Private Sector Development

Business Development Support Services

Captiva Africa LLC works with entrepreneurs and businesses in our focus sectors to develop sustainable, efficient and inclusive markets. Our approach comprises working with select businesses in the sector, identifying their business support requirements and providing targeted advisory services to enable them scale up their operations.

Our team of Business Development Managers (BDM) works with the entrepreneurs and key players in the sector to address systemic barriers and market opportunities to enable the businesses be more successful. The business development support services provided by Captiva Africa LLC include the following:

Business Strategy

Captiva Africa LLC
Captiva Africa LLC assists clients understand their current and future source of competitive advantage; and to secure and sustain an unassailable advantage over the competition.

We seek to deliver tailor-made solutions for each client to enable the client exploit their genuine competences and help lay the ground for implementation of the strategy. We assist management address the following questions in crafting their business strategies:

  • What’s the scope of the business to which this strategy applies?
  • What are the current and future trends of the needs of the customers and potential customers?
  • What are the unique capabilities that will give us competitive advantage in meeting these needs now and in future?
  • How well are we positioned in relation to competitors?
  • What can we do to enhance our relative advantage?
  • What in broad terms do we need to do to secure the future of our business?

Strategy can be developed at various levels including business unit level, national, and industry and at the multi-business corporate level. In addition, at Captiva Africa LLC we appreciate that the most optimal business strategies may be beyond the client’s existing business models. We therefore encourage clients to consider innovative business models and offer to assist in building new businesses.


Captiva Africa LLC
We have helped clients identify where they should compete and supported them craft and implement strategies to capture those growth opportunities.

Small to Medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) comprise over 90% of the businesses in Africa, as is the case for most economies elsewhere. As the backbone of the economy SMEs continue to be a source of dynamism, growth and innovation. In spite of the challenging business environment many of these businesses are embarking on ambitious growth plans. The key question for many is from where shall the growth be derived?

From our experience at Captiva Africa LLC, industry perspectives of growth opportunities are influenced by averaging out the growth rates for the various segments and sub-segments in the target sector. Yet such industries as those for consumer goods that are viewed generally as “mature” will have segments that would be growing rapidly whilst others such as ICT that are perceived as “high growth” will have sub-segments that will have plateaued. Naturally this has the effect of distorting or concealing the opportunities for growth in the target sectors.

At Captiva Africa LLC, we have helped clients identify where they should compete and supported them craft and implement strategies to capture those growth opportunities. In analyzing opportunities, our approach has been to help the clients dissect the key market segments and sub-segments instead of applying such broad terms as high “growth sectors” or “mature sectors” which tend to blur the reality and with it the latent opportunities.

We help our clients develop a granular understanding of trends, future growth rates, and market structures. We then work with them to craft business plans, define the capabilities that they need to execute the plans, and allocate resources, recruit and retain people and track their achievements.


Captiva Africa LLC
Our approach is to first assist clients decide on where to focus the innovation. And then work with them to identify the more urgent needs that their customers would like addressed.

Most SMEs are founded on an entrepreneurial culture for which innovation is the anchor to their business models. One of the key roles in our focus sectors at Captiva Africa LLC is to help clients innovate across products, services, processes, and business models. We are currently working with clients to build repeatable and scalable processes that are necessary for breakthrough innovation.

We help entrepreneurs address the following issues with respect to innovation:

  • How can we be more innovative with our business model?
  • How can we create and sustain an environment that encourages innovation, and entrepreneurial culture?
  • How can we improve the profitability of the business in its current form?
  • How can we measure and reward innovation?

At Captiva Africa LLC we have recently focused on helping our anchor clients craft and execute innovative business models in our focus sectors. We are now shifting to working with these and new clients to create strategic and sustainable long-term approaches to renewal across services, products and internal processes.

For example under the International Finance Corporation (IFC)’s Sustainable Sanitation and for All (SSAWA) program in Kenya, we are working with entrepreneurs to enable them reap the benefits of “open innovation,” by positioning them to look beyond their own boundaries to gain access to ideas, knowledge, and emerging technologies in water and sanitation. We have assisted them design and implement organization structures that will allow them execute business plans that incorporate such emerging technologies and products as the Gulper or reuse of waste to solid bio-fuels.

