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benchmarkindex® roll out in Africa

Following the success of an in depth pilot project in South Africa, the roll out of Benchmarkindex® across Africa has now commenced in earnest. Commissioned by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), 30 advisers from 5 countries were recently trained in Nairobi. They represented Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and Zambia.

The training was spread over 2 weeks, with the first being used to educate the advisers on how to use and get the best of the tool. This intensive learning was essential with this advanced business performance diagnostic tool being new to Africa. Week 2 was used to develop the practical experience of the advisers of the 2 countries going live immediately, with the trainers accompanying advisers to deliver benchmarks to 3 companies in Dar es Salaam and Kampala respectively.

BenchmarkIndex® has been introduced used as a key part of the support package available to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) through the UNIDO Supplier Partnership Exchange (SPX) initiative. This has been operating for many years in numerous countries, and is designed to help beneficiary SMEs to improve performance.

UNIDO makes connections with large buyers from the public and private sectors, leading to effective matchmaking with the SMEs, the best of whom go on to supply them with products and services. In regions such as the African sub-Saharan, this activity is invaluable in helping to build a sustainable supply chain and strengthen the economy in the longer term.

The benchmarking provides UNIDO with a new dimension to its service. The tool is used to objectively assess SME performance, enabling the pinpointing of areas that need development to supply the buyers identified. In South Africa, over 200 businesses have already taken part, with many more planned over the coming years.

What the training demonstrated is that there is a real appetite amongst the advisers to make a positive impact with the businesses they support. At the same time, there are clearly forward looking, ambitious businesses keen to develop and grow. This focus and enthusiasm will stand these businesses in excellent stead as they seek to overcome some of the unique and significant challenges they face in a variety of areas, including dealing with supply and energy issues.

Mark Modena who undertook the training and oversaw the local benchmarks for Winning Moves commented, “We are delighted to be associated with such and important initiative. To be able to play our part in such a worthwhile activity gives us great pride. We look forward to continue supporting UNIDO’s work in helping to alleviate poverty through enterprise”.