The Government of Rwanda has mooted a plan of working with Business Development Fund (BDF) to support local-based textile and leather tanning firms to stimulate local production, minimize importation of second hand garments and eventual ban of the same.
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Francis Kanimba, said the government will tap into the services of BDF to support young entrepreneurs in Rwanda by financially empowering them.
“We are honored to have Business Development Fund. We are going to work with it so as to promote local entrepreneurs especially those involved in textile and leather tanning,” said Kanimba.
The plan was revealed at the official celebrations to mark the 5th anniversary of the company on September 16 at Kigali Marriot Hotel.
The event attracted leaders from various institutions that are partners with BDF, board members and beneficiaries of BDF products and services.
The minister encouraged the youth and other people in need of starting up their own businesses to approach BDF for support, saying this is one way the government can reduce the rate of unemployment in the country.
BDF, established in 2011 to facilitate small and medium enterprises to access finance, has in the past five years signed participation agreements with over 503 financial institutions, financed 23,411 businesses and created 145,222 jobs.
The BDF Chief Executive Officer, Innocent Bulindi said they will work more with the government to support government programs and attain the set targets such as those embedded in ‘Made in Rwanda campaign’ among others.
He also congratulated shareholders, partners and employees for the support and hard work that has seen the company through ‘‘this tough but fruitful journey’’.
Today, the company has supported 1,307 beneficiaries to access finance under Agriculture Guarantee Fund to a tune of Rwf 20.9billion and Rwf 15.9billion worth guarantee which has helped 3,257 businesses to access finance through its Small and Medium Enterprise Guarantee Fund.
One of beneficiaries of BDF services shared her testimony during the celebrations on how BDF gave her hope to implement her business idea.
In 2014 when Nkurikiye Solange thought of joining transportation business, she had no other hope to get funds for buying the 5 coasters until she approached BDF for collateral security to be advanced a loan from BRD.
“BDF granted me 75% of the collateral and I acquired 5 coasters. The 3 coasters started operating in Kimisagara and the other 2 in Kimironko,” she explains. She says for two years now in the business, she has a total of 15 coasters, built more knowledge on the business which many people think is only a reserve for men. The business has contributed a lot to her family and society.
“I have been able to support my husband build our family house which is about to be completed, thanks to the transportation business. Am glad am able to create jobs for the youth in our society working as drivers and conductors,” she concludes.