COSEF LLC

Company name
COSEF LLC
Address
Plot 54 Persee Street, Masindi, Uganda
Phone
+256701094056
Establishment year 2016
Employees 6-10
Registration code 256

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Description
INTRODUCTION

COSEF is the first locally domiciled impact investment company in Uganda that provides financing and technical assistance to growth companies in Uganda, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania and Kenya, operating within the agro-processing, financial technology and clean technology sectors. The company’s objective is superior financial returns for investors and measurable social impact.

BACKGROUND

East Africa is an excellent market for impact investment—and one that remains under-served by venture capital/private equity firms.

Uganda-There are over 3.0 million Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) in Uganda (according to Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS)). These small businesses with high growth prospect and good return on investments are excluded by formal financial institutions in the country because of lack of formal collaterals. Formal financial institutions only lend to large well established corporations with adequate assets to act as collaterals.

On the other hand, microfinance institutions only provide loans up to an average amount of $10,000 for micro-enterprises.

The very few internationally based private equity funds that invest into Uganda have also not helped as 99% make equity investments (typically 1 investment per fund of atleast $2,000,000 in 5 years) into large well-established corporations which already are being backed by formal financial institutions.

Ethiopia-Over the past decade, Ethiopia has achieved high economic growth, averaging 10.7 percent per year (World Bank, 2013) establishing the country among the fastest growing economies both in Africa and the developing world. The sole promoter of economic growth in Ethiopia is the Government, through the public sector-led growth strategy centered on high public investments.

However the private sector dominated by SMEs is highly underserved. Banks only lend to large firms with adequate collateral. Moreover the average value of collateral needed for loans in Ethiopia is also very high compared to other regions of the world as well as to other developed economies in Africa. On average, Ethiopian firms require 234 percent of the loan amount for collateral, compared to 134.3 percent in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, 120.8 percent in Kenya and 103.6 percent in South Africa.

SMEs also do not have venture capital funding for adequate financing for technical assistance, start-ups, seed investing or any stages of investing in their businesses.

Rwanda-According to the 2008 PSF study, there are over 72,000 SMEs operating in Rwanda. Rwandan medium sized enterprises are well-organized businesses that are individually or jointly owned. They have set administrative processes, qualified personnel and trained staff, employ between 50-100 people and account for 0.22% of businesses in Rwanda, contributing 5% of total private sector employment.

The biggest challenge facing SMEs in Rwanda is lack of access to financial services. According to PSF survey, financial institutions perceive SMEs as high risk and are therefore inflexible in terms of collateral and repayment terms. In addition, most financial products from commercial banks are not suitable to the agricultural sector, where most SMEs currently operate, and existing regulations limit the total funds available for lending.

SMEs also lack access to technical and business skills. SMEs themselves identify a variety of skills gaps in areas including ICT, technical and industrial knowledge, finance, accounting and management. Many SMEs have rudimentary production facilities, low quality products and underutilize appropriate technologies. There is also limited innovation and competitiveness in the SME sector caused by a lack of technical and managerial skill.

Tanzania-Tanzania is rapidly moving towards a middle-income status as the economy grew by an average of 6.5% per year in the past decade. The “Tanzania Development Vision (TDV) 2025” highlighted small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) sector as one important contributor to the country’s long-term development. Tanzania’s SME sector consists of more than 3 million enterprises which contribute to 27% of overall GDP.

However, there are key issues hindering development of SMEs in Tanzania. This includes poor business development services and limited access to financing, among others.

Kenya-A National Economic Survey report by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) indicate that SMEs constitute 98 percent of all business in Kenya, create 30 percent of the jobs annually as well as contribute 3 percent of the GDP.

Although small and medium enterprises (SMEs) continue to create numerous jobs and boost the country’s GDP, they face a number of challenges that always hamper their growth.

Primary factors such as lack of business development services and lack of capital affect potential for growth of MSMEs in Kenya.

Thus a huge funding gap exists for small and medium sized companies which have high growth potential and significant returns on investment.

COSEF’s hybrid model to SME development bridges this gap by providing much needed financing, comprehensive Business Development Services (BDS) and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) improvements to enable the enterprises grow sustainably and thus provide superior financial returns to investors.

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