Somaliland Business Fund-Private Sector Re-Engagement Program Launched

Hargeisa- Somaliland Business Fund (SBF) was launched on September 15, 2012. The deadline for receipt of Concept Notes (initial applications) will be October 25, 2012.

 It is expected to award small grants at the end of December 2012 and large grants in early March, 2013. Four rounds are planned over the next 12 months with more rounds depending on the response from the business community and the quality of proposals. The SBF Term Sheet outlines how you can apply for a grant and explains how we assess applications. For further information on the Fund, call the Fund ‘hotline’ at 485-0660.

About the Fund

—The $3.6 million Somaliland Business Fund (SBF) offers grants to the Somaliland private sector ranging from $5,000 to $150,000 for projects involving business development services and/or fixed assets. —Grants below $50,000 are considered small and processed in 2 months (following outreach phase) whereas large grants will be processed in 4-5 months. —Small grants are ‘matching’ i.e. 50:50 co-financing whereas the applicant contribution is reduced to 33% for 1st time applications. —Grants for large projects will be up to 50% i.e. determined on the basis of risks and returns – in this way we can get a higher leverage on the overall grant funds.

WHY SBF

The Somaliland Business Fund (SBF) aims to mobilize the creative energy and resources of the private sector to strengthen private enterprises, increase incomes and create new sustainable employment opportunities and thereby improve the lives of Somalilanders.

Since 1991 Somaliland has established a democratic state, education and health systems. Somalilanders have proven themselves to be enterprising people and urban-centered business such as telecom has experienced phenomenal growth in the last 20 years.

Nevertheless, challenges remain such as a fast growing population, and high rates of unemployment and illiteracy. There are also issues surrounding environmental degradation and food security. Citizens need sustained economic growth to reduce poverty levels.

A well-developed private sector has an important role to play – it provides investment, employment, livelihoods and vital services. The country has great potential – it is strategically located with a long coast line, access to ports, an excellent international trade position and investment opportunities in agribusiness, fisheries, meat, salt, financial services mining and oil & gas.

The Somaliland diaspora is a major source of productive investment in the country but the private sector is constrained by inadequate infrastructure, high cost of fuel and energy, lack of access to credit and banking facilities etc. At the enterprise level, competiveness is hampered by producers’ lack of market know-how and/or modern machinery and equipment, and workers lack of technical skills.

As a result, consumers make do with low quality, limited range or high priced products.

The Fund will help businesses to upgrade and strengthen their capacity, to improve their productivity or become more innovative. This will not only be good for the business but also have wider developmental impact  as benefits will flow to other suppliers/producers in the sector or value chain, as well as workers and consumers.

DONOR SUPPORT

The Somaliland Business Fund (SBF) is one component of the Private Sector Re-Engagement Program Phase II that supports the investment climate, value chains (fisheries, gums & resins),

P-P-P (solid waste management, Berbera port), and the financial sector in Somaliland.

SomPREPII is financed by a World Bank Multi-Donor Trust Fund with contributions from the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), the UK Department for International Development (DfID) and the World Bank State and  Peace-building Fund (SPF).   Landell Mills – a development consulting firm in the UK – has been engaged to manage the Fund.

Grantee Contributions and Articles

SBF is working with partners and its grantees to improve the spread of know-how, best practice and lessons learned throughout Somaliland. We plan to launch a number of new factsheets, profiles and sector specific articles over the summer period. We have agreed a range of articles on subjects that will be of interest to grantees, entrepreneurs in all business sectors, public organisations and visitors to our website. Comments on any of our products and suggestions for improvements to our service or even new website items are welcome.