Nathan London was contracted to help the IFC implement the advisory service component of the IFC SME Ventures Programme in Sierra Leone and Liberia. This component managed the delivery of Business Edge (BE), an IFC training system for SMEs, and helped build a pipeline of viable firms for IFC venture investment.
To deliver BE, Nathan London collected data through desk reviews, direct interviews, focus groups and a scoping survey of the demand and supply markets for business development services (BDS). The data collected informed the program delivery strategy in each country, including selecting the most relevant BDS providers in each country and helping them become BE certified. A total of six providers were certified by IFC and have started providing BE training.
To build a pipeline of viable firms for venture capital, Nathan London identified high potential SMEs, organized business support workshops to further assess their potential, and supported selected SMEs in developing bankable business plans.
As a result of our work, 20 SMEs have developed fully bankable business plans that are being considered for funding by IFC Fund Managers.