Catalysing investment finance for SMEs

This case study looks at FSD Tanzania’s (FSDT) initiative to establish an effective alternative investment channel of the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (DSE) for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME), the Enterprise Growth Market (EGM). The EGM aims to supply long-term equity capital for growth oriented SMEs in various areas such as agribusiness, agro processing, mining, tourism, manufacturing, banking and financial services.

FSDT sought to catalyse investment finance in MSMEs through the DSE’s EGM. Providing approximately USD1,360,000 to CMSA and DSE in 2011, FSDT supported the operationalisation of the EGM and stimulated take up by firms and investors. This work included public awareness campaigns, providing technical support to MSMEs and nominated advisers and building the regulator’s ability to supervise the EGM segment.

The establishment of the EGM has demonstrated that the stock exchange can provide an investment finance channel that’s relevant to medium-sized companies that do not meet the requirements to list on the main market segment. The potential for growth remains huge due to the large number of MSMEs in Tanzania but will rely on ongoing information dissemination, awareness raising and support to firms, in order to increase both the number and type of companies listing, and attract more investors.

All stakeholders in the EGM have stated that MSMEs and ‘well-researched start-ups’ are worthy of, and able to handle, increased investment, so long as they receive additional technical assistance. The CMSA and DSE have shown support for the EGM by changing regulations and practices. Members of both agencies report that “we have more capacity and increased confidence to supervise and run the EGM. But it’s a nascent market and we will continue to need technical and financial support”.