Enhancing your Business Management Skills as Rwanda Reopens for Business 

Enhancing your Business Management Skills as Rwanda Reopens for Business 

February 18th, 2021, at 3 pm CAT 

Join the SME Response Clinic for a live discussion featuring business development services providers in Rwanda. Learn about opportunities to enhance your management skills as Rwanda reopens for business. The discussion will be hosted on the SME Response Clinic’s Facebook page on February 18th at 3 pm CAT and held primarily in Kinyarwanda.  

Moderator: Eric Musizana, Agriculture & Rural Finance Project Officer, Access to Finance Rwanda  


  • Dr. Mukulira Olivier, Managing Director at the Rwanda Institute of Cooperatives, Entrepreneurship, and Microfinance  
  • Sarah Mukunde, Senior Manager, Westerwelle Startup Haus Kigali  
  • Malik Shaffy LizindeCountry Manager, African Management Institute  


Please note that the Livestream will not be available until 3 pm CAT on February 18th, 2021

Giselle Mukanyandwi, a Business Development Advisor, to learn how she prepares entrepreneurs to overcome hardships and thrive

This video was originally posted on the SME Response Clinic. Giselle Mukanyandwi, a Business Development Advisor, to learn how she prepares entrepreneurs to overcome hardships and thrive.

Muhimpundu Jacqueline, an Entrepreneur in Rwanda, explains her challenges with the pandemic and how she managed to overcome them

This video was originally posted on the SME Response Clinic. Muhimpundu Jacqueline, an Entrepreneur in Rwanda, to understand the challenges she faced due the pandemic and how she managed to overcome them.

Supporting Women Entrepreneurs

The Stanbic Business Incubator enables women entrepreneurs to reach their full potential as business owners

By Ana Singh, Communications & Marketing Manager at ConsumerCentriX
 ConsumerCentriX works closely with Stanbic Bank Uganda on both the COVID-19 Business Info Hub and the Stanbic Business Incubator. This article originally appeared on the COVID-19 Business Info Hub.

Through business development services, training, networking events, and mentoring, the Stanbic Business Incubator offers an enabling ecosystem for entrepreneurs to protect and grow their businesses. The incubator also provides participants with opportunities to engage with subject matter experts and access markets and finance. By joining the Stanbic Business Incubator, women entrepreneurs can take advantage of opportunities that they may have not otherwise had.

Hudah Tamale is no stranger to pivoting. When she began her business in 2015, she thought she could make money selling cakes. To attract new customers, she started offering herbal teas as a marketing strategy. However, she soon found herself becoming more excited over her tea products. After recognizing where her true passion lay, she shifted her business strategy and started focusing entirely on selling tea.

When the COVID-19 lockdown began, Tamale found herself needing to pivot her business, Nash Royal Tea, again. With social distancing measures in place, she needed to rely more heavily on digital marketing strategies. Luckily, she had already learned many of the skills that she would need through the Stanbic Business Incubator.

Today, she has a digital marketing strategy incorporated into her business plans and maintains an active online presence that has helped her through the pandemic. For women entrepreneurs struggling, she stresses the importance of digitizing. “If you don’t have an online presence right now, you are almost nonexistent in business right now,” she warned.

Women entrepreneurs in Uganda and worldwide have had to face a rapidly changing business environment while still taking care of their children full-time once the schools closed. Even in regular times, women entrepreneurs face well-documented barriers that prevent them from reaching their full potential. Men are more likely to have the right information, training, and guidance to inform their dealings with financial institutions and plan effectively for their businesses in the long-term.

Through business development services, training, networking events, and mentoring, the Stanbic Business Incubator offers an enabling ecosystem for entrepreneurs to protect and grow their businesses. The incubator also provides participants with opportunities to engage with subject matter experts and access markets and finance. By joining the Stanbic Business Incubator, women entrepreneurs can take advantage of opportunities that they may have not otherwise had.

