Bank of Kigali launched SME Center to serve Small and Medium Enterprises.  

Bank of Kigali launched SME Center to serve Small and Medium Enterprises.  

The SME Response Clinic spoke with Darius Mukunzi, Head of SME Banking at Bank of Kigali, about how the bank is currently serving small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Bank of Kigali is the largest commercial bank in Rwanda, serving more than 200,000 SMEs across the country. In July 2022, it launched the SME Center, a facility that provides tailored financial and advisory services to business owners looking to grow their enterprises.

To serve the segment, Bank of Kigali uses relationship managers and officers stationed at the SME Business Center and at each bank branch. These staff members are responsible for helping the bank to better understand SME customer needs, enabling Bank of Kigali to tweak products and services in line with those needs as they evolve in the market. Importantly, the Business and Credit departments within the SME Center work closely, which facilitates decision-making, thereby reducing the time it takes SME customers to obtain financial products from the bank.

Bank of Kigali also leverages government facilities to acquire new SME customers and provide loans to SMEs at favorable rates. The bank was involved in disbursing the government’s Renewable Energy Fund and is currently also participating in disbursing the Economic Recovery Fund (Hatana 2) and Export Growth Fund. Bank of Kigali is also working on a strategy to serve SMEs with non-financial services, planning to provide capacity building focused on topics like financial literacy for SMEs and taxation. The Non-financial services will also introduce Business Clubs and Supply Chain linkages in the near future.

Visit the Bank of Kigali’s SME Center in Kigali, CHIC Building, second floor, to learn more about the bank’s offer for the segment.


Are you an African tech start-up interested in training to make you investment-ready? Apply for the SAIS Investment Readiness Program before 31 October 2022

Are you an African tech start-up interested in training to make you investment-ready? Apply for the SAIS Investment Readiness Program before 31 October 2022

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), through its “Scaling Digital Agriculture Innovations through Start-up (SAIS)” project, invites applicants to the Investment Readiness Program (IRP). The SAIS Investment Readiness Programme (IRP) offers African tech start-ups from the agriculture, food, and livestock sectors a year-long tailor-made support program to make them investor ready and scale up their business.

The program seeks to support start-ups in agribusiness, agritech, animal farming, clean technology and energy, crop farming, e-commerce, edtech, fintech, food and beverage, food production, and logistics. Interested applicants must fulfill the following to apply:

  • Be registered and operating in Africa with a certificate of registration
  • Have a clear and convincing business model
  • Have a clear problem statement, digital solution, customer segment, and revenue stream
  • Have a founding member on a team of at least two people who work full time
  • Founding and management team should have entrepreneurial and technical experience in their area of operation
  • Must have a viable digital product that impacts customers’ incomes
  • Must have a product that has a positive impact on the African AgTech, FoodTech or livestock (vertical sectors that have an influence can be accepted like e-commerce, fintech, logistics and edtech
  • Must have launched digital products at least six months before the application period
  • Be able to demonstrate traction (customer base and revenue)

Participating start-ups will benefit from the following:

  • Access to online training (tailored)
  • Add-on: Programme for Female Leaders
  • Access to the GIZ network
  • Access to additional services
  • Integrating you into a local hub (optional)
  • Regular sessions of personalized coaching with local and international experts

To apply, visit: SAIS IRP Applications

 


Are you a start-up with innovative solutions to climate adaptation and resilience challenges? Apply for funding in the YouthAdaptations Solutions Challenge before 4 October 2022

Are you a start-up with innovative solutions to climate adaptation and resilience challenges? Apply for funding in the YouthAdaptations Solutions Challenge before 4 October 2022

The Global Center on Adaptation (GCA), in partnership with the African Development Bank (AfDB) and Climate Investment Funds (CIF), invites applicants to the Youth Adaptation Solutions Challenge program. (YouthADAPT Challenge). The Challenge is an annual competition and awards program for youth-led enterprises seeking to boost sustainable job creation through support for entrepreneurship and youth-led innovation in climate change adaptation and resilience across Africa.

In this edition of the Challenge, 20 innovators will emerge as winners at an award show and will have access to post-award support in the forms of:-

  • 100,000 USD grant for each winner
  • Capacity Building and Training
  • Mentorship and Coaching

Interested applicants should fulfill the following to apply

  • Be youth-led, with applicants aged between 18 and 35
  • Have innovations delivering climate adaptation or resilience solutions addressing real-life challenges
  • Be Legally registered and operating in Africa
  • Be able to show revenues for at least two years

Admissible solutions can represent:

  • An adaptation solutions business that has not been scaled and is not in widespread use
  • An existing resilience and adaptation solutions business or product
  • A commercially viable means to raise awareness or scale uptake of specific adaptation solutions.

