As a prelude to the publication of our Annual Report 2018-19, we feature from it a summary of our ongoing work supporting innovation and entrepreneurship with young survivors of the genocide agains the Tutsi in Rwanda, and other related vulnerable persons:
The Innovation Fund, which we set up in 2017, supported 3 innovative businesses working with AERG (National Student’s Association of Genocide Survivors) and GAERG (National Survivor’s Association of Graduates). Three businesses received capital investment of Rwf 22 million (£22,000). One of the businesses, Triple Investment Group, received venture funding of Rwf 12 million (£12,000) to buy new machines for maize flour production (as featured in the film below). From this GAERG has a 20% share in this business. The second business Yubeyi, an online marketplace that lets Rwandans sell their products over internet, has received a loan of Rwf 3 million (around £3,000) to improve their platform.
The third business, CARL Group, is made up of four young entrepreneurs who are processing orange-fleshed sweet potatoes (OFSP) and turning them into baked goods. This business received Rwf 7 million (£7,000) to scale up their business.
The Innovation Fund approach builds confidence, innovation and creativity – all traits that are desperately needed and lacking in the Rwandan job market. However, skills alone are not enough to foster larger-scale business development. As such, many young survivors are unable to access capital or support that would enable them to scale their business ideas, generate greater employment, or prepare their products for export. The AERG/GAERG Innovation Fund is supporting and empowering entrepreneurs to broaden their skills and access investment funding that will be used to scale up their businesses.
At the same time, we worked with Urwego Bank on setting up a Loan Guarantee Fund (LGF) scheme of Rwf 10 million (£10,000) which has awarded loans to 13 businesses of youth which have completed our Youth Entrepreneurship Training Programme (YETP) and have good business plans. The current repayment of the loans is recorded at 72%. This LGF will be a revolving fund which will support more youth who have strong business plans but who are unable to start their businesses due to lack of capital.
A new Trust Fund has been established by GAERG and SURF to support young Survivors of Genocide and other vulnerable youth to start and grow their businesses