The International Finance Corporation (IFC)’s Rwanda Entrepreneurship Development Programme (REDP), has completed a training programme designed to help Rwanda’s Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) become more productive, competitive and sustainable.
The Training of Trainers (TOTs) that was concluded recently was meant to give management skills to owners and managers of smaller businesses in Rwanda.
The 20 trainers were last week certified at a dinner attended by business leaders, government officials, and representatives from development agencies and small business owners.
Their certification follows a similar workshop conducted by IFC in April to train trainers on complementary computer –based learning program, the SME Toolkit.
“Smaller businesses constitute a large proportion of Rwanda’s private sector and supporting them to expand and thrive is an important part of our work at IFC,” said Ignace Bacyaha, IFC’s REDP manager on Thursday, at the dinner held at Mille Colline.
He also observed that the IFC has partnered with Rwanda’s Private Sector Federation (PSF) to reach as many businesses as possible. The five day training session is designed to enhance the management and operational skills of business owners.
“It is important that SMEs continue to be strengthened as they form the back bone of the economy. They provide employment and contribute to the tax revenue although it is still small,” said the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of PSF, Emmanuel Hategeka.
Hategaka observed that capacity building is still a major issue in the private sector, limiting their capacity to compete not only on the domestic market but regional markets.
“This explains why Rwanda is a net importer of almost all the consumer goods including toothpicks,”
He noted that SMEs continue to face challenges related to low levels of entrepreneurial culture, enterprise centred as opposed to business centred approach, unstructured environment within which SMEs operate.
“The challenge is still huge as there are other areas that also need to be tackled to boost the capacity of SMEs.” he said citing supply side related constraints, customer care and the attitude of doing business.
Over 90 percent of businesses in the country are categorised as Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). The two products namely, the Business Edge and SME Toolkit are SMEs capacity building solutions developed are by IFC.