“Women entrepreneurs are a great resource to this country from our training we have come to realize that women play a very vital role in how enterprises are run and how enterprises are actually sustained over a long period of time. Our commitment to the support of women especially the women entrepreneurs is one that we cannot deviate from. We have for a long time decided to have a quota set for women entrepreneurs to be able to see them participate and enjoy the benefits of our training program. our commitment, therefore, is not a one-off intervention. Many women have been part of this whole story especially after the realization that the lockdown or COVID was going to impact many businesses for a long time. We’re certain that we can be very much in partnership with a lot of women entrepreneurs to scale them to further their dreams.”  said Tony Otoa, Executive Director, Stanbic Business Incubator Limited.

Meet Rachel Lubega

When she heard about the incubator from a friend, Rachel Lubega had already co-owned her corporate event business, Quality Management Services LTD, for 18 years. However, despite the longevity of her business, she believed she still had room to grow. “I felt excited because I love learning, getting training, and gaining new skills,” she said.

As part of the training, she joined a cohort of service providers that included some of her competitors. Through networking and personal bonding, she began to see her competition as potential business partner. “We even were able to get business together. It was great having to create that kind of relationship with our competitors,” she added.

Not only was she able to create business opportunities through networking, but she became more adept at auditing, bookkeeping, and digital marketing. To the benefit of her business, she transferred many of these new skills she was learning to her employees.

Like Tamale, Lubega found particular value in the seminars on digital marketing. “At the time, we had the website, but it wasn’t very active. But now I know the importance of having an active website.” She added that implementing digital strategies and maintaining a web presence has made a beneficial difference for her business during the pandemic.

As businesses across Uganda adjust to the “new normal”, so has the Stanbic Business Incubator. “We have had to rethink our program, going away from the typical classroom lecture mode into online tutorials and lectures,” said Otoa in a recent interview. He added that the shift made entrepreneurs hopeful because of a shared need for information on financial management, governance, and other issues critical to business survival in an economic downturn.

Participants are still able to network at the Incubator even though the classes are online.

“They introduce themselves at the start of every session and are given provision to state what each of their businesses is about, share experiences, and share their contact information with other participants,” said Nadia Ayaa, Program Coordinator, Stanbic Business Incubator Limited.

The switch from a classroom setting to online tutorials also creates more flexibility for women entrepreneurs, who often balance household responsibilities and business ventures. Instead of going to a classroom, they can access the training at the comfort of their home or office.

For more information about the Stanbic Business Incubator Limited, please call
0312 226 700

Women-led SMEs

PUBLICATION | Non-Financial Services: The Key to Unlocking the Growth Potential of Women-led Small and Medium Enterprises for Banks

Non-Financial Services: The Key to Unlocking the Growth Potential of Women-led Small and Medium Enterprises for Banks


Women-led small and medium enterprises (WSMEs) represent a great opportunity to banks: women own 34 percent of private businesses globally, including almost six million formal SMEs in the developing world. Yet WSMEs’ enormous potential remains largely untapped due to systemic barriers facing women-led enterprises globally.  Providing nonfinancial services (NFS) alongside finance is an effective means for financial institutions to tap into the enormous potential of women-led enterprises.

In collaboration with IFC and FMO, ConsumerCentriX is proud to announce the release of the publication “Non-Financial Services: The Key to Unlocking the Growth Potential of Women-led Small and Medium Enterprises for Banks.”

Based on newly minted research, this publication examines the benefits to banks of integrating NFS that can help mitigate these barriers into a women-focused SME banking proposition. As part of the study, ConsumerCentriX surveyed 34 banks worldwide on their approach to and measurement of nonfinancial services, with a focus on their offerings to businesses owned by women.

KCB Bank: Focusing on Women SMEs and non-financial services is a win-win for all

Non-financial services were instrumental in growing Patricia Mwangi’s business in Kenya

NFS from her bank helped Wanjiru Mbugua turn a side hustle into a thriving business

Intensive analysis of five SME banking models, in addition to the survey results, previously published case studies, and other resources, found that well-integrated NFS offers for WSMEs yield positive return on investment (ROI) within one to two years. This is demonstrated through four key metrics: increased interest income; share of wallet, which includes cross-sell, deposit volume and fee income, including fees charged for NFS participation; loyalty; and reduced risk.

