OPIC Announces Launch of African Technical Assistance Initiative
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Washington, D.C. – The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) today launched a partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to utilize OPIC’sEnterprise Development Network (EDN) to provide a minimum of $1.5 million in technical assistance to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in sub-Saharan Africa.
The mission of the African Technical Assistance initiative, or EDN/ATA, is to spur the development of SMEs in sub-Saharan Africa and to provide local entrepreneurs with access to the capital and technical skills needed to enhance production and competitiveness. This program seeks to yield true benefits through better equipped entrepreneurs, more creditworthy projects, and more efficient delivery of capital - leading to an increase in sustainable jobs in the region and a variety of additional social and economic benefits.
SMEs seeking financing can use the technical assistance grants to fund meaningful business enhancement activities, including:
• Expenditures associated with improving financial management, including a financial audit and better bookkeeping as needed;
• Installation of a comprehensive accounting system, including appropriate software if needed;
• Business consulting and business plan drafting;
• Market and/or feasibility studies; and
• Evaluation designed to improve existing operations.
For a project to be eligible for EDN/ATA funding, it must meet the following criteria:
• The project must be located in a USAID-eligible country in Africa
• The project’s principals must have a minimum of two years of business operation and experience in the sector
In addition, SMEs requesting funding will be required to match the amount provided, but may find a sponsoring debt or equity provider to assist with the matching component. For further details regarding eligibility requirements, please refer to the EDN website at www.ednaccess.com.
Broad Cove Partners (Broad Cove), the current Program Manager for EDN, will function as Manager of the EDN/ATA Initiative. Broad Cove is accepting applications from SMEs seeking technical assistance in sub-Saharan Africa. Additionally, business consulting and other organizations interested in serving as EDN Originators are invited to contact Broad Cove at firstname.lastname@example.org to begin the EDN Originator application process. Broad Cove is also seeking applications from any organization looking to serve as a debt and/or equity-based EDN Network Investor. As a Network Investor, the organization will have direct access to the pipeline of SMEs benefiting from enhancement through the EDN/ATA Initiative. For more information, please visit www.ednaccess.com.