Players in the Rwandan creative industry have been invited to apply for the East Africa Creative Business Fund, a facility providing financing to the sector.
Heva Fund is a programme for regional creative economy which operates in the Eastern Africa region with continental and international networks.
The fund, which has been in existence since 2013, has financial models designed for the Eastern African creative economy, directly investing in more than 40 creative businesses and has supported over 8,000 creative practitioners in diverse ways.
Eligible firms could receive between $20,000 (about Rwf19M) and $50,000 (about Rwf48M) in debt investment to restructure interrupted supply chains, increase production capacity, and diversify offerings, increase market share, increase integration in local and regional value chains.
The funding could also go into supporting transition digital capabilities and take advantage of new opportunities.
The fund has about $380,000 to disburse to creative businesses registered and operational in five regional countries (Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia).
The fund managers said that eligible enterprises will be considered from all creative economy value chains including as fashion, crafts and handmade items, furnishings and decorative home, cultural tourism, creative and cultural education and cultural food and cuisine among others.
Others include cultural infrastructure, events, digital media, film and television; photography, music production and distribution.
Wakiuru Njuguna, Partner and Investment Manager at the fund said the in response to the challenges emerging from the pandemic, the initiative is among other things aimed at allowing the reopening of creative businesses, weather the shocks and find new growth possibilities and strategies
The fund intends to provide flexible, patient and cost-effective financing, to support the sector regain its dynamism, strengthen its supply chain, and introduce new products and services through innovation and digitization, she added.
"Together with our partners, we have designed this additional facility that will be available to creative businesses in the five countries in our region (Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Uganda and Rwanda), specifically to address some of the challenges businesses in the sector are currently experiencing," Njuguna said.
Applicants can make entries via the fund's website: http://www.hevafund.com/ea-fund
Stakeholders noted that the creative industry has yet to be tapped potential to contribute to regional GDP, lead to the emergence of youth-led creative enterprises, increase creative business ownership among other impacts.
The creative industry has been among the most adversely affected by the pandemic following the halting of non-essential movement and events.
In July a support initiative dubbed 'Cultural and Creative Industry (CCI) recovery plan' was launched in Rwanda, availing up to Rwf 300M to support the cultural and creative industry.
The initiative is a partnership between ArtRwanda -Ubuhanzi project, Imbuto Foundation, the Ministry of Youth and Culture, and the Rwanda Language Academy of Language and Culture (RALC).