PROFFERING SOLUTIONS TO BUSINESS FUNDING; CHALLENGE FOR AFRICANS AND BLACKS IN DIASPORA
HRH Prince Duke Kesse-Adu Gyamfi Danquah IV is a Veteran of the United States Navy. He is an Entrepreneur, Public Speaker, Journalist, Political Analyst, Investor, Venture Capitalist, Consultant, Mentor, and Coach. He is also the Chairman of Global Investment Management Group LLC and CEO of Future Africa Media, Royal Group, and Ghana Job Bank.
He is an advocate for Entrepreneurship, Startups, Youth Employment, Women Empowerment, and Eradication of Poverty. He has spent the last ten (10) years Empowering Entrepreneurs and Business Development.
I will be enlightening you on some aspects of why we as Africans & blacks in the diaspora find it difficult to get access to business funds & loans, based on historical data, research& my experiences. Most of the information shared here has been pulled from most data in the States but will do my best to relate it to Africa.
So, let’s start with a bit of history of how we as Africans & Blacks have funded businesses & why it’s difficult to get access to funds because of our lack of generational assets accumulation. Now before we as Africans & Blacks in the diaspora can find solutions to lack of funding, we must first understand that the way in which funding is secured is foreign to our culture & way of life, especially in Africa.
To secure loans in most cases one needs assets the banks can use for collateral but this is the case where by as Africans we are more likely to not have such assets in place within the family structure as compared to whites.
Our elders have cultivated cultures & traditions that takes lands away from families & easily sells them for quick cash flow thereby depriving younger generations access to these lands as collateral to get funding for business & startups.
The biggest assets of most Africans have been lands & once it sold the value is gone forever, however, compared to white families even in Africa they hold on to their lands & use as sources of business funding or as commercial farms businesses for generations, this allows them to then create other generational business both in Africa & in the diaspora.
The reasons for most of the issues in securing business funding is not new rather a very systematic process that has lasted since before slavery, colonialism & globalization.
These are historic facts that I’ll not focus too much on here. What’s is important for all of us to understand is that institutional lending & corporate funding of business is not common to our norms of doing business as blacks & therefore to resolve the issues we need several things to work in our favor both locally & abroad.
Now we know we’ve setbacks lets discuss solutions.
Most may not be based on Africa so I’ll make it relate, because believe it or not the funding issues faces by Africans/Blacks in the diaspora is no different than those faced in Africa.
Access to Capital is Limited for Us.
There are many options for financing your business, loans are one aspect. Below are a few of the most common types of business loans:
- Business Lines of Credit: A line of credit given by banks that businesses can access when needed.
- Equipment Financing: Loans by banks to finance equipment in which the equipment serves as collateral.
- SBA Loan-(Diaspora): Low-cost, flexible loans secured by the Small Business Administration mostly available in Europe & America.
- Short Term Loan: Small banks loans with short repayment terms between 3 to 18 months.
HOW TO ACCESS BUSINESS LOANS.
Careful preparation will help you make a positive case for your loan.
It’s in your best interest to make it easy for a bank to lend you money. For many new businesses, access to start up financing is essential. Unfortunately, passion alone won’t get you your loan. You need to know the right steps to get it.
The first thing lenders want to see is your experience and how prepared you are for your venture.
It’s important to take the time to prepare for how to get a business loan.
Commercial lenders will typically look at these four aspects of your business:
1. YOUR PROFESSIONAL PROFILE
Bankers need to understand your project and know that you’re a good risk. You need to establish your credibility and show that you have done your due diligence. You’ll also need to show you have thoroughly researched your project.
Is your work experience related to your new business?
How did you come up with the idea and what’s your industry experience?
You need to prepare your case because your answers will be evaluated by your lender.
2. YOUR PROJECT’S VIABILITY:
You will need to show a business plan that leads to action.
How does the loan you are asking for fit into your company’s overall strategic plan?
