I &M bank Rwanda on Wednesday introduced Ganza na I&M SME banking project to elevate the market of microbusinesses, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). The project launches as a countrywide campaign after a preliminary rollout in early January 2020. Through specific products ranging from working capital, asset financing to account transactions, the bank has revolutionized its offering policy to bolster both startups and established businesses. The objective is to transform the bank’s overall products in total and reshape our entire MSME business for the future, Robin Bairstow, CEO of I&M Bank Rwanda said. “It will improve our SME banking offerings within this market by ensuring increased partnerships and tailor-made products that suit the segment specifically.” Ganza project comprises four major modules: customer value proposition, products, business models and sales strategies as well as credit risk management. In this phase, it is targeting tourism and hospitality sectors such as tour companies, restaurants, hotels and their suppliers among others. Further undertakings fall on the non-financial front including advisory services, capacity building in customer management, product development and credit management. The user experience has been simplified in a bid to ease the doing of business. Turnaround period was reduced and basic processes such as account opening and loan application were made less demanding. “We created an enabling credit environment and redesigned our business model to cater for this market,” commented the CEO. MSMEs are critical to the economy and social development of most emerging markets. According to the International Finance Corporation (IFC), they account for over 70 percent of all jobs created while they make up 98 percent of Rwanda’s business ecosystem. But despite the colossal significance and being the “backbone” of Africa’s economy, the majority of them crumbles before the fifth anniversary partly due to the lack of business management skills. Another lot of MSMEs even die before they bud out because they lack starting capital. I&M Bank’s authorities believe the new package will rescue both fronts for the previously isolated segment. Faustin Byishimo, I&M’s Executive Director revealed the bank is changing for the smaller enterprises from previously working with the few fledged companies. He argues SMEs make up the biggest chunk of the market and need financial services most. “What we’ve been serving more are medium-sized businesses and beyond. Now we have included both the micro and small-sized businesses which we intend to grow significantly,” Byishimo said. Ganza na I&M project started in late 2018 with two market researches by a structure of MSME staff and market experts from Mastercard Foundation and IFC to assess financial needs of MSMEs including those in emerging sectors and developed tailor made products to meet their needs. Over the last two months, the bank has been collecting customer feedback and fine-tuning the products. With this campaign, I&M projects an over 30 percent increase in its current portfolio and 50 percent in the customer base in the first year which is expected to double in the next three years. Established in 1963, I&M Bank (Rwanda) Plc (formerly - BCR) is a leading Financial Services Provider with a regional presence in Africa. In Rwanda, the companys product offering includes retail banking, business banking, corporate and institutional banking. The Bank has a proven track record in pioneering innovative financial services and supporting Rwanda’s strategy for financial inclusion.