The SME owners were yesterday sharing experiences during a consultative meeting that brought together officials from the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MINICOM), SMEs representatives, Financial Institutions and other institutions working with SMEs development, to discuss how they could addres all challenges to pave way for vibrant SMEs development.
Dieudonné Twahirwa, the founder of Gashora Farm Ltd, an enterprise that exports chili pepper said that there are many financial institutions in Rwanda, but it takes long time for business owners to be given loans.
“The most challenging aspect is bureaucracy along the way to loan acquisition; finding time to process it while working is so much tiresome. As new businesses commence operations, few employees are on board and so the proprietor has to handle everything including the processing of loans. It can even take you more than a year to get loan,” he said.
He said that some people start to process loans to use as start-up capital, but, when it takes them long time they finally suspend implementation of their business ideas.
However, Financial Services providers claim that some business owners lack relevant information and skills about implementation of their business ideas.
The Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Finance Expert at Access to Finance Rwanda, Jean Bosco Iyacu said that business owners need to present bankable ideas, backed with good business plans supported bygood management.
“There are some projects that are vague, businesses with internal management problem; some of these businesses do not even have book entries for inflow and outflow transactions. So they don’t have supporting documents which can help them convince financial institutions to provide them with loans” he said.
The Entrepreneurship Development Policy Specialist at MINICOM, Germain Niyomutabazi said that through the meeting they will be able to find measures that will help them remove loan access barriers.
“We have found that access to finance is still a challenge among many businesses. We are going to take measures that will help the government introduce good programmes to end such problems. Resolutions from this meeting will help address some of the challenges identified and forge the way forward,” he said.