The publication also identifies four best practices in design and execution of WSME-focused NFS, which banks looking to capitalize on this opportunity can follow:

  1. Tailor the proposition to the needs and profiles of different customer segments
  2. Provide an integrated, one-stop experience for financial and non-financial services
  3. Build institutional alignment to drive results
  4. Integrate measurement into program design and delivery

Alongside Cathleen Tobin, ConsumerCentrix’s Anna Gincherman and Benedikt Wahler served as primary authors to the report. Their efforts were supported by the broader ConsumerCentriX team, including Istvan Szepesy and Dora Solymos for data analytics and Ana Singh for video production and report design. “We hope that key insights from the report will encourage banks to expand their value propositions for women enterprises and invest in strengthening NFS ecosystems for WSMEs,” said Gincherman.

needs of SMEs in Uganda

COVID-19: Challenges, coping mechanisms, and urgent needs of SMEs in Uganda

By Alejandra Rios

ConsumerCentriX recently interviewed entrepreneurs in Kampala, to learn about their current challenges, coping mechanisms, and urgent needs in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Below are some highlights from those conversations.

Local measures impacted most entrepreneurs

  • Lockdown, shutdown, and social distancing are top of mind measures for all entrepreneurs. The direct consequences of these measures include a drastic decline in daily sales, an increase in the price of goods, and a reduction in the supply of those goods, which has resulted in loss of revenue for most.
  • The reduction in revenue has additional consequences, including difficulties to pay business rent, bank loans, suppliers, employee salaries, and family expenses.
  • COVID-19 has affected the entire value chain, from suppliers being unable to deliver on existing orders or contracts due to logistical challenges to wholesalers and retailers that stocked up when the pandemic was first announced, and now many are suffering for not generating enough income to pay back to suppliers.

SMEs’s coping strategies

  • SMEs in Uganda are using a variety of different strategies to avoid permanent closure, including keeping in close contact with suppliers, placing and accepting orders via phone, delivering products by motorcycle, and even using their personal Facebook accounts to market their products or services.
  • Other SME owners have downsized, temporarily closed, reduced the number of employees or laid off employees. They stopped stocking up general goods, and have instead focused on stocking fast-moving goods. A number of them based in Kampala have also decided to send their families to their home villages to work in agriculture as a way of diversifying income and reducing family expenses.
  • Some are also suspending payments on bank loans or withdrawing funds from their savings accounts (in many cases, these funds were meant to pay for school fees) to save their businesses from being evicted.

What  SMEs urgently need

  • To survive this crisis, SMEs need urgent flexible and affordable financing and non-financial support to help them to become more resilient and adapt to the new market conditions.
  • While optimistic by nature, entrepreneurs would benefit from building their skills in things like how to keep in touch and negotiate with their suppliers; how to communicate with and deliver to their customers; how to digitalize their businesses; and how to manage their operational expenses such as employee salaries. An equally important topic would center around how to keep mental well-being in these times of crisis.

Meet the Business Info Hub

In this context, ConsumerCentriX in partnership with Stanbic Bank recently launched the COVID 19 Business Info Hub, a platform designed to help entrepreneurs navigate the changing environment.

The Business Info Hub provides entrepreneurs with insights and tools to better manage their businesses.  In partnership with the African Management Institute (AMI), entrepreneurs can also access a suite of programs through their COVID-19 Business Survival Bootcamp, ranging from cash-flow forecasting to adjusting products or services for new customer segments, and from repurposing existing assets to meditation sessions that help promote mental well-being.

We invite you to explore the https://covid19businessinfohub.com/ to find the tools most appropriate for your own situation. And if you don’t find what you need, just let us know so we can try to find the best way to help you!

Post Covid-19 Solutions for SMEs

Re-opening in a Post COVID-19 Environment: Practical Solutions for SMEs 

Post Covid-19 Solutions for SMEs

Please note that the webinar will not be accessible until 4:00pm on Tuesday, June 16th

Re-opening in a Post COVID-19 Environment:

Practical Solutions for SMEs 

A version of this article was originally posted on the COVID-19 Business Info Hub.

