Creating Opportunity Where It's Needed Most
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IFC Sustainability

Reaching Small and Micro Entrepreneurs in the Democratic Republic of Congo

SBA project


In partnership with the Austria


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The Opportunity


Small business owners in the Democratic Republic of Congo often lack the ability to supply large companies because they don’t have adequate business management skills or access to the bank financing that could help their enterprise grow. As a result, MIDEMA, a large milling company, was often forced to go abroad to find suppliers to satisfy its milling needs. IFC worked with the company to provide Business Edge management training to the farmers and small businesses most likely to become suppliers. The training focused on writing successful business plans to better access finance, marketing, accounting, and business productivity.


IFC also invested more than $12 million in Advans Bank, Rawbank, and ProCredit Bank to enable them to provide credit to farmers and small business owners so that they could expand their businesses, operate more efficiently, and become attractive business partners for MIDEMA. With the support of IFC, these financial institutions have also provided non-financial services to their customers utilizing Business Edge workshops. For instance, Rawbank’s initiative, known as “Lady’s First,” has helped train more than 500 female entrepreneurs and helped 110 of them secure more than $7.2 million in bank financing.



Our Approach


IFC partnered with MIDEMA to provide IFC’s Business Edge management training to the suppliers in its corporate value chain so that they could build well-managed and efficient small businesses. IFC also invested in local banks to ensure that they were well-positioned to provide financing to the small businesses that could supply MIDEMA. The project sought to increase the profits of both MIDEMA and its suppliers by strengthening the ability of local farmers and small businesses to beat the competition, become sustainable, and reverse the trend of bakeries going out of business. MIDEMA in return could rely on local producers for its mills and help consolidate jobs in local communities. The project with MIDEMA was so successful that its parent company, the Seaboard Corporation, has asked IFC to replicate the project in other African countries and in Haiti.


IFC is committed to working with clients such as MIDEMA to strengthen the small and medium enterprises that make up its corporate value chain. By providing small business owners and employees with the business skills needed to manage efficiently and access bank financing, IFC helps to ensure these businesses remain profitable and able to contribute to economic growth — a key IFC development goal. Like other developing countries, small and medium enterprises in the Democratic Republic of Congo have the potential to become the backbone of the private sector and their growth helps fuel the economy. The partnership with MIDEMA showcases IFC’s ability to work with key clients in developing countries to provide the tools small businesspeople need to succeed.


Since 2002, IFC has used Business Edge management training workshops to help more than 170,000 individuals, including farmers, entrepreneurs, SME owners and staff strengthen management skills, grow their businesses, and stay competitive in more than 30 developing countries. Offered in 18 languages, the workshops cover five management topics: marketing, human resources, quality and operations management, finance and accounting, and personal productivity skills.



Results & Impact *


  • MIDEMA has invested more than $400,000 to identify and select local businesses (mainly its network of 600 locally owned bakeries) and train them to meet company standards using IFC's Business Edge management workshops.  
  • More than 400 bakers, 60 poultry farmers, and 60 distributors received IFC's Business Edge management training and on-the-ground post training support. In one survey, 96 bakeries out of the supported group claimed an increase of more than $1.2 million in cumulative sales.
  • More than 100 bakeries have qualified for more than $1 million cumulatively in loans from local banks.
  • Advans Bank Congo, ProCredit Bank Congo and Rawbank, and Bank of Africa (BOA) agreed to support 25 percent of IFC's Business Edge workshops and engage SMEs as their clients.



 *As of December 2012


SBA project


Related Links and Resources


Print a two-page fact sheet on this project [PDF] »




Desmond Dodd | Johannesburg, South Africa 
+2711 731 3053 |


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