Following government’s termination of the William Davidson Institute (WDI) contract with the School of Finance and Banking (SFB), the Women’s Entrepreneurship Scholarship Programme now hangs in the balance.
The two scholarship programmes; certificate entrepreneurship for women and a full Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree for female students, are sponsored by Goldman Sachs, a global banking firm.
The certificate programme which aims to assist 10,000 women entrepreneurs, around the globe in entrepreneurial skills was reviewed to meet specific needs of women entrepreneurs focusing on the underprivileged but qualified regardless of age.
In Rwanda, the programme takes 60 candidates in two groups annually. Under the degree programme, Goldman Sachs also sponsors 15 women every year for a full Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree programme at SFB.
Apparently, there are 30 students in the first and second year. The sponsorship was through a partnership with WDI.
Now that the deal has been terminated, the decision of whether or not women entrepreneurs and the underprivileged female students will continue to be sponsored at SFB is still uncertain.
According to the SFB Vice Rector in charge of Academics, Prof. Erasmas Kaijage, the impact of this termination on some SFB programmes is yet to be decided.
“We are yet to meet with necessary authorities and discuss the consequences of this termination. However, right now nothing is certain in relation to these programmes,” he explained to The New Times in a phone interview.
A comment from the Minister of Education could not be obtained as she could not answer her phone, while the SFB Rector, Prof. Krishna Govender declined to comment.
The tension comes at a time when the second group of students has just enrolled, following the graduation of 29 women in entrepreneurial skills last month at SFB.
Seven of the graduates presented the best business plans. The first two were awarded US$2,500 each while the rest won US$1,000.
In regard to these programmes, Thérèse Bibonobono, the Director of the Chamber of Women Entrepreneurs, in the Private Sector Federation (PSF), allayed the fears saying that the women sponsorship programme may not be affected although WDI’s deal was terminated.
“WDI, a partner, may be out of this contract but we expect Goldman Sachs to continue sponsoring the programme. Certainly these women will not be affected at all¸” she stressed.
WDI had been assigned to run SFB on behalf of the government for a period of five years from 2006 to 2011. The termination was earlier explained to have been caused by budgetary constraints.