The COVID-19 Business Info Hub is launching a  webinar series  to provide practical advice and solutions for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) through engaging discussions with expert panelists. The first session,  Re-opening in a Post COVID-19 Environment: Practical Solutions for SMEs will be held on  Tuesday, June 16th at 4.00 pm. The webinar will provide SMEs and industry stakeholders an opportunity to discuss the  ”new normal” and share practical solutions that can help the sector in this time of crisis. 

Panelists include Gideon BadagawaExecutive Director of the Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU)Daniel BirungiExecutive Director of Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA), and Hope Sharon KwiyocwinySales and Marketing Manager of HMH Rainbow Limited, YO KUKU. The session will be facilitated by Tony OtoaExecutive Director of Stanbic Bank Business Incubator, and hosted on Stanbic Bank Uganda’s Facebook Live page. The session  is open to ALL, irrespective of the financial institution you bank with!

The webinar comes at a critical time. Uganda has been on lockdown following the COVID-19 pandemic for  close to three months, resulting in a myriad of challenges for SMEs, including disruptions in the supply chain, income loss, and changing work environments. A socio-economic impact assessment of COVID-19 on the formal sector and SMEs by the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) conducted in April 2020 reveals that 85 percent of all businesses anticipatefinancial distress after three months of lockdown. The expectation of loss is at least 90 percent across companies of all sizes.

The plight of SMEs during COVID-19 poses significant challenges to the Ugandan economy. As the engine of growth for economic development, innovation, and wealth creation, SMEs employ over 2.5 million people in Uganda and account for approximately 90 percent of the entire private sector, generating over 80 percent of the manufacturing output that contributes 20 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP).

With this in mind, Stanbic Bank Uganda  has deliberately prioritized efforts to support the SME sector in their time of need. In partnership with  ConsumerCentrix, Stanbic Bank Uganda has  launched the   COVID-19 Business Info Hub – a website dedicated to providing useful, practical information on key interventions including business training, useful government directives, and industry interviews to enable SMEs to stay afloat during COVID-19. 

We look forward to engaging with you on this relevant discussion towards practical solutions for SMEs. 

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Advice from Banking Sector in Rwanda, Supporting your Business Series

Supporting Your Business Series: Advice from the Banking Sector in Rwanda

Supporting Your Business Series:

Advice from the Banking Sector in Rwanda

A version of this article was originally posted on the SME Response Clinic

Improve your business management skills with AMI’s free Bootcamp and Trainings:
Bootcamp: Thursday, June 5th, 2020 – https://www.africanmanagers.org/rwandacovidwebinars/
Open Webinars: https://www.africanmanagers.org/covidwebinars/ 

Many SMEs have questions about banking services right now, given that businesses have faced low cashflow, difficulty in repaying loans, and uncertainty. In response, the SME Response Clinic brought together a panel of bankers for a Facebook Live Event.

On May 28, this live webinar entitled “A Discussion with the Banking Sector” kicked off the Supporting Your Business Series. The interactive session engaged banking experts Maurice K. Toroitich, Managing Director of BPR Atlas Mara, Robin C. Bairstow, CEO of I&M Bank and Chairman of Rwanda Bankers Association, and Christine Baingana, CEO of Urwego Bank. It was moderated by Tony Francis Ntore, Executive Secretary of the Rwanda Bankers Association, and Jean Bosco Iyacu, Director of Programs at Access to Finance Rwanda.

Bankers offered advice to SMEs on managing businesses and relationships with their financial institutions. Here are the top recommendations to help your business survive the pandemic:

Many SMEs operate without keeping accurate and up-to-date records, given their small staff and small revenues. However, banks will look MORE at accurate and complete records when they assess your creditworthiness than they look at collateral. This means:
• Keeping written records of cash in and cash out on a daily basis
• Ensuring that you can prove your cash flow by using your current account or mobile account for business transactions
• Using an EBM machine so that your transactions are recorded
• Paying your taxes, and keeping your tax paperwork in order – this also proves your cashflow and can be provided to the bank when applying for a loan
Many small business owners focus on collateral – like building houses – when they think about obtaining a loan. But, if your records are not in order, you may not qualify. Businesses must show the bank that they not only have cashflow, but also that they are able to manage it.
Improve your business management skills with AMI’s free Bootcamp and Trainings:
Bootcamp: Thursday, June 5th, 2020 – https://www.africanmanagers.org/rwandacovidwebinars/


One of the main mistakes banks see small businesses make is using one account for both business and personal funds. When you start a business, it is important to open a separate business account so that you can track your earnings and expenses in an organized way. A good rule is to pay yourself a salary, but to pay it from your business account into your personal account so that you have a clear idea of your cashflow.

