The Enablis global entrepreneurial network is set to expand further into Africa following a further R27,6m donation promised over the next five years from Accenture and Telesystem. Conceived at the 2002 G8 Summit, Enablis was founded by Accenture, Hewlett-Packard, Telesystem and the Canada Fund for Africa, to support entrepreneurs in developing countries who adopt information and communication technologies as a significant part of their growth strategy. Enablis member entrepreneurs benefit from a range of business support and training services, as well as preferential access to finance.

Enablis’ expansion is part of its Global Development Trust 1 strategy, which aims to raise R500m from government donors to progressively expand its network of entrepreneurs in Africa. These funds are to be matched with an additional R500m from the private sector, host country governments and social investors.

Martin Feinstein, Enablis SA’s chief executive, says: “Total funding for the Enablis programme to support ICT entrepreneurs now exceeds R166m. The new funding will help Enablis expand from its current operating base in SA to new countries in sub-Saharan Africa.”

“This year marks a key turning point for Enablis, as we move from our prototype in SA to the establishment of new regional hubs and then country operations throughout Africa. We are now looking for the critical backing and funding of government donors, which will give us the platform to raise matching funds from the private sector and host countries Enablis will operate in." "The commitment from Accenture and Telesystem will make a dramatic impact on the development of grassroots enterprise in the communities in Africa that need it most,” adds Charles Sirois, chairman and CEO of Enablis.

Enablis focuses on entrepreneurs as the main drivers of economic and social development. The organisation identifies potential entrepreneurs from an early stage, and provides them with a blend of tailored coaching, mentoring and networking as well as an innovative form of SME financing.

It also fills the 'financing gap' for entrepreneurs unable to find risk capital between the micro-credit and venture capital thresholds.

ICT World