To apply for the Challenge, visit: Applications


Are you a woman SME interested in scaling your business? Apply for VV GROW Fellowship before 18 October 2022

Are you a woman SME interested in scaling your business? Apply for VV GROW Fellowship before 18 October 2022

The Vital Voices Global Partnerships, a non-profit organization invites female applicants for the VV GROW Fellowship 2023 Global Accelerator program. The program is focused on supporting women-owned SMEs to sustainably increase their business’s impact in the world. The 10-month virtual program fosters growth and skills advancement in strategic planning, financial management, marketing and sales, strategic networking, leadership, human resources, and communications.

Through the program, participants will be offered the following benefits:

  • Support with strategic planning for growth
  • Access to a new network of peers and informal advisors
  • Official certification as a Vital Voices Grow Fellow
  • Access to the Vital Voices network of global women leaders

Interested applicants should fulfil the following criteria to apply:

  • Be a woman (inclusive of identities including cisgender women, transgender women and, non-binary people that are comfortable in a space that centres on experiences of women)
  • Have or lead a purpose-driven for-profit business offering innovative solutions to global challenges or to advance SDGs
  • Hold a key leadership and management position in the business with decision-making authority
  • Have a business that is beyond the start-up phase with a proven business model and product/service, and committed customer base
  • Business breaks even in terms of annual revenue
  • Have at least one full-time employee
  • Have proficiency in speaking and writing English

 

To apply, visit: VV Grow Fellowship Applications


Pitchfest

Are you an innovative start-up tech company interested in securing funding? Apply for the Hanga Pitchfest before 17 October 2022

Are you an innovative start-up tech company interested in securing funding? Apply for the Hanga Pitchfest before 17 October 2022

The Government of Rwanda led by the Ministry of ICT and Innovation and the Rwanda Development Board invites applicants for the second edition of the Hanga Pitchfest. The event brings together angel investors, tech company founders, private sector business leaders, and key players in the creative industry and academia. Hanga Pitchfest seeks tech-enabled start-ups or high-growth start-ups that demonstrate potential to scale up through the use of technology.

Building on last year’s Pitchfest, the 2022 edition aims to provide a unique platform for tech entrepreneurs and creative talents in Rwanda to showcase and promote the use of technology and innovation in Rwanda’s market. Participants are given a platform to network with potential investors and business partners.

Successful participants in the Hanga Pitchfest will win the following cash prizes:

  • USD 50, 000 for the top start-up
  • USD 12, 500 for four runners-up

To apply, visit: Hanga Pitchfest 2022


agri-SME

Are you an agri-SME interested in accessing finance? Apply for the AgriXcel Programme before 3 October 2022

Are you an agri-SME interested in accessing finance? Apply for the AgriXcel Programme before 3 October 2022

The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), in partnership with the African Management Institute (AMI) and Aceli Africa, invites applicants for the AgriXcel Programme. The programme is designed to support ambitious agri-SMEs by linking them to finance lenders and equipping them with practical tools and resources to improve their financial practices.

During the six month programme, participants will gain skills in making data-driven decisions and improving financial management using AMI Business, a financial tracking and analysis app, and implementing best practices for business growth, including financial analysis, leadership and governance, strategic business planning, customer management, markets, and streamlining operations. Participants will also gain linkages to financial service providers offering relevant financing as well as access peer learning and opportunities for collaboration.

Interested applicants must fulfill the following to apply:

  • Be based in Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, or Uganda and interested in finance in the next 6-12 months
  • Have generated revenue between USD 30,000 and USD 1,000,000 in the last financial year
  • Be operational for more than two years
  • Have at least two full-time employees
  • Be willing to participate online with access to a smartphone, laptop, and internet connection
  • Be willing to share financial/performance data as part of the financial goal tracking and analysis for finance readiness
  • Be agri-SMEs who buy/sell from small-scale farmers or SMEs involved in logistics, processing, and handling food crops produced by small-scale producers
  • Main participant must be the CEO, Managing Director, Owner, or Founder of the business; this person must be an active participant in the programme
  • Other participants must be senior leaders in the business capable of supporting the implementation of key practices
  • Women-owned businesses are highly encouraged to apply

To apply, visit: AgriXcel Programme Application


Are you an early-stage social entrepreneur interested in funding? Apply for the Roddenberry Foundation Catalyst Fund

Are you an early-stage social entrepreneur interested in funding? Apply for the Roddenberry Foundation Catalyst Fund

The Roddenberry Foundation invites innovators with early-stage ideas or projects addressing pressing global challenges to apply for the Foundation’s Catalyst Fund. The Fund will provide grants between USD 2500 and USD 15000 to projects or ideas demonstrating a high potential for lasting impact. Ideas or projects will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Innovative: Approaches or strategies that innovate on existing models — What are you building on? What other solutions already exist?
  • Community-based: You deeply understand the communities you work on behalf of and have a good understanding of their needs. How are they engaged in the process? How will they be able to maintain the solution over time?
  • High potential for impact: Does your solution address a  recognized issue that affects a significant percentage of people?
  • Sustainable: Experienced team and an intelligent strategy for driving change — Who and what is driving the change? Why is this the right team? What makes this the right strategic bet right now?