Keeping separate accounts will help you to better understand your own business’s profitability and will help if you decide at some point to access credit from a formal institution.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many changes to the business climate in Rwanda. Those businesses that learn to be flexible, to assess the effect that the crisis has had on their businesses, and who learn to plan three to six months in the future will be best placed to survive.

One important piece of advice from bankers is for businesses to plan for a much different market than they experienced in the past. For example, if a business made a certain revenue pre-COVID, they should not assume that this will go back to normal after the crisis has passed. Planning for a different customer base, and for reaching new customers will be key. Some businesses may move online, or adapt a model with more delivery services, for example.

Another thing to keep in mind is that now is not the time to venture into a completely new business line. Trying to start a new business in a new market is one of the riskiest propositions during a difficult time. While there will be changes and modifications in existing businesses, trying to take on a new venture without the knowledge of the business, good or service, and without the capacity to run that new venture, may lead to failure. It is important to first ensure that you have the knowledge and capacity for a new venture before seeking capital from a bank. If you cannot demonstrate this, you are likely to be disqualified.

Learn more about keeping accurate records with AMI’s free Bootcamp and Trainings:
Bootcamp: Thursday, June 5th, 2020 – https://www.africanmanagers.org/rwandacovidwebinars/
Open Webinars: https://www.africanmanagers.org/covidwebinars/

To keep you, your staff, and your clients safe, new digital solutions can be used in place of cash. Currently, there are zero fees when you transfer from a mobile wallet to a bank account, transfer between mobile wallets (person to person transfers), pay a merchant with mobile money, or pay your bills with mobile money. There are also no fees when you make a payment at a merchant with a card via a point-of-sale (POS) device.

These digital solutions help not only in avoiding touching cash, but they also help to keep solid records of your business cashflow. It is important to keep separate wallets or digital accounts for personal and business transactions so that if you need to access a loan or other solution from a bank, you can clearly show these records as proof of your creditworthiness.

For current clients, banks have developed a number of services to help repay loans. These include grace periods on interest and principle, other deferments, and waiver of late penalties and fees. Banks understand that many SME businesses are experiencing a decline during the lockdown.

Talking to your bank – to your relationship officer or loan officer – is key. If you are having trouble do not wait, do so right away. The bank will work with you to decide the time period needed for grace periods or deferments, often depending on the sector you are in and how hard it has been hit.

On June 4, 2020, the National Bank (BNR) has launched the Economic Recovery Fund, a fund which will allow banks to offer discounted loans and other services to businesses struggling due to the crisis. However, it is important as a business to plan carefully about your capacity to borrow and to earn enough to repay your loan. Even though loans will be available at lower interest rates for qualifying borrowers, they are not a grant. These loans will come with the same terms and conditions as a normal loan – to repay in full, on time and with all applicable fees and charges.

If you do qualify, and have a clear plan for how you will use and repay the funds, you may learn more by talking with your relationship officer or loan officer. They will help to make sure that you have all of the paperwork needed, that you have been a responsible client in the past, and that the loan will be a help rather than a burden for your business.

Learn more about assessing your capacity to borrow with AMI’s free Bootcamp and Trainings:
Bootcamp: Thursday, June 5th, 2020 – https://www.africanmanagers.org/rwandabusinessbootcam
Open Webinars: https://www.africanmanagers.org/covidwebinars/

Banks find that sometimes clients will use the loan funds that they have received for something other than their business, and when it comes time to repay, they no longer have the money. This is the number one reason that banks lose confidence in a customer. While it seems like a good idea in the short term, it will affect your ability to take out loans in the future, especially now that defaulting on a loan will affect your credit rating with the Credit Reference Bureau.

