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Barclays builds capacity for SMEs

PAULINE DIKUELO
van der Merwe says Barclays will support SMEs with access to finance and markets
Barclays Bank of Botswana has developed the Enterprise Supply Chain Development (ESD) programme, a product aimed at addressing the challenges faced by Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

The ESD programme will mainly focus on capacity building and link SMEs with the corporate value chain hence creating access to finance. The product will also help to provide access to markets through a purchase order finance closed loop model.

Speaking at the launch yesterday, Barclays Bank managing director (MD), Reinette van der Merwe said the SME sector has proven to be an important driver of economic growth and employment creation despite the fact that about 90% of them fail in their first five years.

“Research has shown that SMEs fail due to lack of financial management, record keeping, lack of proper management, poor product quality as well as lack of access to finance hence the reason why we have decided to come on board and help address these challenges,” she said.

Through the programme, Barclays will accord a corporate an opportunity to recommend some of the SMEs that they are in business with to get financial assistance in the form of loans.

The SMEs will also get mentoring and training on record keeping and

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financial management. According to the MD, through this project, they intend to engage stakeholders to collaborate with them and develop the SME sector adding that the success of the programme depends on the bank as well as its stakeholders.

According to the MD, locally, nearly 90% of all registered businesses are SMEs and employ over 300,000 people both formally and informally. “The programme will focus mainly on capacity building and strengthening both horizontal and vertical linkages between the SMEs and the respective corporate value chains,” she said.

In addition she noted that this will help in making access to finance much easier by using the corporate’s procurement strength through the purchase order finance in closed loop model.

“We are in a unique position to serve SMEs by using our core skills and strategic positioning and influence. Being ingrained in the community we believe that as we grow as a business, those around us also grow and prosper. These include but are not limited to our colleagues and valued clients,” she said.



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