Birimian and Orange Bank Africa celebrate the success of their “Access to finance” program.

In September 2022, Birimian and Orange Bank Africa, under the patronage of Madame Françoise Remarck, Minister of Culture and Francophonie, signed an unprecedented partnership aimed at promoting cultural excellence and exceptional Ivorian craftsmanship.

This partnership, based on the financing by Birimian and Orange Bank Africa of companies working to develop Côte d’Ivoire’s creative and cultural industry, through the granting of revolving loans adapted to their particularities, production cycles and distribution of their activities, marked a new deal for access to financing in this industry.

This partnership was initiated by Birimian. Founded in 2021 by Laureen Kouassi-Olsson, a well-known figure in private equity and financial services on the continent, Birimian has successfully built up a network of partners, investors, and players on the international creative scene, generating value for the entrepreneurs and brands it supports.

Orange Bank Africa (OBA), a licensed bank with capital of FCFA 42.5 billion, is the fruit of a partnership between two leading groups in the UEMOA region, Orange and the NSIA Group.

Orange Bank Africa’s activities were launched in July 2020, with the ambition of promoting access to financial services for unbanked populations. OBA is positioned on disruptive and digital banking offers tailored to the expectations of individuals and businesses.

Nine months after signing this ground-breaking partnership, the Birimian and OBA teams are proud to note the success of this initiative, which to date has enabled some twenty creative entrepreneurs to be financed, with 100% consumption of the available envelope and a default rate of 0%.

On the strength of this success, the Orange Bank Africa Credit Committee has approved a significant increase in the envelope allocated to the “Birimian x OBA” program. Initially set at 100 million FCFA, it has been multiplied by 5.

As a result, Birimian now has a budget of 500 millions FCFA dedicated solely to financing the players and artisans of Ivorian creative and cultural excellence.

Of the companies financed with the first envelope, 80% are led by women entrepreneurs in the fashion, ready-to-wear and accessories sector (60% of the portfolio), cosmetics (18% of the portfolio),
and tableware and gourmet goods (18%). Birimian has also reached out to players in the visual arts and photography sectors.

These companies vary in size, and the efforts of the Birimian and Orange Bank Africa teams have made it possible to reach a very wide audience of creative and cultural entrepreneurs. A common
denominator is the youthfulness of the companies’ managers, 80% of whom are under 40.

The positive evolution of this partnership, proof of Orange Bank Africa’s renewed confidence in Birimian, is an opportunity to demonstrate that the private sector, and the banking sector in particular, can be players in the development of the cultural and creative industries in Côte d’Ivoire.

Laureen Kouassi-Olsson, Chairman and CEO, commented: “We are delighted with the positive development of our partnership with Orange Bank and the extension of the funds allocated to us. The
success of the pilot phase confirms our unique positioning as a financial institution dedicated to the development of creation and exceptional craftsmanship in Côte d’Ivoire and Africa“.

Jean-Louis Mennan-Kouamé, CEO of Orange Bank Africa, said: “The pilot phase of this partnership with Birimian has been a success, and we are delighted to be extending this financing program. With
Birimian, we are demonstrating our agility in setting up financial instruments enabling the development and support of talented creative entrepreneurs symbolizing our cultural excellence“.

Finally, Mrs Françoise Remarck, Ivorian Minister of Culture and Francophonie declared: ” I am delighted, 9 months after the conclusion of the partnership between Birimian and Orange Bank Africa, to
see the success of this initiative, which has led to a strong commitment on the part of the financial sector to support players in the cultural and creative sector and exceptional crafts“.

About Birimian

The first operational investment company dedicated to luxury and premium brands inspired by African. heritage, Birimian supports creative designers and labels in their long-term growth and international development. Birimian’s main objective is to accelerate the emergence of African designers and the diaspora on the international scene by positioning itself as their major partner in the growth sectors of African creative exceptionalism: fashion, beauty, cosmetics, jewelry, and the arts of living.

Birimian focuses on brands that embody the continent’s culture, tradition, history, and cultural heritage; in their diversity, DNA and identity, brands that adapt to modern and contemporary codes.
Birimian’s approach is based on capacity building, institutionalization of creators and access to financing.

Birimian has created a unique acceleration program in collaboration with the Institut Français de la Mode, as well as an innovative financing program for designers in Côte d’Ivoire, in partnership with Orange Bank Africa.

About Orange Bank Africa

Orange, a major telecoms player in Africa and the Middle East, and NSIA, a leader in bancassurance, have together created Orange Bank Africa. Headed by Jean-Louis Menann-Kouamé, OBA’s ambition is to offer customers with an Orange Money electronic wallet a simple offer of instant credit and interest-bearing savings, accessible at any time from their mobile.
Orange’s mobile financial services strategy in Africa aims to offer solutions that are accessible to as many people as possible, whatever their income level or location. Orange Bank Africa’s objective is to
become the benchmark for financial inclusion in West Africa.

Press contact Birimian

Jessica Ngon Kemoum

Press contact Orange

Khadija Komara;; +33 6 76 45 96 18
Ibtissame Nafii;; +33 6 37 38 60 50


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