BPI East Africa – an SME lender in East Africa

Business Partners International

A group of international investors – including MEDA – have partnered to establish the US$30 million investment company Business Partners International East Africa (BPI EA), which will provide funding and support for SMEs in a number of sectors in the region.

BPI EA aims to encourage entrepreneurship, facilitate job creation and contribute to small enterprise development by providing access to risk capital funding, technical assistance and mentorship to SMEs in East Africa. Value of transactions will range from US$50,000 to US$1 million.

Africa is rich in opportunities, yet investment in local business has been constrained and access to finance remains a growth-constraint for many SMEs. SMEs typically fall into a gap between large corporations served by mainstream financiers and micro-enterprises served by microfinance institutions. This can be particularly acute for family owned businesses, which comprise up to 95 per cent of SMEs in developing countries.

BPI has established and managed various SME funds in Madagascar, Kenya and Rwanda since it began operations in Africa in 2004. BPI EA will initially focus on investments in East Africa, namely Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda.