This is according to Jean-Claude Mutajogire, Country Manager, BPI Rwanda who reports that in the last decade alone, their company has approved more than US$33 million in business finance to Rwandan SMEs.
“We are honoured to have managed in positioning ourselves as a true value-adding financier to small and medium business owners in the country. Our company has not only approved more than US $33 million to 113 local businesses, but we have also succeeded in supporting the creation of jobs in excess 8,858,” says Mr. Mutajogire.
This is no small feat for a company, which only began operations in 2012. BPI Rwanda has been helping business owners overcome one of the most common entrepreneurial challenges facing SMEs today, not only in Rwanda, but in many countries in Africa – access to finance. The company not only provides financing to viable businesses that may find it difficult to access capital from traditional financial institutions but sectoral technical expertise and mentorship as well.
Such an approach to financing SMEs is the core of the BPI funding model across Africa and is premised on the belief that SMEs need more than just money to thrive.
Mr. Mutajogire says the company is committed to continue providing financing and technical assistance (TA) support to SMEs, so as to contribute towards increasing entrepreneurship in Rwanda, and real wealth and job creation. BPI Rwanda provides business finance from RWF 98 million to RWF 980 million to established businesses.
“Over the last 10 years, we have had success in our areas of focus. We have managed to provide financial and TA support to businesses in most sectors of the economy, especially to those that have a huge impact on the economy, those that generate jobs and those that reduce imports and or increase exports,” Mr. Mutajogire adds.
Technical Assistance is a programme that BPI Rwanda runs alongside the application of funding, through which the company builds the capacity of business owners and equips them with the skills needed to run a business successfully. So far, the company has offered Technical Assistance to 32 businesses at a cost of US $677,824.
Mr. Mutajogire attributes the above successes to the company’s impressive engagement with clients and their quick turnaround when reviewing applications.
Unlike their male counterparts, women in business face a unique set of challenges. This ranges from lack of or limited funding opportunities to lack of collateral needed to support their funding applications. Numerous studies show that women-owned businesses struggle to raise capital for their businesses more than their male counterparts.
“It is for this reason that we have put special measures in place to help women gain a foot forward. BPI Rwanda has paid special focus on women-led businesses and to date, the company has supported 37 businesses led by women to the tune of US $10,264,970,” reports BPI Chief Executive Officer, Mark Paper.
Buoyed by its impressive track record, the company is optimistic about scaling its achievements in the next decade and beyond.
Mr. Paper says BPI Rwanda will continue to empower entrepreneurs to build sustainable businesses that contribute to an inclusive and equitable society.
“We will achieve this by expanding on our existing operations, increasing our footprint in Rwanda and doubling up our efforts to place more finance in the hands of SMEs. We will continue to pay particular focus on gender-equality investment in support of Rwanda’s growing Woman Owned Enterprises,” adds Mr. Paper.
BPI Rwanda plans to align its operations with Rwanda’s Vision 2050 and the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS) which are geared to enable Rwanda to become an upper middle-income country by 2035.
“We are happy to have achieved the 10-year milestone and I am optimistic that the company will continue to support business owners to run scalable businesses over the next decade and beyond,” concludes Mr. Mutajogire.
About Business Partners International
Business Partners International is a specialist risk finance company for formal small and medium owner-managed businesses in Rwanda and select African countries.
The company actively supports entrepreneurial growth by providing financing from RWF 100M to RWF 1B, specialist sectoral knowledge and added-value services for viable small and medium businesses.
Since establishment, Business Partners International has provided business finance worth over US$137,9 million in 580 transactions facilitating over 42, 847 jobs.
Visit www.businesspartners.africa for more information.