The Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth has confirmed its commitment to a grant of up to USD1 million over three years to support the growth of small business owners in Rwanda.
The company has partnered with the African Entrepreneur Collective (AEC), locally known as Inkomoko in Rwanda to ensure a successful rollout of the first phase.
Inkomoko is famous for developing and grooming entrepreneurs in industries such as technology, agriculture and energy – three of East Africa’s biggest and fastest growing sectors, and priorities in Rwanda.
Mastercard’s commitment is in line with driving poverty out of Rwanda through job creation, ensuring gender equality through equal access to opportunities, and delivering decent work prospects which will enable economic growth.
Entrepreneurs and small business owners are key drivers of the local economy – currently making up 97.8 percent of the private sector in the country.
Inkomoko’s one-year programme removes the barriers local entrepreneurs face in the areas of skills development, networks, and financing, through providing mentoring, technical support, capacity building, and direct access to affordable capital.
The grant will benefit both Rwandan Nationals and some refugees who have stepped up to start businesses.
With a large population of refugees, the role of private and public partnerships remains crucial to the inclusive growth and development of all those displaced.
Mastercard, together with the African Entrepreneur Collective, has committed to assisting entrepreneurs in Rwanda regardless of their circumstances, a vision shared and driven by the Rwandan government.
“Connecting entrepreneurs, especially women and refugees, to the networks that power the modern world – like financial services – unlocks their economic potential and accelerates a cycle of equitable and sustainable economic growth,” Shamina Singh, President of the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth reportedly said.
The Inkomoko entrepreneurship programme aims to restore the dignity of refugees living in Rwanda by empowering these small business owners with vital support to grow their businesses. The programme will work with 4,000 refugees in Rwanda over the next three years.