Shuraako is a nonprofit project operating throughout Somalia. Shuraako, which means “partnership” in Somali, brokers economically beneficial relationships and connects micro, small and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs) to impact investors to catalyze job creation. This in turn contributes to a more resilient and peaceful Somalia. Shuraako achieves this by identifying and recommending eligible Somali businesses and servicing approved financing. Shuraako seeks to foster a thriving business sector by addressing the financial gap and brokering productive partnerships that encourages economic development.
2. Why Somalia?
Shuraako’s current mandate is Somalia. Shuraako is an implementing project of the One Earth Future Foundation (OEF), a nonprofit ‘think and do tank’ with a vision of developing effective, multi-stakeholder systems of governance to achieve a world beyond war. OEF began its work in Somalia because of existing governance gaps that allows violence, criminality and instability to prosper. One such example of this governance gap is piracy, a condition of lawlessness that can be more aptly addressed through creating economic opportunities on shore. Born out of this idea, Shuraako is a project that brings together prospective impact investors and promising entrepreneurial projects with the aim to create jobs and spur economic development. All Shuraako activities are funded through charitable donations and are not profit seeking.
3. Why was Shuraako created?
Shuraako is a project of the One Earth Future Foundation (OEF), which is an operating foundation with a vision of developing effective systems of multi-stakeholder governance to reduce armed conflict. As an operating foundation, OEF focuses on research, developing ideas, and translating those ideas into practical projects. OEF identified existing governance gaps that allow criminality and instability to prosper, such as piracy. Through its work, piracy is understood to be more aptly addressed by creating economic opportunities on shore. Born out of this idea, Shuraako addresses economic opportunities onshore by bringing together prospective investors with promising enterprises in Somalia, thereby encouraging economic development, creating jobs, in hopes of contributing to a more stable and peaceful Somalia.
4. What is the relationship between Shuraako and One Earth Future Foundation (OEF)?
Shuraako is an implementation project of, and fully funded by, OEF. As an operating foundation, OEF focuses on research, developing ideas, and implementing those ideas into practical projects. As a ‘think and do’ tank, OEF strives to put into practice critical theories in order to validate a proof of concept. OEF believes that a responsible private sector creates jobs, provides the necessary resources for effective governance, and encourages greater civic participation, which reinforces good governance ultimately leading to greater peace and stability.
5. What is Shuraako’s relationship with investors?
Shuraako, itself, is not an investor. Shuraako solicits external investors, from impact funds and charitable lenders, to fund promising enterprises we identify in Somalia. The investor is solely responsible for the investment decision. This is a no-cost, nonprofit service that facilitates investment into promising enterprises and manages the post-investment execution. Shuraako identifies entities that expressly add value to the local economy, conducts the on-the-ground due diligence, and establishes strong relationships with those businesses. In other words, Shuraako provides a critical service to local enterprises, and by doing so demonstrates that stable investments can be made and there is a local appreciation for responsible credit in Somalia. Together, external investors and Shuraako aim to develop a robust and responsible private sector in Somalia.
Currently, we partner with the Arsenault Family Foundation that has graciously funded our portfolio. Shuraako actively solicits investors attracted to our mission and interested in the entities we’ve profiled. We are open to expand our investor network, please contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org) if interested in our program.
6. Does Shuraako issue financing?
No, Shuraako does not issue financing. Shuraako provides the necessary service of conducting due diligence on local Somali businesses and providing recommendations to investors for consideration. We are a self-funded, nonprofit organization that provides a free service to external investors (who provide all lending capital). Shuraako does not seek to gain financially from brokering partnerships and/or investments.
7. How can I (a Somali business) apply for financing?
If you have an investment opportunity in Somalia, we want to hear from you (email@example.com)! Somali businesses are encouraged to submit a Concept Note and are requested to use the Shuraako template. Once we’ve reviewed your Concept Note, the Shuraako team may invite you to submit a full Business Plan. Learn more about who is eligible to receive an investment and how we approach finance in Somalia on our Investment Criteria page. If you have specific questions on the application process or the potential eligibility of your business, please contact us.
8. Who is eligible for investment?
We aim to support promising Somali businesses, with an existing track record, that are in need of capital. Our approach is to start small, build a relationship, and expand from there. Historically, investments have been in the agriculture, livestock, fishing and honey sectors, as well as women owned businesses and credit associations. Funding to date has ranged between USD$5,000 to USD$125,000, based on the strength of the proposal. Promising investments requiring greater amounts of capital will be considered. Even though we have experience with the above sectors, we are open to other socially and environmentally responsible enterprises that drive job creation and have a compelling business model. We do not provide finance for working capital.
If you are a Somali business and interested in acquiring financing through Shuraako’s service, please submit a completed Concept Note or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
9. What does Connect>Invest>Jobs mean?
Shuraako, which means “partnership” in Somali, is a nonprofit organization that connects economically beneficial partners; facilitates investment into micro, small and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs); and ultimately aims to catalyze job creation.
Hence our tagline: Connect >Invest>Jobs.
10. Does job creation and economic development lead to greater peace and stability?
Shuraako believes that a responsible private sector creates economic development bringing with it greater civic participation. Greater civic participation leads to more transparent and accountable governments, as citizens demand greater responsiveness. This creates a reciprocal relationship that feeds a virtuous cycle, ultimately leading to greater prosperity and stability. Shuraako does not attempt, in any way, to influence the government, but works with the private sector to create jobs and develop a robust economy.
As highlighted in the Economic Drivers of Conflict and Cooperation in the Horn of Africa, “conflict is often driven by economic factors, and so private sector development may play a critical role in creating the conditions for a stable society. It can address the causes or escalating factors of conflict, such as unemployment or poverty.” The private sector is a key player to addressing the issues of peace and stability in Somalia, and Shuraako aims to positively influence this through responsible investing and job creation.
 Love, Roy, Economic Drivers of Conflict and Cooperation in the Horn of Africa: A Regional Perspective and Overview, 2009.