FEATURED: BDF reaches out to educate the public about the fund

It is 10:00am in the morning and Gakiriro trading center is already bustling with activity. For the last two hours since Duterimbere Bank opened, people have been coming to deposit and withdraw money.

However this time round, there is an­other table with books and flyers set in the right hand corner branded with BDF logos.

Two clients are attentively listening to an official from Business Develop­ment Fund (BDF) as he explains about the institution’s services and prod­ucts.

Am later told that it is a BDF Business Clinic outreach programme and the official is sensitizing and taking the customers through the services that BDF offers.

Clients being egaged by BDF staff during the Business clinics.

Speaking to The New Times, Albert Mugisha the Cooperate Relationship Officer at BDF said that the business clinics are being orgarnised across the country.

“We decided to reach out to the public and sensitize them about the credit guarantee that we offer for those indi­viduals with viable business projects but lack capital to start their busi­nesses.

We take them through a presentation that gives them an insight about how one can benefit from the fund.” Ex­plained Mugisha

According to Mugisha, the BDF offi­cials are not only educating the pub­lic about their products and services, but they also explain and educate them about the procedures for ac­cessing them and also share experi­ences, concerns and views that may help BDF serve clients better.

“We realized that clients needed more insights about our services and this prompted us to go to them through setting up business clinics at various banks like Copedu, BK and Duterembere” said Mugisha

In an attempt to reach out to many people, BDF entered the Made in Rwanda Expo and showcased the products and services.

We also decided to reach out to many people during the “Made in Rwanda” Expo and we did a great job there. Many clients had un answered ques­tions but from the feedback were are getting, the customers are appreciat­ing the campaign because they said it helped them understand better what we do and how they can access our services.

They have come to understand that BDF’s intervention is to guarantee loans but not to give loans as many had earlier thought.” he added.

Kagaju Mary a Kigali business woman who supplies groceries to different supermarkets across the city said she had always planned to expand her business and start up a grocery of her own but to do so, she needs support to get a loan from the bank which has not been easy.

“It is good that they are calling us and explaining to us about the service. Some of us had a different opinion about loans and we always thought that we can never get a loan because we don’t have securities. Today we have been told that BDF will be our guarantee which is good new” said Kagaju

For many years now, BDF has been assisting Small and Medium Enter­prises to access finance, especially those who lack sufficient collateral when seeking credit. BDF provides credit guarantees as well as Qua­si-Equity support to start-up among many others.

Since 2011, BDF has given credit guar­antee to 9208 projects and the total of loans requested is 125 billion Frw of which the BDF guarantee given is 60 billion Frw.

BDF works with the financial insti­tutions namely banks, Microfinance Institutions and Savings and Credit Cooperatives to cover a between 50 per cent and 75 per cent of collateral required by the lender institution.

The maximum guaranteed amount is Rwf500 million for Agriculture project and Rwf500 million for other sectors within a maturity period of 10 years.

Those who are eligible for the support are Micro, Small & Medium Enterpris­es (MSMEs), individuals, associations.