SME Support Centre (SSC) yesterday launched SME Blue Pages, a Pan-African access to market initiative. Supported by strategic partners such as the African Union (AU), and the Pan-African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PACCI), SME Blue Pages is a digital platform aiming to showcase Made in Africa brands. The idea is to show the world Africa’s innovation potential.
SSC plans to work with various technology start-ups and offer aggregated trade services such as logistics, advertising, and payments by leveraging economies of scale to offer these services at a low cost.
SSC, an aggregator of SMEs in Africa on one hand, and a provider of business and investment advisory services to the aggregated SMEs on the other intend to scale up the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Africa using simple, localised, and sustainable solutions.
“We did a survey to analyse the top three access to market challenges facing SMEs in Africa and all the SMEs conclusively said they were brand visibility, cost of advertising, and logistics. The SME Blue Pages address these challenges by providing global brand exposure and leveraging economies of scale. This Pan-African ecosystem initiative needs SSC to call on various partners including other technology start-ups, said Linda Onyango, CEO, SME Support Centre.
Over the last three years, SSC has impacted over 16,000 SMEs from across Africa through initiatives and programmes. Their event brought together key players in the SME ecosystem from government, chambers of commerce, industry associations, trade commissions, and private sector for deeper interaction and engagement.
“The SME Blue Pages is a timely initiative that augments our role in enhancing trade and markets initiatives for African businesses. Together with SSC, we will work with our regional economic blocs to get the African SMEs to enroll to the platform, said Ron Osman Omar, Officer in Charge, Trade and Industry Division, African Union.
“The SME Blue Pages initiative fits within the mandate of the Pan-African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PACCI) which is to stimulate trade and markets initiatives for African businesses. We will similarly work with in-country chambers of commerce to get their African SMEs to enroll to the platform” said Kebour Ghenna, Executive Director, PACCI