The New Times (Kigali)

14 August 2012

Rwanda: Domestic Entrepreneurs Advised On Mindset

Prospective local entrepreneurs have been urged to focus on opportunities rather than being wary of constraints.

Chris Bradford, Founder and Dean African leadership Academy told business times that; "Entrepreneurship can be done at any level of education, what young people need is to see in themselves opportunities to start their own businesses not just complaining of startup capital."

Local entrepreneurs constantly complain about lack of access to start-up capital as one of the major obstacles to growth of small businesses.

Bradford says entrepreneurship is the engine of the economic growth and development. Therefore efforts to change the attitude of entrepreneurs especially the young would spur growth.

"It is not the government to create jobs for the youth, it is the youth that have to create jobs and employ other youths," he added.

Jessica Muganza, Chief Executive Officer of Umuzi Project believes that using the need based approach to tackle the issues of mindset would help build a stronger entrepreneurship needed to promote private sector growth.

"We have to go deep into the root causes of such mindset by creating need based entrepreneurship and see how we nurture young people into starting their own businesses," she noted

She added that efforts to train and nurture students in secondary schools to start thinking of starting their businesses are underway.

"We want to help them to get rid of the thinking that they cannot start up businesses at early age."

Michel Mfashingabo, a student says access to credit will still be a challenge to most youth as most financial institutions do not trust businesses started by the youth. Yet the youth cannot raise start-up on their own.

"Money is not a major issue in starting businesses, you need to start small with the little you have and you don't get the thirst of earning much profit in the beginning," says Sina Gerrald, the Proprietor of Urwibutso Enterprise.

He notes that innovation and creativity would help entrepreneurs grow stronger and unique businesses that would quickly bring out returns.

In an effort to boost the private sector government set up a guarantee fund through Business Development Fund (BDF) to support small enterprises to access credit from financial institutions.

With the recent initiatives to train entrepreneurs on business plan and financial management, most banks increased their lending to SME sector which saw the sector taking 17 per cent of the country's loan portfolio.

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