HUYE — Varsity students have been called upon to play an active role in formulating income-generating projects in Southern and Eastern Province if they are to break the cycle of dependence on government for employment opportunities, officials from business development services has said.
Speaking at the official launch of this year’s business plan competitions in the district, officials from the service under the private sector federation revealed that this year’s competition comes with some changes.
“Initially, 100 projects will be selected to enter the competition. These will be assessed after which 50 best projects will receive funding,” said Lukas Murenzi, the director of BDS in the province.
Murenzi said that the system of funding of projects has had some adjustments in that winning projects will be funded to a tune of Frw10 million and more to be $2000 (approximately Frw1 million) given in technical assistance.
As opposed to the former system, the Frw10 million will be repaid with interest of between 12 – 13 percent. The interest rate has been reduced from a previous 16 per cent.
“These changes have been occasioned by the need for sustainability of the programme.
If we used the same amount using the old procedure, the programme would only resist for two years and not more than 20 projects would benefit,” said Murenzi.
Silvestre Bigirabagabo, an official in charge of administration and finance said that a guarantee fund had been set up in the Rwanda Development Bank to cater for any uncertainty.
A team from the bank will monitor and evaluate different projects in partnership with BDS.
Bigirabagabo called upon students to put there ideas on paper as the problem of collateral security has been solved.
“Students have always complained of the lack of collateral security to access bank loans. Here now is an opportunity not only to get money with no collateral security but also pay at a low interest rate.
All you need is to put your thoughts on paper and then compete,” said Bigirabagabo.
The best 100 business ideas chosen will be transformed into business plans with the assistance from BDS after which 50 best business plans will be selected from the whole country for funding.
The Business Plan Competition is an initiative of the Private Sector Federation in collaboration with the Government of Rwanda and the World Bank through the Competitiveness and entrepreneurship Development Programme.
The BPC programme focuses on young and start-up entrepreneurs with innovation and profitable business ideas. It seeks to promote entrepreneurship as a means to achieving the vision 2020.