Three banks – National Bank, NBS Bank and Standard Bank – working with the Growth Accelerator, have advised SMEs in the country to invest enough efforts to understand their businesses better if they are to access various loans from the banking sector.

They were speaking recently when the UNDP in partnership with the Germany Development Cooperation, unveiled Cohort 6 ventures of the GA, who have been given matching grants to grow their businesses in the next 12 months.

Chimwemwe Chijere, National Bank Head of SME, says “the bank views the SMEs as the engine for growth of the economy.”

“The major challenge that the Bank has faced is non-repayment of loans,” he emphasised, advising SMEs to improve in their record keeping, business planning, resource and people management.

These aspects were echoed by Standard Bank’s Mark Msiska and Chisomo Sibale of NBS bank.

“We don’t just offer loans. We do account analysis,” emphasised Sibale.

On the other hand, Msiska advised the SMEs to work on improving their businesses to attract bank financing quoting Seth Godin who said “don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers.

The ventures also heard from Malawi Agricultural and Industrial Investment Cooperation(MAIIC), a development financing institution established in 2019 to be the leading enabler of high impact economic development in Malawi.

According to Alfred Kalumbi, MAICC Financial Analyst, there is potential for Malawi’s growth through SMEs if they invest time in growing their businesses.

The GA cohort 6 ventures were accorded a one-on-one opportunity to hear more from the four financial institutions as they look to access products to finance their part of the matching grants.