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GroFin East and West Africa - Aspire Fund

The Syngenta Foundation co-invested in Aspire to support the growth of small- and medium-sized enterprises in Africa. Project partners included the Foundations of Deutsche Bank Americas, Skoll, and Shell.

Who manages Aspire?

Aspire is managed by GroFin, a business development and finance company providing support and appropriate finance to viable businesses in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda.

Candidate enterprises must have a strong business plan, which is more important than having a proven track record or collateral. Financial investment can be up to USD 1 million per company, but it is the added value of business expertise provided by co-investors that helps to turn plans into reality.

Between 2006 and 2009, Aspire invested more than USD 7 million in 21 enterprises, creating employment for nearly 600 people. By 2011, this number had grown to an additional 70 enterprises.

Here’s just one example…
In 2005, Charles Githuka Ngugi, a former truck driver in Kenya, started ‘Lima Feeds’, a successful business trading in feed for chicks, chickens, pigs, and dairy cows. He faced growing demand and wanted to purchase raw materials in bigger quantities and a truck for faster, more reliable deliveries, but he lacked the capital to expand the business.

GroFin’s specialists offered guidance and loans totalling KES 6.3 million (about USD 95,000) to help Charles purchase the delivery truck and organize his books and accounts to make his business more efficient. They helped him employ an accountant, two sales people and a driver for his truck, and advised him on how to market his business so he could win new clients.