Stanbic extends loans to SMEs as Incubator program ends


HarareStanbic Bank’s Rise Above Incubator Programme for Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) has come full circle with three start-ups poised to receive business loans of varying amounts after coming up tops during the three-month exercise.

The three were part of a group of 15 SMEs drawn from various sectors of the economy who underwent a three-month intensive training and capacitation programme.

The Rise Above Incubator Programme identified start-up entrepreneurs and took them through a three-month training exercise on how to run a business efficiently and contribute to national employment and economic growth targets.

Location intelligence company, Injector Analytics; manufacturer of solar compatible induction cookers, Green Orange Renewable Power Technologies (GOPT) Appliances; and construction and hardware products supplier, Rubicon were first, second and third respectively after the intensive three-month training programme.

Injector Analytics, GOPT Appliances and Rubicon excelled significantly above the rest during the programme and were duly awarded winners after a thorough adjudication exercise.

The three start-ups are now poised to secure loans from leading financial services institution Stanbic Bank which was running the programme as part of its commitment to uplift SMEs and steer them to become sustainable operations.

Stanbic Bank Head of Enterprise Banking, Auxilia Kambasha said the institution will now work on assisting the three enterprises with a view of capacitating them in their different areas of needs.

“The 15 enterprises went through a comprehensive training programme that included modules on financial literacy, managing personal funds and how to run a business properly. We are confident that the three winners are now in a position to utilize the funds diligently enough to not only pay back but get a meaningful return on their investments,” said Kambasha.

Kambasha said 598 applicants from all sectors across the country responded to the call for applications when the programme was launched in February, culminating in the 15 being selected to undergo the three-month training programme.

“There is so much potential in the small to medium enterprises sector and this programme is helping us to hand hold them and shepherd them through the early stages of their operations. Stanbic Bank is partnering them for growth and there is scope to do more similar programmes,” said Kambasha.

She said the programme helped Stanbic Bank have a better understanding of the SME’s needs, enabling the institution to tailor make initiatives that effectively solve the challenges they face.

“The programme helped us immerse ourselves in the world of start-ups and this will help us structure solutions that meet the needs of the various enterprises. Their needs are diverse, and we learnt a lot from our interactions with them during the training programme,” said Kambasha.

Injector Analytics representative Tinashe Melvin Mpofu said they were delighted to have come first ahead of 14 other highly innovative enterprises.

Mpofu said the training programme was an eye opener as it gave them broader perspective of how a business is run.

“We are so grateful to Stanbic Bank for this life-changing opportunity. We were equipped with information about how a proper business operates and how to put proper operational systems in place. We had a narrow view of just concentrating on the product, but we are now equipped with how to attend to other key issues such as value proposition and other structures. We now have a 360-degree view of how a business is run,” said Mpofu.

GOPT Appliances founder, Bernadette Tuso said the programme afforded beneficiaries a holistic picture of how a business is run touching on areas such as human resources, accounting and finance as well as marketing.

Tuso commended the caliber of facilitators, adding that even if she had not been one of the top three winners, she was still going to grow her business due to the invaluable lessons she learnt during the programme.

“The programme was so enlightening so much that there is a consensus from all participants that our businesses are going to grow significantly.  Stanbic brought in qualified technicians who taught us the different aspects of running a business,” said Tuso.

Rubicon founder Farai Musendo said it was fitting that the training took place during the introduction of the ZiG currency as the entrepreneurs were taught how to operate under the ever-changing economic environment.

 The incubation programme covered topics such as Business models & Feasibility Analysis; Needs assessment; Legal and Governance and Business financials.

Participants were equipped with information on how to deliver value to their customers whilst being profitable enterprises as well as be helped to ensure their business model is adaptive to the business environment among many other lessons.

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