SMELink International has launched a business networking platform that seeks to connect over 50 million SMEs in Africa with trade opportunities locally and internationally.
The platform dubbed SMELink.app is designed to help SMEs make trade connections, share knowledge, and increase partnerships on a global scale.
Harun Ambeje, SMELink International founder. said that It’s a network for SMEs to build trust and trade with each other. We are linking SMEs with opportunities worldwide, getting access to money, and giving access to mentors.
SMEs make up 90 per cent of the private sector and create more than 50 per cent of jobs in their corresponding economies.
In Africa, the SMEs provide an estimated 80 per cent of jobs across the continent, representing an important driver of economic growth.
Ambele added that they believe the platform will be a game-changer in how SMEs do business in the African continent.
He added that the platform provides an opportunity for SMEs to be in the global spotlight and gain access to cross-border business opportunities.
It also allows them to have a database of resources for technical expertise, financiers, online training, market surveys, knowledge sharing, and partnerships amongst others.
The platform has features where one can get a list of all registered businesses in all sectors, follow different groups based on interest, grow their network through connecting with like-minded people, and interact and share knowledge.
Other opportunities on the platform include Rhino’s Den, where SMEs can pitch for seed/growth funding, access to training as well as access to mentors.
Vusi Thembekwayo, a renowned entrepreneur who was the keynote speaker of the conference lauded the move saying SMEs are the backbone of the world economy, accounting for most businesses across nearly every region.
Thembekwayo said that with appropriate support from money, markets, and mentors, SMEs stand to contribute to African development and position the continent as competitive and innovative and create jobs for unemployed communities.
He added that this will in return provide income and essential goods and services to the 1.2 billion Africans, forming a huge market.
In conclusion, Thembekwayo noted that Sub-Saharan Africa alone has 44 million micro, small, and medium enterprises, almost all of which are micro. For these businesses to grow, create more jobs, and generate economic growth, they need access to capital, and access to markets, and this platform comes in handy.
Frida Owinga, SME Founders Association president said they will continue to do more training so as to help SMEs scale up.
Subsequent conferences are set to take place in Africa’s key markets with Rwanda being the next stop, as well as the rest of the world including the United Arab Emirates, Asia, Europe, and the USA.