The impact of the COVID-19 that businesses are going through triggered us to realize that most of the small businesses and farmer groups in Sub-Saharan Africa we have been working with are greatly affected in a variety of ways. Ranging from less availability of raw materials, paying their employees, lack of capacity to purchase goods or repay outstanding loans, to a drop in consumer demand. These challenges could mean the end of operations to many of these vulnerable SMEs and also the potential to end their involvement in the 2SCALE program. That is the reason why 2SCALE came up with the initiative of the crowdfunding platform to allow SMEs to raise some money from different sources (their crowd, their friends). When successful in raising a pre-set amount over a certain period of time, the crowdfunders will also be eligible for an additional matching fund from the 2SCALE program.
Three countries among the program eight intervention countries were involved in this first phase with 35 SMEs. 90% of them did a successful campaign, as the majority were able to raise 60 percent of their targeted funds. It is important to note that even with the success, the beginning was not so easy for the entrepreneurs to mobilize contributors. In Kenya, Mali and Nigeria, the best two SMEs of each country have shared their success and experience during this first 2SCALE crowdfunding.