The Mastercard Foundation’ Komeza program is gaining momentum and Rwanda, the fastest growing economy in East Africa, is not about to be left behind.
Equity Bank of Rwanda as announced that it will be partnering with Rwanda’s Entrepreneurial Solutions Partners (ESP) under the Komeza program to stimulate recovery from the negative effects of Covid-19.
Komeza is the brainchild of Entrepreneurial Solutions Partners (ESP) which has won support of Mastercard’s ongoing USD2.5 million MasterCard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program. The Mastercard program is designed to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) specifically in the Tourism and Hospitality sector.
Under the program, with Equity Bank Rwanda PLC as the financing partner, ESP will provide both financial support and technical assistance to 120 SMEs that operate within the Tourism and Hospitality sector.
Over the next year, the Komeza program will provide technical assistance and financing of up to USD50000 to each qualifying SME.
“Incubation support will be provided to 60 start-ups through ESP’s Tourism Inc program and 50 established SMEs will benefit from an accelerator program. A further 10 businesses will be selected for the program through a special innovation stream that will focus on building and financing growth plans to increase their resilience and mitigate the impact of the crisis,” details Charity Kabango ESP, Co-Founder and Director.
“At ESP, our programs are built to deploy the right mix of technical tools and financing to support entrepreneurs on their journey to sustainability. We understand the challenges faced by entrepreneurs and have designed the Komeza program to help them navigate this pandemic while continuing to grow their business,” she told local media.
In her comments, Rica Rwigamba, the Mastercard Foundation Country Head, Rwanda, said the Mastercard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program will expand access to financial services for micro, small, and medium enterprises, so that businesses can withstand the economic effects of the pandemic.
“It will be a long road for entrepreneurs as they fight to recover from the COVID-19 crisis. We are committed to supporting them every step of the way with the tools and resources they need to stay in business. We believe that the right combination of financial support and technical assistance will be key to helping these entrepreneurs, not only survive the crisis, but thrive beyond it and emerge resilient,” she added.
As for Equity Bank Rwanda, Managing Director, Hannington Namara, expressed great enthusiasm in the program, “…we will continue to offer competitive financing solutions, with a dedicated and qualified team to support businesses for resilience and growth.”
Commenting on the program and its potential to support domestic tourism, the Rwanda Development Board’s Chief Tourism Officer, Belise Kariza said, “Rwanda’s tourism industry is adapting to create a safe environment for travelers and operators.”
Kariza went on to comment on the reopening of tourism activities in the country and the scheduled resuming of commercial flights on August 1st.
He went on to commit government support saying “…the Government of Rwanda is committed to supporting private sector growth in the middle to long term.”