16 January 2020. Port Louis, Mauritius. GroFin, an impact-first SME financier, is excited to announce that Brienne van der Walt has started his tenure as the company’s new CEO.
“I am honoured by the opportunity to lead a company driven by the objective to make a real and positive impact on people’s lives. GroFin finances SMEs, but ultimately, we invest in communities.”
Brienne joined GroFin as Chief Investment Officer before succeeding Guido Boysen as CEO, who served GroFin since 2007.
Brienne says he is excited about his new role and optimistic about what the future holds for GroFin and its clients. “I am honoured by the opportunity to lead a company driven by the objective to make a real and positive impact on people’s lives. GroFin finances SMEs, but ultimately, we invest in communities.”
GroFin improves people’s lives through empowering entrepreneurs with the financing and support they need to grow sustainable businesses that create jobs. The company has sustained nearly 91 000 jobs by financing over 700 SMEs in Africa and the Middle East.
“Many of the problems so prevalent in the countries where we operate – whether it is unemployment in Africa or political instability in the Middle East – create negative ripple effects around the world. Job creation remains one of the most powerful forces to counter this,” Brienne adds.
Jurie Willemse, Chairman of GroFin, says Brienne is a dynamic and values-driven leader with relevant experience and insight. “Brienne brings the qualities GroFin would look for in a CEO. I am confident he will lead GroFin to even greater success in achieving our founding objective to develop successful SMEs at scale, in order to create jobs and measurable impact.”
An entrepreneur himself, Brienne has over 20 years of experience in corporate and business banking, financial services, and public sector consultancy. He has extensive knowledge of the African SME sector and is available for telephonic media interviews, or to provide media comment, on the following topics:
- The growth outlook for African SMEs in the coming year
- The common challenges African SMEs face in accessing financing and how this is stifling its growth
- How GroFin and the greater impact investment sector is helping to address this funding gap
- Why funding is not enough to help African SMEs flourish and the need to help African entrepreneurs strengthen their business skills and knowledge
- Other challenges that prevent African SMEs from growing into larger, more formalised and sustainable businesses
- Why investing in and developing SMEs is one of the most powerful and efficient ways to help lift communities out of poverty through creating jobs
- “The missing middle’ in the SME sector and why businesses who fall in this category often struggle the most to access financing
- The need for impact investment in ‘ordinary’ small and medium-sized businesses to create jobs and sustain economic development, as opposed to only utilising capital to support highly innovative start-ups or social enterprises
- Blended finance, and how this approach uses development funding to unlock greater private sector investment into Africa
GroFin is a specialist, impact-driven SME financier. As a pioneering private development finance institution, GroFin combines medium-term loan capital and development assistance to grow small and growing businesses (SGBs) in emerging market. Since its inception in 2003, GroFin has invested in over 700 SMEs and sustained over 90 900 jobs. We have the support of 34 international finance institutions, development organisations, and private funders with committed capital of nearly $500 million. Headquartered in Mauritius, GroFin operates in 15 countries across Africa and the Middle East.
GroFin Content Specialist