Our approach at Captiva Africa LLC is to first assist clients decide on where to focus the innovation. And then work with them to identify the more urgent needs that their customers would like addressed before helping them create and test the product or service idea. We seek to help the client transform big ideas or concepts at R&D level into small commercial offering within the most optimal time. Scalability and replicability will then be a natural progression.


Captiva Africa LLC
From our experience, most SMEs are born out of entrepreneurial passion; limited funding and with business systems that are often heterogeneous and independent.

Risk management is the identification, quantification and proactive management of key risks that face an organization. Given today’s unstable economic environments, every business needs to evaluate its risk management capabilities. Our expertise in risk management dovetails with Captiva’s capabilities in such areas as business strategy, planning and advising on growth and innovation. In this case we work closely with senior expert advisers—external collaborators who bring on board years of industry, regulatory, and academic experience.

Our recent work has involved supporting clients in a variety of industries in East Africa including retail, FMCGS, transport, water, sanitation and clean energy in identifying and managing operational, financial, strategic and reputational risks.

From our experience, most SMEs are born out of entrepreneurial passion; limited funding and with business systems that are often heterogeneous and independent. The dynamic and ad hoc development of these SMEs means that risk management issues and processes are not addressed at the start-up phase of the businesses. Risk management frameworks and processes tend to be at the very least rudimentary if not non-existent. The businesses, generally, place little emphasis on enterprise risk management.

 At Captiva Africa LLC we work with SME executives to assist them engage, understand and implement basic risk management processes including technical and organizational measures. Without such measures the SMEs may be severely impacted by various strategic, operational and financial risks which may in turn lead to business failure. We help businesses decide how to initiate and carry out risk management- and where they have adequate resources we provide guidelines for performing a self-assessment of key risks to the businesses. For this purpose we offer a simple risk assessment method that leads to a quick and extensive identification and mitigation of the key risks.

Our team of experts appreciates that most SMEs have certain common characteristics. First they tend to have pancake organizational structures where people are expected to multi-task. This exposes members of staff to the entire variety of processes and procedures used across the company.

Our approach to risk management for SMEs comprises three key pillars:

Understanding Risk

We help SME executives gain an understanding of the background and rationale for risk management. We ensure that key managers appreciate the structure of the risk assessment process and bottom-line implications for the businesses if the key risks are not adequately anticipated and addressed.

Business Processes

We help clients take into account risk management into their business planning processes as well as their day to day operations and decision making. In addition we encourage the executives to understand that optimal structural and organizational choices are critical for effective risk management. Whilst risk management is the responsibility of all in the organization; it is important that the roles and responsibilities of the risk functions where available are clearly defined.

Risk Appetite

Captiva Business Advisors are aware that clients will have different appetites for risk based on their unique financial and strategic circumstances. We therefore help clients ensure that their risk management approaches are in line with their business strategy and risk-taking capabilities

Organization Design

Captiva Africa LLC
For most SMEs we have interacted with, deliberate alignment of the organization design to strategy is rarely on the radar.

Organization design involves aligning the structure, process, rewards and people with the business strategy. Structure dictates the relationship of roles in an organization, and how people function. A structure that is not in sync with the business strategy can result in unnecessary ambiguity and a lack of accountability. When the business strategy changes, structures, roles, and functions should be reconfigured with the new objectives.

From our experience, this doesn't always happen. And where it does happen, people are seldom shown how to operate in the new structure and this undermines the effectiveness of the redesign. For most SMEs we have interacted with, deliberate alignment of the organization design to strategy is rarely on the radar.

At Captiva Africa LLC we know that the essence of people working together collaboratively is the basis of competitive advantage not only in large corporates but for SMEs as well. We appreciate that inadequate organization design and structure may result in a lack of co-ordination among functions, failure to share ideas, and slow decision-making which may in turn bring managers stress, and conflict. We work closely with clients to address the following issues:

  • How can we improve productivity and reduce the cost base?
  • How can we translate business objectives into organizational requirements?
  • How can we reduce organizational complexity without losing control?
  • What key attributes of the organization design do we need to be a high performing company?

