We all know how being a creative in Kenya is a struggle on its own. From establishing your niche to getting sponsors, markets and audiences to listen to what you have to offer [and let’s not even talk about the hurdles you have to jump through to get licences from the government and resources to fund your creative journey]. By the time you make something of yourself, you’re already worn out from the constraints you’ve faced.
Yesterday, The Agence Française de Développement (AFD) signed a cooperation agreement with HEVA Fund LLP to advance credit and technical assistance in a project worth KES 90 million (EUR 800,000) in a bid to unlock the potential of the creative and cultural economy in Kenya and try and eliminate one of the biggest hurdles creatives face – acquiring finances.
This signing marks the beginning of HEVA’s next four-year strategy, looking to drive Kshs 500 million in growth investments for enterprises in live music and events; fashion/apparel manufacturing retail; film, television and audiovisual content; and gaming, e-sports and entertainment. These enterprises will be able to access working capital and asset financing, as well as strengthen their internal systems to enable them to produce at scale and make their business practices more efficient.
Since its inception, HEVA has been at the forefront of helping producers of cultural goods and services in Kenya and in East Africa, to build high-value, profitable businesses, where new ideas will come to life, and where the highest potential for great profits, great jobs and happy people will be found.
In this short time, HEVA has innovated new financial models tailored for creative industries; provided business development services to over 400 creative entrepreneurs; invested in over 25 creative businesses in 5 value-chains; and supported the development of a favorable business environment.
Speaking at the signing of the partnership agreement, at HEVA’s offices in Nairobi yesterday afternoon, AFD’s chief executive officer Mr. Rémy Rioux said this was in line with the AFD strategy to develop its activities in the cultural and creative industry. “We support innovation and start-ups, providing mechanisms for financing the creative and cultural entrepreneurship in East Africa to foster job creation in this sector,” he said.
“The creative sector remains under estimated and many potential entrepreneurs in Africa are struggling to access capital, markets and business training,” said Rioux. He added that AFD is happy to sign this 1stcommitment for the Kenyan creative industry
The call for applications for HEVA’s new growth fund will be made in the third quarter of 2018. HEVA Managing Partner Mr. George Gachara said the fund will invest in solid players in the industry with a view to nurturing them in sustainable business that seeks to scale. “The creative industries present a tremendous opportunity to contribute to the much-needed job creation for young people and export our unique cultural identity into the global marketplace, as well as position Kenya as a global destination for tourism, the arts and entertainment. We want to bridge the gap by offering tailor-made, innovative financial and business support solutions to these ventures,” said Gachara.