SMEs advised to venture across borders to grow their revenues

 East Africa Community Annual Jua Kali/Nguvu Kazi Exhibition
A trader displays her wares during the 19th East Africa Community Annual Jua Kali/Nguvu Kazi Exhibition in Eldoret town, last year. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Emerging businesses seeking for growth have been urged to strengthen their structures and venture into cross-border trading to grow revenues.

Ocorian Group, a firm that provides administration and fiduciary services to companies and high-net worth individuals involved in cross-border transactions, says so many opportunities bypass small businesses that do not tap international markets.

Richard Arlove, Ocorian regional CEO for Africa, Middle East and Asia, says Kenya has many budding businesses that can exploit the Mauritius International Financial Centre (IFC) to take their businesses to the next level.

“We provide corporate and financial services to entrepreneurs and facilitate the decision of investing across the border, riding on right level of governance that attracts investors,” he said.

In a January forum with financial services professionals in Nairobi, Mr Arlove said access to capital is standing in the way of so many businesses, yet they can unlock value by riding on IFC to raise funds and have a uniform base of operation to cut costs.

“Mauritius can for example offer trade financing easily since banks sit on excess liquidity and will lend out money at low rate. However, banks will want a properly-run company,” said Mr Arlove, whose firm also supports upcoming businesses on book-keeping.

He explained that governance gaps have led to limited access to money.

Ocorian offers advisory services for entrepreneurs to restructure their businesses and, for instance, set up holding firms in IFCs to accelerate growth.

Mr Arlove said Ocorian can help small firms in Kenya connect with other firms in the same industry, leading to economies of scale.

“Mauritius is part of four trading blocs, giving it access to huge free trade area. We see opportunities in fintech, education, power and agriculture which can be exploited,” he said.