A shorter version of this story originally appeared on the SHOPS Plus website.
TThe Société Générale Bank in Senegal (SGBS) offers a wide range of products and services supporting companies wishing to develop their businesses. In November 2018, the bank opened its Maison de la PME (“SME House”) business center in Dakar, the capital of Senegal, to expand services to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The Maison de la PME provides training, coaching, and financial services to small businesses and also offers internet-connected co-working and meeting spaces, helping SMEs to network and build access to markets, finance, information, and skills. The center has established partnerships with 17 public and private business service organizations, many of which have regular office hours at the Maison de la PME to allow small businesses to meet with them and learn about additional offerings.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Sustaining Health Outcomes through the Private Sector (SHOPS) Plus health provider access to finance activity, led by Banyan Global, supports private health facilities in Senegal— including health SMEs—to strengthen their business and financial management skills and improve their access to financing. Banyan Global partnered with SGBS’s Maison de la PME to expand the project’s outreach to more health SMEs.
Together SHOPS Plus and the Maison de la PME co-sponsored a “Health Day” event for health SMEs. The half-day conference was attended by about 25 private health providers, including managers and owners of clinics, private practices, paramedical facilities, pharmacies, medical laboratories, and medical schools. SGBS and SHOPS Plus gave presentations on: leasing as a financial alternative for investing in health equipment; MANKO, a micro- and meso-financing company offering financing up to $85,000; and business training and coaching offered by SHOPS Plus. The participants appreciated learning about the support offered by the bank and SHOPS Plus, and the presentations were followed by a networking session and reception.
To build on the successful collaboration established through this event, SHOPS Plus and the Maison de la PME are working on a partnership agreement. Some of the proposed activities include SHOPS Plus training to SGBS loan officers on the private health sector and its financing needs; borrower referrals to SGBS; and offering access to finance training, coaching, and information sessions for health SMEs at the Maison de la PME. As SHOPS Plus approaches its end in Senegal, the project will explore the interest of the bank in offering business training to health SMEs as a longer term sustainability strategy. The SHOPS Plus collaboration with SGBS has the potential to become an important step in Senegal’s private health sector’s journey to self-reliance.