New project to help fund more start-up businesses

A tailor at a shop in Kanombe.File

More businesses are set to receive funds to expand their activities thanks to the Local Competitiveness Facility (LCF), a new fund supporting private business partnerships focusing on value chain development.

LCF is implemented by the Local Administrative Entities Development Agency (LODA) under the Ministry of Local Government and the respective districts supported by the Rwanda Decentralisation Support Programme (RDSP) by Enabel, the Belgian development agency.

The interventions were announced in Kigali during a conference on Local Economic Development (LED) organised by the Ministry of Local Government and LODA (Local Entities Development Agencies) in conjunction with Enabel.

Speaking at the event, the Minister of Local Government, Prof. Anastase Shyaka, said that it is impressive to see the level of income that people have registered from diary and agricultural products, among others. 

“Local processing might be nascent but it is taking shape. I think it is our responsibility to sustain and scale up the gains of the LCF (project),” he said.

“We need to increase our support to build self-reliance through cooperatives and private sector strengthening and it is possible and it is rewarding”.

The project works in four pilot districts, namely Nyagatare, Gisagara, Gakenke and Rutsiro.

During a second call for proposals, which was launched this year, 41 business partnerships consisting of 99 companies have been selected for support worth over Rwf1.3 billion, of which Rwf829.8 million is contributed by Enabel.

It offers grants (between Rwf5 million and Rwf40 million) as well as business development services such as marketing, financial and strategic management. 

The first call for the project was launched in November 2016 and supported 99 companies (36 business partnerships) for a total of over Rwf955 million. 

Joseph Niyibizi, a 60-year-old, got Rwf25 million from the project’s initial financing, which he says helped him grow his maize flour processing and trade.

Nyibizi, a resident of Save Sector, in Gisagara District, Southern Province, is the owner of Impamba Maize Company.

He said: “Before getting the funding, I used to process about two tonnes of flour per month. Now, I do about six tonnes per month as I revamped my processing unit, and I bought a car that helps in transportation of the produce,” he said.

“I am also able to win tenders to supply maize flour to schools, which is a good step in the progress of my business,” he said.

In addition to that, he said that he makes about 1.8 tonnes of animal feed for livestock, and farmers in his area have a ready market for their maize produce which he buys and adds value to.