Counsellors trained to coach Senegalese MSMEs on access to funding
ITC trains financial management counsellors to help improve financial-management skills and business-development plans of enterprises and cooperatives.
As part of ITC’s Access to Finance programme, a component of the NTF II project in Senegal that aims at promoting mango exports, 20 micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and cooperatives were selected to receive coaching so they can gain better access to funding.
Financial management counsellors who have been trained in the coaching methodology of the Access to Finance Programme will instruct the selected MSMEs, all members the Federal Cooperative of Horticulture Actors of Senegal (CFAHS), in financial management and business plan development,
The first training session was held in Dakar on 24-27 July and included modules such as ‘Access to Finance for SMEs: operational modalities’, ‘International trade of mangoes’, ‘Payment mechanisms and risk management in international trade’, ‘Estimating SME financial needs’, ‘Bookkeeping and accounting’, and ‘Business diagnostics and SME coaching techniques’. A total of 20 participants — seven women and 13 men — drawn from the Centre de Gestion Agréé de Dakar (CGAD), a national business development services provider, CiraFinance, a financial-services provider, and the Association of Enterprise Development Consultants (ASCDE) attended the session, jointly organised by ITC and ASEPEX. Guests included Cheikh Ngane, the NTF II coordinator and chairman of CFAHS, and representatives from Banque Atlantique.
Mr Ngane described management and financial challenges from the MSMEs’ perspective, explaining why a sound and reliable accounting system is necessary before an MSME can approach a bank for funding. Yaya Sekou Ndiaye and Julien Korea, both in charge of SME financing at Banque Atlantique, shared their experiences on assessing SME loan applications. They set out why they consider the ITC's Access to Finance Programme an important step in making SMEs more sustainable and a tool for creating trust between enterprises and financial institutions. They also said that they would be interested in partnering the project and providing loans to MSMEs that have received coaching.
A second training session is planned later this autumn. But before that, each financial management counsellor will be assigned two MSMEs that will undergo a business-diagnostic study to help them identify their weakness and strengths. This will allow them develop the right remedies to resolve problems and make the MSMEs sustainable. The findings will also help to determine whether financing is needed and obtainable, in which case the counsellor will assist the business managers in developing a business plan by the end of the year.