Entrepreneurs in the tourism value chain now have the chance to receive a grant of up to $50,000 thanks to the new Covid-19 recovery programme. The Komeza Covid-19 recovery and resilience programme is a partnership between Entrepreneurial Solutions Partners (ESP), Equity Bank and MasterCard Foundation. It is set to benefit 120 businesses through financial support and technical assistance in the next one year. The $2.5 million aims at helping Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to weather the coronavirus crisis. “A key aspect of this programme is support through intelligent capital,” said Nima Yussuf, Senior Programme Manager for Komeza Programme, said on Monday August 3 during an online information session with entrepreneurs. “This is a mix of business support through workshops, a speaker series, strategic networking, and tools to help entrepreneurs assess their businesses and get back on a growth trajectory.” Their focus on the tourism sector, she said, was informed by the fact that it is one of Rwandas priority sectors and one of the worst hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. The programme is divided in two categories For the Komeza accelerator programme, Yussuf said; “we’re looking for 50 established businesses for the SME stream. In addition, 10 businesses will be selected through the innovation stream, which focuses on building and financing growth plans to increase resilience and mitigate the impact of the crisis. What will entrepreneurs gain? After application and selection processes, 60 successful SMEs will access funding which can go up to $50,000 based on the size of business. The beneficiaries will be established or tech oriented businesses that leveraged on innovations to withstand the pandemic. Allocation of funds will be done on a case-by-case basis, based on assessment of each business. Dianah Mukundwa, the Head of Strategy and Business Analyst at Equity Bank Rwanda, noted that the businesses will be eligible for additional tailor-made loans as well as advisory support. Equity Bank will also help you make payments digitally and provide you with all banking services required,” she told the entrepreneurs. “You will be treated well as an SME and you will be working with the best credit experts that will help support you. We will get the lowest interest rate possible to make the SMEs comfortable enough to use the funds allocated.” Additionally, each entrepreneur will have a personal business coach to provide personalized support and help to keep the enterprise on track. Who can apply? Businesses in the tourism value chains are eligible for the programme. This includes, among others, hotels and restaurants and their suppliers, tourism schools, travel and tour companies. The enterprises should also prove one year of operation with a high potential for growth. Only businesses registered in Rwanda can apply for the programme. How to apply The Komeza application process is two-fold. The first phase involves assessing the eligibility of the business for support. Thereafter, the applicant is taken to the next stage where they complete a questionnaire which determines whether the applicant qualifies for the programme. Application is done online here.