Access to finance for agripreneurs: getting back to basics

Launch of our first webinar for information and training.

Access to finance is widely recognised as a key solution for rapid and sustainable development of agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa. The main limiting factors are the lack of suitable finance and the capacity of entrepreneurs to prepare a suitable application. COLEAD is stepping up its involvement in this area through programmes such as Fit For Market +.

Our approach focuses on empowering agripreneurs to develop their projects by demystifying access to finance. How do we do this? By helping them understand what access to finance means, when to access it, how and why.

Access to finance is a crucial stage in business development. Experience shows that it is often a source of considerable anxiety and misunderstanding for small- and medium-sized agribusinesses in vulnerable but high-potential countries such as those in Africa.

From the applications for support we receive, it is clear that potential partner beneficiaries often lack a basic understanding of how to access finance. They need answers to simple questions: Do I need funding? What does it take to get funding? What are the different sources of funding?

In this context and for these reasons, COLEAD recently launched its first webinar on the basics of accessing finance for horticultural and agricultural projects. This initiative aims to inform and train agripreneurs in their search for external funding.

130 people attended the webinar on 16 January and nearly 400 registered for the follow-up, which included a recording of the session and an information document.

In 60 minutes, the webinar provided accessible, practical information to help small businesses with limited financial knowledge to better understand:

  • Access to finance for an agricultural project: what it is and what it isn’t.
  • Reasons for accessing finance.
  • Project maturity and investment readiness.
  • Basic requirements for accessing finance.
  • Common sources of finance and eligibility criteria.
  • The process of accessing finance + Do’s and Don’ts.
  • Common challenges.
  • Success stories.

The need for information, awareness and training in this area is immense, as are the entrepreneurial opportunities, particularly for investment in fresh produce processing projects for local and regional markets.

Therefore, this first webinar will be followed by other similar initiatives, including information and awareness sessions. These will be complementary and preliminary to any possible support (training, advisory support, preparation of applications, etc.).

Finally, it is important to note that COLEAD does not directly provide funding through programmes such as FFM+. However, if you are a company (or association) in the horticultural sector and you are struggling to obtain external funding for your development project, you can apply for our support. We will consider your application and see how we can help you.

This activity is supported by the Fit For Market Plus (FFM+) programme, implemented by COLEAD within the Framework of Development Cooperation between the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) and the European Union. This publication receives financial support from the European Union and the OACPS. The content of this publication is the sole responsibility of COLEAD and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union or the OACPS.