The visit follows an agreement between Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and Belgium-based Ondernemers Voor Ondernemers (OVO) in which the latter committed to helping eight local start-ups to raise 50,000 Euros or Rwf61.2 million in investment capital.
The Belgians are keen on supporting local entrepreneurs in capacity building and networking as well as how to form business clubs and joint venture Investment.
Comprised of students, investors, university professors and angel investors, the Belgian delegation says it aims to position the selected businesses to be ready for external financing.
One of OVO’s funding options is debt. Björn Macauter, the General Manager of OVO, says their loans attract an interest rate of 7 per cent, below the rate for local commercial banks.
“We don’t only give access to finance, we also provide business support with a team of more than 100 business coaches, it is a combination of a loan and technical support,” he said.
According to Chris Vijt, one of the delegates, entrepreneurs are motivated to economically progress. “We are coaching them with the purpose that they can get a loan and scale-up,” she said, emphasising that startups need to grow and operate on a bigger scale.
Esther Kamikazi is the Managing Director at Greenpack Ltd said, which produces environmentally friendly packaging materials and is also involved in food processing. She says that in addition to access to finance, they are also benefiting from OVO’s business skills.