Questions that you will be expected to answer about your business plan include the following:
Your answers will need to be precise.
* Where are you going to find your clients?
* How did you choose your location?
* Where are you going to find your suppliers?
* How many customers do you expect in a day?
3. YOUR FINANCIAL STRENGTH:
A banker will want a detailed breakdown of your financial projections for at least the first year of your operations and up to two years.
For example, if you say you are going to have 100 clients a day and they’re going to spend $10 each, then you will have $1,000 in revenues. How much do you expect to make in your first year?
Your personal credit score in the (Diaspora) is important because it’s often the only major factor that a bank can assess for a start-up business.
A poor credit score is a red flag for a bank and could make it a lot harder for you to get a business loan in the diaspora.
4. YOUR GUARANTEE:
For a start-up business, the bank will typically ask you to sign a personal guarantee, which makes you responsible for the loan.
How much money can you invest?
The bank will also look at how much money you will be investing. This makes your personal net worth important because the bank needs to see that if you aren’t going to take a salary for six months that you can afford to do so.
Can you meet your personal obligations, rent or mortgage payments for example, without drawing on revenues from your business?
Most of the time the reason why people don’t succeed is because of the lack of their own cash.
Banks want to make sure that you can re-invest in your business if something doesn’t go as planned.
COMMON MISTAKES MADE WHEN APPLYING FOR A LOAN
A banker reading through your documentation is likely to get tripped up by the following types of mistakes in your application:
- Underestimating expenses.
- Underestimating how long it will take to make a profit.
- Underestimating how much you will spend on marketing your new business.
- No financial cushion.
It’s very important that you don’t understand estimate your expenses in applying for a loan. If for any reasons you don’t secure your loans then learn from the experience, prepare better next time & try again.
However not securing a long is not the end of your business or startups dreams, because there are now many opportunities to secure funding besides banks.
OTHER SOURCES OF FUNDING IN AFRICA & IN THE DIASPORA.
1. Personal investment
When starting a business, your first investor should be yourself, either with your own cash or with collateral on your assets.
This proves to investors and bankers that you have a long-term commitment to your project and that you are ready to take risks.
2. Love money
This is money loaned by a spouse, parents, family or friends. Investors and bankers considers this as (patient capital) which is money that will be repaid later as your business profits increase.
When borrowing love money, you should be aware that:
Family and friends rarely have much capital. They may want to have equity in your business. A business relationship with family or friends should never be taken lightly.
3. Venture capital
The first thing to keep in mind is that venture capital is not necessarily for all entrepreneurs. Right from the start, you should be aware that venture capitalists are looking for technology-driven businesses and companies with high-growth potential in sectors such as information technology, communications and biotechnology.
Venture capitalists take an equity position in the company to help it carry out a promising but higher risk project. This involves giving up some ownership or equity in your business to an external party.
Angels are generally wealthy individuals or retired company executives who invest directly in small firms owned by others. They are often leaders in their own field who not only contribute their experience and network of contacts but also their technical and/or management knowledge.
5. Business incubators:
Business incubators (or “accelerators”) generally focus on the high-tech sector by providing support for new businesses in various stages of development. However, there are also local economic development incubators, which are focused on areas such as job creation, revitalization and hosting and sharing services.
6. Government grants and subsidies:
Government agencies provide financing such as grants and subsidies that may be available to your business.
In Africa & in The Diaspora I Believe Government Grants & Subsidies Are Some of The Best Means of Securing Funds For Minority Owned Business & Startups.
I wish you success in your ventures, don’t give up because there’s money out there to fund your businesses & startups especially in Nigeria.
Nigeria is on track to receive the 4th largest foreign investors in Africa behind South Africa, Rwanda & Kenya. Which means you’re more likely to get funding in Nigeria than many African countries.
Also don’t forget local high net worth individuals, Angels & Investors.
Have a great & successful business.
Session moderated by:
Olowoyo Oluwatomisin, Principal, City Scope Africa Academy.