UAE-based business intelligence and investment firm Investera has launched operations in Kenya, which will see it guide foreign investors seeking to invest locally and link local firms to foreign opportunities.
It seeks to offer a one-stop network for companies, high-net-worth individuals, philanthropists, young and established entrepreneurs, industrialists and regulators covering all the 55 countries in Africa, says it has listed 3,000 investors, start-ups and SMEs.
Investera Plus Africa said it picked Kenya, East Africa’s biggest economy, as the prime location to set up its operations because of the country’s strategic importance as a key regional business gateway.
The UAE firm has set up, through a partnership deal with their local counterparts, Investera Plus Africa.
The firm says it will provide market research, due diligence, investment advisory and financial intelligence services to investors, businesses and entrepreneurs.
Challenges for entrepreneurs
Raising start-up capital and access to markets are some of the biggest challenges budding Kenyan entrepreneurs face, with banks requiring collateral that most of them lack, a past study showed.
“In this digital era where opportunities are limitless and can be overwhelming, Investera Plus Africa users can easily build and manage their own bespoke platform for their specific requirements,” said Investera Plus Africa Chief Executive Tito Mutai.
“(The platform) provides intelligent business information and interactions in four tiers, with the services available in different membership plans. Thanks to this flexibility, Investera Plus Africa represents a cost-effective but sophisticated solution.”
Officials who spoke at the launch hailed the platform, saying it would be a key linkage between Kenyan start-ups and foreign capital.
Intellectual property rights
But they warned that the available laws are largely ineffective in enforcing the intellectual property rights of Kenyan innovators to the detriment of local innovators.
Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, African Union High representative for infrastructure development in Africa, called for regulations to protect local start-ups.
“It is a good platform. However, we need to protect the innovation of our young people even with these linkages,” he said.
Businessman Jimi Wanjigi said the platform is a crucial gateway for cash-starved SMEs.
“Our ideas are being taken away because maybe we don’t have money, but innovation is money. We must start talking about our local people, our local brands….Let us connect the linkages, solve problems and don’t let us lose our brands,” he said.
State officials at the forum, including ICT Principal Secretary Jerome Ochieng and Industrialisation CAS David Osiany, hailed the platform.