MUSANZE-The Minister of Trade and Industry, Francois Kanimba yesterday urged the youth to take the lead in setting up business initiatives.
He made the call during the launch of a campaign dubbed ‘Hanga Umurimo’, literally translating; ‘Start Your Own Business’, in Musanze District.
According to the minister, the campaign is part of the government’s efforts to significantly boost the number of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the country to create 1.4 million jobs by 2020.
Kanimba, said youth and women endowed with entrepreneurial talents, as well as those running competitive and innovative enterprises, will be supported through guarantee funds for more capital and business plan development.
Under the programme, the best ten planned SMEs from each district will be forwarded to the Ministry of Commerce for screening to benefit from the guarantee fund and business plan development.
“We want to support a new generation of Rwandans with the desire to be innovative and competitive, the government wants to deal with the challenge of unemployment, to create graduates who are job creators, not seekers,” Kanimba emphasised.
He advised universities and secondary schools to redesign a syllabus that befits the new trend as a way of addressing the problem of unemployment.
The CEO of Business Development Fund-BDF, Innocent Bulindi, said the youth and women will be offered a 75 percent guarantee as they seek credit facilities from banking institutions.
300 new viable and bankable business plans will be developed and funded by March 2012, while 1,500 businesses will be funded by June 2012.
According to Emmanuel Hategeka, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, the selection criteria for the Hanga Umurimo competition, will include innovativeness, value addition, potential for job creation, as well as consideration among the top five district priority clusters.
Patrick Uwineza, 29, an emerging and innovative youth, and proprietor of Top 5 Sound, Art and Image Company, who started his business with a meagre Rwf7,000 testified that he has over the last seven years accumulated a capital of over Rwf 70 million.
He said he started his business as a photographer using a small manual camera, but now owns a state-of-the-art audio-visual studio.
The function was attended by the Minister of Youth, Jean Philbert Nsengimana, bank managers, SACCOs, youth and heads of various government institutions.