Sustainable Development Goals Impact Facility (SDGIF) funded local 32 micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) with grants at a tune of N$2.5 million in total on Tuesday. SDGIF is a multi-stakeholder financial and capacity building platform that bridges entrepreneurship, social innovation and blended capital to create sustainable economic and social returns.
Tuesday’s event followed the first of three calls for proposals, which will be issued during the first phase of the SDGIF. The current window focuses on companies in agriculture, nutraceuticals and artisans. Window two has been reserved for manufacturing and sustainable tourism, while window three is for renewable energy and information technology, which will be launched in March and July 2021, respectively.
SDGIF was created in partnership with the Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade (MIT), as well as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Namibia, supported by the facilities finance partner Standard Bank Namibia and grant facility manager Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia (EIF).
The SDGIF provides competitive catalytic funding to MSMEs with commercially viable businesses in targeted economic sectors.
The grant funding is provided by UNDP and it is intended to incentivise financial institutions to provide affordable long-term loans, so that funding becomes more easily available to enterprises.
“I urge you to make the best of the grants and use them to spiral your business to levels that will contribute to enhanced livelihoods for yourselves, your families, your communities – and, indeed, your nation,” urged the UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, Armstrong Alexis.
In tier one, successful MSMEs will receive a one-off, limited duration grant, typically covering up to 50% of project costs or up to N$650 000 as appropriate with the remainder to be matched by the entrepreneur’s contribution or a loan from a financial institution.
For tier two, vulnerable MSMEs that are unable to secure a loan will receive a one-off, limited duration grant, usually covering up to 90% of project costs or up to N$50 000 as appropriate with the remaining 10% to be matched by the entrepreneur’s in-kind contribution.
Furthermore, Alexis stated that the facility received over 150 grant applications – and from these, the committee approved six tier-one grants totalling N$1.8 million and 26 tier two grant applications consisting of formal and informal sector operators and totalling N$750 000.
“It is important to note that 50% of tier-one grant awardees are female and 66% young people. Under tier two, 65% of the awardees are female and 85% youth,” he states.
Alexis said offering a wealth of expertise and disruptive innovation, businesses can help mobilise much-needed capital in support of the SDGs, while reorienting their strategies to create value, not just for their shareholders but the society at large.
According to Michael Humavindu, executive deputy director of the Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade, the different support services offered by MIT development partners forms part of the “Growth at Home” strategy that aims to de-risk the investment environment and offer an opportunity to MSMEs to unlock private capital.
Humavindu reminded tier one businesses to take full advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) when it comes into effect in January 2021, which is set to offer opportunities for economic diversification and value chain development and expansion.