The Business Development Fund (BDF), a company that was established in 2011 to facilitate small and medium enterprises to access finance, is marking five years of operations.
Having become a major player in the private sector domain, the company is proud to have signed participation agreements with over 503 financial institutions, financed 23,411 businesses and created 145,222 jobs, it said.
The Chief Executive Officer, Business Development Fund, Innocent Bulindi, congratulated shareholders, partners and employees for the support and hard work that has seen the company through ‘‘this tough but fruitful journey’’.
He made the remarks at a news conference at the company’s head office yesterday.
Bulindi said that within the five years of its existence, they ensured alignment of their mandate to several government programmes like national employment programme, access to finance, and business development and entrepreneurship as a way to promote small and medium enterprise development through provision of financial services.
He, however, said that despite their effort to work closely with business development executive units at the grassroots where services like training and business advisory support are given to those who intend to start businesses, many people have continued to invest in businesses they do not fully understand.
To date, 392 projects are considered as Non-Performing Loans (NPLs), worth Rwf5.3 billion, in Business Development Fund Guarantee which is partly a result of some people who venture into unprofitable businesses and fail to pay back the loan.
“Rwandans are developing the spirit of entrepreneurship but it is important for one to first conduct market research and understand the nature of the business they intend to venture into so as to avoid collapsing, which is a common thing today,” says Bulindi .
BDF plans to phase out government subsidies and achieve financial sustainability, he said.
It also intends to strengthen its resource mobilisation by working with international entities in commercial borrowing and lending.
BDF says it seeks to build an entity that can still be around in 50 to 100 years to reach thousands of small and medium enterprises and create millions of jobs.