Executives trainer African Management Initiative (AMI) has received Sh66 million ($750,000) in convertible debt from two organisations for setting up a web and mobile instruction service.
The funding from Canadian Lundin Foundation and South African Isibindi Trust will help AMI set up the platform from next month.
“We want to develop one million effective and responsible African managers for Africa’s growth and development by 2023. There is a gap that needs to be filled through accessible learning tools that embrace the digital space,” AMI chairman Jonathan Cook said.
Mr Cook said the online platform would help the institute reach up to 20,000 trainees this year.
AMI, a for-profit social enterprise established in 2012, has trained 1,000 managers in 25 countries. It offers training in Kenya through Strathmore Business School. Other centres include South Africa’s Pretoria-based Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) and Nigeria’s Lagos Business School.
AMI plans to offer a free basic course online with a more advanced course costing from Sh2,200 ($25). The courses offered by the institute target entrepreneurs and small business owners as well as medium and junior managers.
The SME sector has been growing in Africa, with lenders and other funding bodies lining up more of their lending outlay towards the sector. In the financial year ended December 2013, SMEs were the main loan consumers at Equity bank, taking up 46 per cent of the bank’s loans or Sh81.5 billion.
A recent study by KCA and Makerere universities and consultancy firm Pipal Ltd found that 60 per cent of small and medium size enterprises fail within one year of startup, mainly due to management and leadership issues.
“Access to risk capital is no longer the primary constraint limiting SME development in Sub-Saharan Africa. Instead, it is management capacity,” said Lundin Foundation MD Stephen Nairne.
A report released by consultancy firm Ernest & Young in May said that the growth of foreign investment inflows to Kenya has been one of the fastest in sub-Sahara Africa, and is only second to Ghana’s.
The country’s FDI average growth between 2007 and 2013 was 40 per cent while Ghana’s stood at over 50 per cent in the same period.