IFC and H&C Business Technologies Launch SME Toolkit in Benin to Provide Small Businesses with Free Business Management Tools and Training
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and H&C Business Technologies, a leading business service provider in West Africa, today launched an SME Toolkit Web site for Benin (www.africa.smetoolkit.org). This free online business management resource will provide local small businesses with access to training and information. It will also address some of the major problems facing small business owners, including drafting a business plan; accessing legal, accounting, and financial advice and market information; and tackling other issues related to managing a business.
“Micro, small, and medium enterprises are important channels for addressing job creation and economic growth, but they need the tools and information to compete. Initiatives like the SME Toolkit can help bridge the information gap for small businesses, while promoting information technology literacy,” said Hamziz Oceni, National Coordinator of Benin’s Private Sector Promotion Program.
IFC distributes the SME Toolkit in several countries by partnering with local organizations that translate the product into local languages and offer relevant content in areas such as business regulations, sources of financing, and local business directories. IFC’s partner in Benin is H&C Business Technologies.
“The Benin SME Toolkit is the most comprehensive, free online resource for doing business in the country. It will provide a one-stop source of information for local businesses, saving them time and money. We are delighted to partner with IFC to create more opportunities for growth and expansion for our small business clients,” said Hermann Cakpo, Chief Executive Officer, H&C Business Technologies.
Internet usage per 1,000 residents in Benin is twice the African average, and this number continues to grow rapidly. Research shows that between 2000 and 2007, the number of Internet users grew by more than 4,000 percent. As Internet use accelerates, so will the number of potential entrepreneurs who will be able to access this free advice on how to start and run a business. For those without regular or reliable Internet connections, the SME Toolkit can also be run on CD-ROMs. Users can also register for in-person, computer-based workshops that are taught by professional trainers.
“IFC promotes the SME Toolkit to support the growth and management of small businesses by providing them with access to information and technology. We welcome this partnership with H&C, a dynamic information company in West Africa that is well-positioned to support SMEs in their development,” said Laurence Carter, IFC Director for Small and Medium Enterprises.
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