In this regard, Captiva’s approach to organization design is anchored on the following three dimensions:

Current-state Assessment: We assess the strengths and weaknesses of the current organization and design a more optimal new structure. At this stage we seek to highlight areas where the organization presents challenges, which might lie in role clarity, culture, structure or linkages, and then define the criteria to guide the design process.

Align strategy to the Organization: We make sure the design focuses management attention on the business objectives and critical operations of each product, service or business unit. And where required, we assist the client efficiently implement the new design and quickly realize the economic value therefrom.

Simplicity: Organization design is inherently a complex subject and the structures from the redesign process can be even more complex. The Captiva BDAs help management to take the complexity out of organization design by pinpointing role ambiguities and inadequate processes that may hinder productivity. We go beyond the boxes and lines on the organi-gram to help management ensure that the key roles have clear accountability and performance measures.

In some of our more recent engagements we have worked with clients in Kenya, Rwanda, Ghana and Uganda to ensure that the structures of their businesses were appropriately configured to match the change in the business strategy and objectives. Where necessary we have assisted the entrepreneurs in the implementation of the proposed redesigns.

Product Development

Captiva Africa LLC
Many aspects of product development are unpredictable: when projects will arrive, what individual tasks they’ll require, and how long it will take people who have never tackled such tasks before to do them.

Product development involves developing new products or modifying existing products so they appear new. From our experience many enterprises in early stage sectors struggle to implement product development projects on time and budget. The process involves many tasks that are unique, requirements that constantly change, and the output is information, which can reside in multiple places at the same time.

Many aspects of product development are unpredictable: when projects will arrive, what individual tasks they’ll require, and how long it will take people who have never tackled such tasks before to do them. Product development requires that the team anticipates the reaction from the competition and takes into account customer needs now and in the future, the ability to finance prototypes and manufacturing processes, and a creative marketing and communications plan.

Captiva works with clients in our focus sectors to address the following areas with regard to product development:

  • How do we ensure that consumers are at the front and center of the product development process from discovery to the end?
  • How do we respond if the competitor beats us to the market for a product to which we have already committed resources?
  • How do we ensure we have adequately anticipated the implications of the inherent variability of the product development process?
  • How can we speed up time to market to enable us gain first-mover advantages?
  • What do we need to do to turn around projects where deadlines have already been missed and successful project completion is threatened?

At Captiva Africa LLC we collaborate with experts in our focus sectors to assist clients improve the new product development process from discovery and execution to commercialization. More recently we have worked directly on specific products and helped clients institutionalize capabilities to sustain best practices in executing ideas-to-launch. In particular we have assisted our SME clients meet their product development goals that meet their drive for product profitability- launch dates, cost, quality control and revenues.

The key advantages our SME clients enjoy over the large corporates are their ability to adapt quickly to environmental factors. The Captiva BDMs leverage this attribute by assisting the entrepreneurs recognise their own best approaches to idea generation, how to play to their strengths in the area of new product development without stifling the ability of the entrepreneur to react to change.

Rapid Market Assessments

Captiva Africa LLC
The key advantage our SME clients enjoy over the large corporates is their ability to adapt quickly to environmental factors.

Rapid Market Assessment (RMA) is a tool that we apply at Captiva Africa LLC to give us snap shot of a specific market. It is an iterative and interactive research methodology that we carry out to help us or the client better understand complex market systems in a relatively short time. RMAs enable clients address the following issues:

  • What are the market trends, growth and competitiveness and how can we apply these in the selection of the focus segments or products?
  •  How can we best reorient our products and services in response to changing demand and customers’ needs?
  • What marketing opportunities are there in our focus sectors?
  • What products or market niches do we enjoy a comparative advantages?

Captiva have extensive experience in carrying out qualitative and quantitative RMAs across sectors in the East African region. Our more recent engagement have involved RMAs in the Clean Energy sector in Kenya; an RMA for the water sector in Western Uganda, RMA for the sanitation sector in Kampala Uganda, and an RMA for the Sanitation sector in Eastern Uganda and Kenya and RMA for household sanitation products in Ghana.

Financial Management and Budgeting

Captiva Africa LLC
At Captiva Africa LLC, we see one of our roles as helping SMEs document and track their achievements.

