On Sept 20 & 21st, 2018 the Initiative for Global Development (IGD) hosted a 2- day business advisory training workshop with 25 SMEs operating in Tanzania’s maize off taking ecosystem. The workshop, part of a broader program to unlock the growth potential of SMEs in priority value chains by enabling them to better access available finance, is supported by the Rockefeller Foundation. AGRA AND CSDI were critical in mobilizing SME participation and AMDT facilitated SME participation by financing travel and accommodation expenses. The workshop was facilitated by Africa Instore Solutions Ltd, a Kenyan based SME advisory and capacity development organization, on behalf of IGD.
Designed to address a specific need, previously identified by SMEs during a SME finance marketplace workplace organized by IGD in Dar Es Salaam in April 2018, the focus of the Route to Market workshop was to enable high growth potential SMEs (those that process maize into flour and animal feed) with products for retail markets including business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C) markets to define new potential markets to stimulate sustainable business growth enabling them to better access finance for growth.
- Private sector best practices and tools were shared with SMEs, such as; Joint Business Planning, a practice that encourages customer collaboration in business operations and assist in securing future trading opportunities.
- Key skills learned: include design of effective sales vision, create relevant and impactful sales strategies and tools necessary to measure new market viability and cost to serve
- Key benefits: participants highlighted group work case study exercises that encouraged SMEs to design mock sales visions and route to market designs. The participants expressed enthusiasm and confidence in developing their own specific route to market models.
- 80% of attendees found this workshop extremely useful and relevant to their business according to the exit survey. The majority of the participants indicated that the workshop was an ‘eye-opener’, to the need of putting structure and systems in their sales operations.
- SMEs traveled across Tanzania to attend, hailing from Kibaigwa, Mbozi, Mufindi, Rukwa, , Njombe, Iringa, Dodoma, Mbeya, Dar-es-Salaam, Mtwara, Morogoro, Sumbananga and Songea
OUTCOMES FROM THE ROUTE TO MARKET TRAINING
Direct feedback and survey results indicated that attendees found the training very useful, and relevant as it provided them with an opportunity to gain skills relevant to spur their growth potential. 65% of participants indicated that development of Route to Market strategies for their enterprises is a top priority for implementation post the workshop. Design of business plans and impactful sales visions for their teams were given second and third priority respectively. Participants expressed interest to participate in future IGD programming.
SMEs were able to expand their skills in the following areas:
- Increased understanding of local market opportunities and identified tools necessary to measure market viability and identify priority markets for their own businesses
- Leverage retail multinational best practices and appreciate the importance of taking a proactive approach in identifying and targeting priority customers through collaborative joint business planning.
- Identify importance of setting systems and structure in their business operations necessary for performance measurement that is relevant when presenting compelling evidence to potential financiers on their financial viability
- Recognize the most appropriate and cost-effective distribution channel to use to reach target markets
- Identify the most appropriate aggregated market partners to collaborate with in order to competitively position the SME products in the market.
- Define sales strategies necessary to stimulate sales growth and expand customer reach
- Foster peer learning through group exercises whereby SMEs related the case studies to their actual market- based challenges and together brainstormed on possible solutions
SMEs also made meaningful new peer connections with some enterprises acquiring new business opportunities. For example, Joyce Kimaro, director at Lina Millers connected with Krispin, Malekela, Marketing manager at Unyiha Associates Limited, and found a new market for her maize Grits. The grits are a byproduct of Lina’s maize flour processing and will be used by Unyiha in the production of food snacks.
[S. Sangare, Director Mapanda Enterprise Limited “The training was fantastic. The topics covered were relevant and the emphasis placed on markets during the discussions was very insightful. I believe majority of our enterprises will have their operations transformed from the learnings of this workshop. I also suggest that IGD considers sharing certificates with us on Route to Market, as it will serve as a huge motivator considering the concepts shared about Sales and Markets during this workshop can be somewhat equated to a University Master’s program]
Partner organizations AGRA , CSDI and ADMT were able to:
- Identify critical areas for business development support targeting access to markets as a means to mitigate post-harvest losses across the maize value chain.
- Identify huge opportunity for the SMEs to increase local market footprint using cost-effective route to market models
- Understand SME operational challenges and limitations relating to access to markets and collection of data relevant for decision making
- Support SMEs to fortify their business operations by setting structures and systems necessary to measure performance and attract financial investments.
[David Mabula, Maize value chain Specialist: The training was fantastic. The topics covered were relevant and the emphasis placed on markets during the discussions was very insightful. I believe majority of our enterprises will have their operations transformed from the learnings of this workshop. I also suggest that IGD considers sharing certificates with us on Route to Market, as it will serve as a huge motivator considering the concepts shared about Sales and Markets during this workshop can be somewhat equated to a University Master’s program]
THEMES, LEARNINGS & PRIORITIES
Each session included opportunities for dialogue and discussion and enabled SMEs to highlight some of the key challenges faced in the process of accessing markets. Some of the challenges mentioned include:
- Development of tools – documented reference materials that SMES can use in establishing key sales strategies such as measurement of SME distribution cover/network in a market.
- Follow up – mentorship and coaching support necessary in ensuring the enterprises are successfully implementing and applying the knowledge post workshop
- Push to invest in professional staff team across all business functions to ensure proper governance, management and productivity
- More opportunities to network and promote peer learning across SMEs as it provides a huge opportunity for entrepreneurs to identify new ways to work and improve driving commercialization excellence.
- Investment in business development support to assist enterprises design effective business plans necessary to attract financing.
- Invest in an effective sales team and develop systems necessary for their sales functions to ensure maximum market coverage in the most cost effective manner
Evaluating the long term success of the Route to Market training will require follow up field visits to the SMEs operations to assess implementation levels and execution and the extent to which deployment of new knowledge has resulted in changes to business management.
IGD, AGRA and AMDT will continue to collaborate and engage with SMEs to determine further opportunities to provide support to stimulate SME growth.
For further information contact Helen Mant on email@example.com