What happens when you mix local business development services with an investment platform?
This local expert created an investment platform to link the agri-SMEs they strengthen with necessary finance. This business development service provider, PearlMutual, is using SCOPEinsight’s tools to not only help them strengthen the agri-SME but also help their investors understand the creditworthiness of the SMEs.
Financial development in Nigeria
Access to financial services is key to rural development because it increases incomes and helps create employment opportunities., However, a lack of access to financial services stifles economic growth. And while policy in Nigeria supports inclusive finance for farmers and agribusinesses, fewer than 2% of rural households have access to any type of institutional finance. While there have been efforts to develop innovative finance schemes, lending to the agricultural sector is still lacking.
One of the reasons for the shortfall in agricultural lending is that the SMEs need stronger business operations. Agri-SMEs in Nigeria often lack the resources they would require to work with financial institutions. Many do not have collateral or transactional history. A true solution would also have to ensure that the funding provided is used effectively, in a way that will help the SMEs grow sustainably and efficiently.
In 2018, PearlMutual Consulting Limited, a Nigerian business advisory firm, created an Investment Platform called “BridgeAngels” to increase lending to the agricultural sector in Nigeria. This Investment Platform provides SMEs in Nigeria with projects, trade, and working capital. Their FundOne pools funds from various high-net-worth individuals using debt or equity investment models. The money is passed on to SMEs, who can then use it to grow their businesses. The goal of this Investment Platform is “to feed the nation, grow Nigeria’s export revenue, increase her export influence, and reduce economic disparity”.
As part of the Investment Platform, PearlMutual has also set up a free quarterly SME Clinic, which teaches SMEs in Nigeria the skills they need to become sustainable and profitable. This Investment Platform helps SME owners to network with others in the Investment Platform, and it also teaches sessions that target the most important foundations of successful businesses.
The Investment Platform’s success
In the nearly three years since the Investment Platform began, BridgeAngels has funded ten different SMEs with over $1.3 million. The Investment Platform has helped many women and youths and created a plethora of jobs. Their SME clinic also helps organizations to create long-lasting relationships with other members of the value chain.
One example of a business that has seen great success thanks to BridgeAngels is Esteemma Diamond Global Investment Limited. Esteemma is a company specialized in processing raw cashew nuts into high-grade cashew kernels for the export market. It was the first company to raise funds through the BridgeAngels Investment Platform and has so far raised over $270,000. This has helped Esteemma to build a large network of clients and to hire more than 50 youth and women.
Now the platform is even stronger
Earlier this year, PearlMutual made a move to become a member of the SCOPEinsight Local Expert Network (“LEN”). The decision for Pearl Mutual was a simple one: Use SCOPEinsight’s tools and assessments to better diagnose agri-SMEs areas of weakness. In addition to being better able to assess agri-SME’s business strengths and weaknesses, Pearl Mutual finds great value in using SCOPE scores and bankability metrics to help lenders better understand the bankability of agri-SME borrowers.
As part of the LEN, we support PearlMutual’s mission to enable access to finance for agribusinesses throughout Nigeria, and we hope to help them continue to have such incredible successes as they have already seen through their BridgeAngels Investment Platform.
Contact us for more information on how you can use our network to help you achieve better programmatic results or if you’re a business development services provider and would like to become a local expert.