One of the urgent needs that have come to our attention during the on-going engagements with SMEs across sectors is assistance with financial management and literacy. This is important as it is the platform on which all the SMEs’ key relationships, including with banks are built. In particular Captiva BDAs have noted that this has been a critical component as we assisted the various businesses access funding.

At Captiva Africa LLC, we see one of our roles as helping SMEs document and track their achievements. We take advantage of our extensive project experience with a number of SMEs in the region to help clients improve the effectiveness of management reporting to best facilitate their decisions. In addition we use our in-depth sector knowledge to inform financial modeling scenarios and advise clients on whether the businesses would benefit from injection of capital and if so, advise on the optimal blend of funding required.

Our business development support takes a number of dimensions in this area:

  • How should businesses define the role of the finance function in a pancake structure?
  • How do we increase the effectiveness of management reporting as a basis for strategic decisions?
  • How can we identify and manage operational and financial risks at the start-up phase and times of crisis?

For clients with more informal structures, we encourage them to regularly produce financial statements. We emphasize that a business can be profitable but still have cashflow problems. We help such clients implement basic procedures – such as preparation of cashflow forecasts for more effective management of cashflows. In addition we help them institute optimal financial controls to ensure the information generated is reliable and will lead to correct decisions.

For our more established clients we perform diagnostics on operational performance by analyzing profitability and returns on capital to help them understand areas with potential for improvement and identify performance gaps. We analyze historical sources of growth such as product portfolio or geographical coverage and their implication on the overall performance of the business and the extent to which they may be replicated.

On business plans and future performance projections, Captiva applies bespoke tools to determine market profitability for clients and the industry. We then work with management to assess the gaps between the projections and their own strategies and identify potential initiatives to address these gaps.

Feasibility Studies

Captiva Africa LLC
At Captiva Africa LLC we encourage clients to carry out feasibility studies even when they feel the project is commercially viable.

When faced with a business opportunity many persons tend to focus on the positive outcomes. At Captiva Africa LLC we will work with business executives to take a realistic look at both the positive and negative aspects of the project and ultimately seek to answer the question: does the idea make commercial sense. The focus would be to determine if a business opportunity is possible, practical and viable.

Our recent experiences with SMEs indicate that knowing when and how to conduct feasibility studies will help many owners make critical decisions to select the right opportunities. Our teams of BDAs have assisted businesses carry out feasibility studies before embarking on capital projects or expanding into new areas. We assist business owners and executives address amongst other things the following critical issues:

  • What type of product or service is proposed and what are the commercial implications thereof for sales, marketing, volume, quality and seasonality?
  • What are the number, capacity, location and level of technology in competing firms?
  • Where applicable what are the prospects for sourcing of the raw materials?
  • What are the cost and logistical implications for the production and distribution of the product?
  • What are the facility requirements for the project in terms of site and should this be leased, rented or purchased?
  • What are the funding requirements for the project and the payback period for the investment?
  • What is the optimal legal structure of the project and such contractual agreements as the production contracts, sales contracts and marketing agreements?

At Captiva Africa LLC we encourage clients to carry out feasibility studies even when they feel the project is commercially viable. This is because the study forces the entrepreneur to put the idea on paper and assess whether those are realistic. It forces the owner to begin formally evaluating which steps to take next. Where necessary we collaborate with sector experts to provide objective analysis of the proposed venture.

In one of our recent engagements for a multinational seeking to set up operations in East Africa in the clean energy sector, the Captiva Africa LLC team assisted the client determine amongst other things the regulatory environment for the project, the optimal sites for the factory, the adequacy of the local sources of raw materials, opportunities and prospective partners for collocation of the factory, the availability of large scale industrial anchor clients and the opportunities and protocols for public private partnerships. The Captiva BDAs went further to set up and facilitate early stage discussions between the client and various prospective partners, key suppliers, anchor customers and relevant regulatory agencies in the sector.

Captiva Africa LLC has also recently carried out feasibility studies for businesses in water in Kamwenge and Kyenjojo districts in Uganda and businesses in sanitation in Mukono district on the outskirts of Kampala.