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R&D Group, a veteran outsourcing and enterprise development organization, has developed a new digital support hub called SHARE, targeting micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

Officially launched on May 31, 2024, SHARE seeks to address challenges faced by entrepreneurs, such as limited access to information, funding, and essential business skills.

According to R&D, SHARE emerged from a perceived need to shake up the traditional support system for MSMEs. “We’ve been delivering entrepreneurship acceleration programs for over a decade,” says Rahel BoonDejene, founder and Group CEO of R&D. “But SHARE allows us to move into the digital space, streamline our services, and connect businesses with opportunities, mentors, and funding in a whole new way.”   

Launched at the Dare2Share event, SHARE and its launch partner, CARE, set an ambitious target: supporting 65,000 businesses within three years. These businesses will primarily be SMEs and women-owned ventures.

Aligning with CARE’s Advancing Women’s Enterprise (AWE) project, SHARE focuses on empowering women entrepreneurs. The Advancing Women Enterprise (AWE) is a project that focuses on increasing women’s access to financial and entrepreneurial tools and opportunities.

SHARE offers mentorship, digital skills training, face-to-face workshops, funding opportunities, business acceleration programs, and, most importantly, access to information.

Though R&D focuses on supporting CARE’s AWE Project for three years, it ultimately aims to become self-sustaining through commission and subscription fees and a crowdfunding platform in the long run, according to Rahel.

“SHARE is our sustainable model for private sector development, and it’s bigger than its current focus.” Wondwesen Zewdie, Managing Partner of R&D, told Shega.

Wondwesen regards the platform as a new step towards making private sector development support accessible to a vast number of MSMEs in Ethiopia.

SHARE also introduces the concept of fractional experts, professionals who offer their expertise and services on a part-time or project basis.  Businesses can tap into a diverse pool of specialists across various sectors, gaining access to specialized knowledge and skills to elevate growth and success.

The collaboration with CARE Ethiopia has already identified 5,000 women-led businesses to benefit from the initiative. An additional 12,500 SMEs will receive various forms of support. Meanwhile, the top 250 performers will be selected for a coveted three-month acceleration program. 

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Etenat holds a degree in Journalism and her master's in Public Relations. Previously, she served as a university lecturer and has five years of experience in communications, media, digital marketing, and consulting.