“We decided to launch the product because we are aware of all the problems our SMEs face in Gabon, especially the access to financing and the knowledge of regulation. We decided, in partnership with the World Bank, to put this toolkit available to our SMEs,” Phebe Graham, Banque Gabonaise de Développement (BGD) head at the department of financial resources, told CNBC Africa.
“The space dedicated to these SMEs will encourage them to acquire more knowledge in how to manage their companies, how to be more efficient, and how to face other problems.”
The toolkit is in the form of a website that will provide different themes from Accounting to Human Resources, Marketing and Sales to Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs). Several tools will also be available that allow SMEs to make better reporting of their companies.
“We’re still at the first part so we’re trying to get the SMEs [familiar with] the website, and then we plan to have workshops. Some colleagues from our other banks abroad and also in Gabon will to come and also give all the courses, [so SMEs] can take advantage of their expertise in that field,” Graham explained.
“All the entrepreneurs will have access to training and also capacity development in management.”
The number of SMEs currently in Gabon is estimated at three thousand, and BGD plans to train 500 SMEs over the next two years.
“Our bank is more than 50 years old and this is our main mission, to assist all the SMEs in order to reduce the poverty. About three years ago, we put in place a department of advisory that takes care of all the credit we have given to the clients. We try to give them more advice on how to manage their companies,” said Graham.