides strategic advice on Online Brands. His interests include: web development, blogging, mobile technology, Africa, and Kenya. His blog, Afropreneur, is one of the most popular online resources for news regarding business and technology in Africa. He is also currently a student at Strathmore University, where he is pursuing a degree in Business Information Technology.
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