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SME Spotlight: Wildlife Sun Safaris survives through IIA SME Recovery and Resilience program

Invest in Africa (IIA) partnered with Mastercard Foundation to front for the survival and resilience of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) through capacity building. Under this initiative, IIA enrolled SMEs through bespoke masterclasses, peer-to-peer mentorship sessions, an investor readiness plan, and business development coaching, as a way of ensuring the businesses can survive the impact of Covid-19 pandemic as well as future disasters.

James Mwalata is a Managing Director of a Tour operating Safaris Company, based in Mombasa Kenya, known as Wildlife Sun Safaris. He is happy to have enrolled in the IIA SME Recovery and Resilience program, where he attended several Masterclasses. According to Mwalata, Lessons and nuggets drawn from the sessions he attended enabled him to rethink the company’s customer experience, especially in the face of consumer sentimental change, occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic disruption. 

Operating in the hospitality, travel and tourism sectors, Wildlife Sun Safaris was among the businesses hardest hit by the Covid-19 containment measures. “We experienced a sharp drop of our customers during the Covid-19 pandemic” said James Mwalata in an interview with IIA. This left the management of the company with a lot of question on how they can regain momentum for the business and ensure continuity.  

Upon attending several Masterclasses and enrolling through a Business Development Coaching in the IIA SME Recovery and Resilience program, James realized the need to rethink the company’s products as a way of sustaining their clients and attracting new ones. “By considering the lessons we learned from these sessions, specifically the one that taught us about enhancing business resilience, we have adopted flexibility for our services and pricing to retain the few customers who are still interested in our services,” said James.

Further to ensuring the continuity of the Business, James Mwalata’s management shifted to online marketing and targeted new sceneries, that suited the needs of most customers. This placed the company in a better position to survive the business disruption, despite the inevitable deep in the uptake of tourism and hospitality services. According to James, the business has not yet gone back to the pre-covid status, but he has hopes that it will continue improving. “The training offered us the capacity to initiate effective processes and structures that gives us confidence that the business will recover successfully”

Wildlife Sun Safaris is just one of the many SMEs who have significantly benefited from the IIA SME Recovery and Resilience program. The aim of the program is to enable SMEs to ride the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic successfully and build their capacity to survive future business disruptions. The program has enrolled over 4000 SMEs so far with 80+ of them receiving one-on-one business development coaching.