 

Candidates for the Fund can be individuals, non-profit organizations, or social entrepreneurs. Interested participants must fulfill the following criteria:

  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Submit the application in English
  • Include completed responses to all required application questions
  • Agree to all legal terms and conditions of the Catalyst Fund grant program
  • Be able to receive grant funding legally

To apply for the Fund, visit: Application for Catalyst Fund


youth

Are you an aspiring youth entrepreneur? Apply for the CCW Tech Africa Internship program before 31 August 2022

Are you an aspiring youth entrepreneur? Apply for the CCW Tech Africa Internship program before 31 August 2022

CCW Tech Africa, an initiative of CCW Technologies, invites applicants to the CCW Tech Africa Internship program for young Africans.  Through the program, successful applicants will have the chance to build skills in tech and entrepreneurship while also working on those soft skills that are key to running a business. Benefits include the following:

  • Hands-on practical classes, working on real-life projects with real companies
  • Mentorship from the program’s alumni
  • Soft skills development
  • Instructor-led training from experts in the industry
  • Access to internships offered on the basis of performance and commitment to the program

Interested applicants must fulfill the following to apply:

  • Be a youth citizen of an African country
  • Be between 18-35 years of age
  • Be able to understand and communicate in English
  • Commitment to fully complete the 6 weeks of the program

To apply for the program, visit: CCW Tech Africa Applications


woman entrepreneur

Are you a woman entrepreneur operating in the digital space and interested in growing your business? Apply for the eTrade Women Initiative Masterclass before 10 September 2022

Are you a woman entrepreneur operating in the digital space and interested in growing your business? Apply for the eTrade Women Initiative Masterclass before 10 September 2022

The eTrade for Women initiative led by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development invites participants for a Masterclass for women digital entrepreneurs. The Masterclass, which will be held in Lagos, Nigeria, is aimed at addressing the barriers women entrepreneurs face in leveraging business opportunities from digital technologies for growth. The Masterclass is organized in partnership with Damilola Olokesusi, Founder and CEO of Shuttlers and an Advocate for eTrade for Women.

Participants in the Masterclass will have an opportunity to engage with renowned business leaders and experts in their fields. The Masterclass will be a combination of inspirational talks, learning sessions, networking and policy dialogues. Interested applicants need to fulfil the following requirements:

  • Be a woman founder of an e-commerce business, or of a company that uses digital technologies as part of its business model
  • Have a business based in one of the following countries: Cameroon, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda
  • Have a track record of 2 to 5 years in this role
  • Have an intent to make a difference and impact your ecosystem

To apply for the Masterclass, visit: Applications


Apply for the CATAPULT Inclusion Africa Acceleration program before 15 September 2022

Apply for the CATAPULT Inclusion Africa Acceleration program before 15 September 2022

The LHoFT Foundation, a public-private sector initiative for the Inclusive Finance Network Luxembourg (InFiNe.lu), invites applicants to the Catapult Inclusion Africa Accelerator program. The program targets start-ups focusing on financial inclusion in Africa, aiming to build bridges with Luxembourg’s Microfinance Industry. The start-ups should also be aligned with the sustainability goals of Luxembourg’s finance centre.

Interested applicants are invited to apply for the 5th edition of the program, which will be held in Luxembourg from October 24-28, 2022. The acceleration program is a unique one-week boot camp supporting 10 selected fintech companies in Africa. The program covers a wide range of topics including:

  • Business model mapping
  • Scaling strategies
  • Investment readiness
  • Business plan presentation
  • Legal strategy
  • Pricing
  • Marketing strategy

Interested participants must fulfil the following criteria to apply

  • Selected firms will have, at least, a demonstrable Minimum Viable Product (“MVP”) and will likely be in the pre-seed to seed stage of funding.
  • Companies must be active in the financial inclusion field, helping underserved and unbanked populations in Africa get access to financial products and services.
  • Companies will submit all necessary information to the LHoFT in order to assess the viability of the project, company, background of owners and key shareholders to limit the risks of non-compliance or doubtful application to the program.
  • Companies must agree and shall provide ongoing performance metrics and business status for a period of three years post program completion to the LHoFT for the purposes of program evaluation.
  • The selected firm must guarantee that a founding team member, typically the CEO, will attend the program for the duration of the week.
  • We are particularly interested in hearing from firms in payments and related services.

The 10 successfully selected Fintechs from the one-week boot camp will have the opportunity to connect with partners, sponsors, investors, microfinance institutions, and public financial institutions as well as access to InFiNe.lu mentorship.

To apply for this program, visit: CATAPULT Applications