KIGALI - THE Private Sector Federation (PSF), yesterday, launched this year’s Business Plan Competition (BPC) to facilitate start ups to access finance. And, with a target of supporting up to 100 businesses, every year, PSF says it receives more than 1,000 applicants.
The competition that was launched at Serena Hotel is supported by the World Bank’s Competitiveness and Enterprise Development project (CEDP).
“The BPC program has been successful since its inception with supported projects creating 520 permanent and over 1000 temporary jobs,” said Molly Rwigamba, the Chief Executive Officer of PSF.
The competition, that mainly targets the youth and fresh graduates, is designed to address unemployment and alleviate poverty in the country. It also helps boost the performance of the private sector which is considered to be a backbone of the country’s economy.
Rwigamba noted that with the support of CEDP, PSF was able to set up a guarantee fund worth US$900,000 in Rwanda Development Bank (BRD) to support start-ups.
Between 2004 and 2009, 80 projects have been supported through the US$200,000 start-up fund and four of them have already completed the payment of the total amount.
“Since the initial BPC program was successful, PSF came up with a project to support start-ups in the area of technical and vocational skills,” Rwigamba said, adding that technical and vocational skills have been the main focus due to lack of skilled labour in the private sector.
PSF also received from the Royal Kingdom of the Netherlands a grant of Euro 4.2 million to support the private sector develop technical and vocational skills and run internship programs.
“BPC is an opportunity that helps to develop Small and Medium Enterprises where the majority of the population is employed, hence developing our economy,” said Anastase Murekezi, the Minister of Public Service.
During yesterday’s launch, three businesses that successfully completed the payment of loans were awarded cash prizes amounting to US$10,000. These include Gahaya links that deals in handcraft export, Envirotech a bio-gas production company and International Marble.