With a mix of traditional building styles and a flurry of modern twists, the New Rays Hotel venue was the perfect location for the launch of the Small and Medium Enterprise Facility (SMEF) over the summer. In the bustling, business-centre of Garowe, Puntland, the event aimed to introduce existing small business owners to exciting new business development services, such as training, coaching and technical assistance.
The SMEF has already been successfully implemented in other areas of Somalia, such as Hargeisa and Mogadishu. The idea is that Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s) in fragile states often need extra support to grow and succeed. For example, access to markets, access to finance and access to networks and skills can be huge hurdles when doing business in conflict-affected countries. These challenges are often exasperated for female entrepreneurs due to social, financial and geographical barriers.
SPARK Somalia employees were proud that the launch event of the SMEF brought together over 70 participants from the government of Puntland (SAP members), as well as entrepreneurs from SME’s, female entrepreneurs, women’s associations, Business Service Development and Technical Vocational Educational Training providers. All these organisations were interested in partnering with SMEF to begin supporting important, growing businesses in Garowe in Puntland, Somalia.
Whilst much of Somalia has been marked by long periods of conflict, Puntland and Somaliland enjoy relative stability in terms of peace and economy. Therefore, private sector development and investment is on the rise, particularly in the areas of trade, money transfer, telecommunications and livestock. Hence, SPARK’s enthusiasm to encourage these emerging sectors through business development, thus encouraging stability in the region.