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Biz4Afrika Weekly News Round-Up

"The loincloth is an African cultural identity and feeds an entire economic chain. That's why we have to value it by financing its production"

There is no doubt that Africa is a continent of entrepreneurs. Reclaiming their African roots, women entrepreneurs in Senegal have made crafts a central pillar, focusing especially on the African loincloth. By getting celebrities such as Beyoncé to make them fashionable in Western markets, the demand for these traditional products is gaining traction.

While the loincloth has mainly been made for traditional cultural and societal uses, the youth of Senegal are using African fabrics as the basis for their clothing, further strengthening this burgeoning market.

The good news is that funding organisations are coming to the party by considering funding options for this specialised cluster of entrepreneurs.\


“Entrepreneurs should take full advantage of special global trade days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday – it’s like being able to plug your specials into someone else’s marketing campaign for no extra charge”

This is according to Jesse Weinberg, who is the Head of the SME Customer Segment at FNB Business. It sounds like great advice, to plug into the herd mentality on these two massive days at the alter of consumerism, however, it does come with a caveat.

For those entrepreneurs that directly serve their end-user in a B2C business model, the hype generated around these days could lead to the entrepreneur to stock up on products going on promotion, but this could lead to overstocks if sales do not take off as expected. Dead stock is just that, dead. It ties up precious working capital that could be used for other more productive stock.

A good tip is to gauge sales of items by conducting a simple online survey of your customers to establish the potential take-off. This can only be done if you have an online business and have built up a database of customers and not-yet-customers to poll. Then use social media to pre-promote the special offers before and during the sales days.

Of course, we could turn this on its head and get entrepreneurs to follow the herd mentality on Black Friday/Cyber Monday, and stock up on those products needed in the future in the business. Purchasing input product at great prices now will work wonders on the net profit margin later. But, prudence with cash-flow always!

Access to Funds – signs of life for SMEs in Togo

About 80% of national economic activity depends on the SME sector in Togo so it is heartening to read that the government plans to enable better access to funds for those entrepreneurs.

Current financing options are mostly limited to microfinancing and this is usually limited to small amounts, normally at rather high interest rates. This option may work in the early stages of the SME but once it needs to scale the owner will require more serious funding options.

Fortunately, this is being addressed by certain government departments and funded by the commercial banks such as the African Development Bank and the West African Development Bank.

Hope springs that entrepreneurs in Togo will soon be able to readily access finance at reasonable interest rates.