Rather than diverting funds – even if you have a crisis – as always, you should talk immediately with your relationship officer or loan officer. Your bank is not there to judge you but to help you. Without clear, truthful, and up-to-date information from you, they will not be able to discuss your problem and come up with a solution that will avoid you falling into default.

Many business people ask themselves: “Why should I get insurance and spend money that I will not see again if I do not experience a problem?” However, insurance is one of the most important products that a business can purchase to help manage risk. One rule the bankers offered is that if you cannot afford an insurance premium, then you cannot afford to not be insured.

In the case of an emergency – theft, a fire, an automobile accident – you need to protect the assets and infrastructure of your business. Insurance is available through financial institutions as well as through insurance companies to help you protect yourself against unforeseen events and avoid losing your livelihood.

The relationship between a business and its clients and customers cannot be ignored, even when the business climate is difficult. You have got to stay in contact with both customers and suppliers so that they know what you are doing to continue your relationship once business begins to pick up again.

For example, many small businesses struggle to pay rent or other suppliers because revenues were low or nonexistent during lockdown. While suppliers do not look forward to losing revenue, many are open to negotiation so that rather than losing ALL revenue, they still are able to make some earnings.

In terms of customers, you may not be able to supply goods and services in the same way that you could pre-COVID. You may need to negotiate with those who have paid in advance or reassure customers that you have a plan to reopen and will be working again as soon as possible. The key is to keep the lines of communication open so that your customers do not seek another business who is willing to speak with them and value their business.

Learn how to negotiate with suppliers with AMI’s free Bootcamp and Trainings:
Bootcamp: Thursday, June 5th, 2020 – https://www.africanmanagers.org/rwandacovidwebinars/
Open Webinars: https://www.africanmanagers.org/covidwebinars/

There are many misconceptions about banks and other financial institutions – they are only for the rich, they are not available to talk with me, they are just there to make money. While banks are indeed businesses, their business is to provide services to clients like you. The key to building a beneficial relationship with a bank is trust.
Sometimes clients are afraid to tell a bank that their business is struggling or having difficulties in repaying a loan, for example. However, banks are well aware that this is a difficult time for many small businesses, and it is in everyone’s interest to help these businesses survive. As a client, it is imperative that you talk with your relationship or loan officer right away and provide clear, up-to-date and truthful information so that they can work with you to come up with a solution.
Sometimes this may be a deferment or grace period on payments, it may mean adjusting the repayment schedule for a longer period, or other solutions. But without trust and communication, none of these services are available.
The world of business will be different post-COVID, and banks and other financial institutions are there to help SMEs navigate a more uncertain business climate. If you have not yet established a relationship with a bank, now is the time to do so. So:
• Get your financial records and other business paperwork in order
• Open an account so that you can start to keep good records that will help you as your business grows – especially if you will seek a loan at some point
• Keep your business and personal accounts separate
• Follow a course – like AMI’s Bootcamp or open courses – to learn important bookkeeping, risk management, and planning skills
• Keep the lines of communication open with your suppliers and clients
• Look for ways in which to adjust your existing business so that you can continue to do business
• View credit as a tool, but a tool that comes with responsibilities and not as a grant or a gift
• Use your loan for the purpose for which it was intended
If you keep these points in mind, and talk with your bank or financial institution so that they can help you when you need it, you will have a much greater chance of weathering the COVID-19 crisis!
ConsumerCentriX is a Proud Co-Sponsor of this Event

Online Business Bootcamp

Rwandan Online Business Bootcamp Launched

Rwandan Online Business Bootcamp Launched

By Alejandra Ríos and Jessica Massie

A version of this article was originally posted on the SME Response Clinic

To support entrepreneurs in these challenging and unprecedented times, Access to Finance Rwanda (AFR) has partnered with the Rwanda Private Sector Federation and ConsumerCentriX on the SME Response Clinic. This digital platform provides entrepreneurs in Rwanda with information on financial management and industry insights to improve their response to this crisis.

However, information alone is not enough. As a result of this conviction, the SME Response Clinic is promoting a series of webinars and virtual programs through a partnership with the African Management Institute (AMI), to help entrepreneurs to adjust to financial uncertainty by deepening their skills and business acumen.

On Tuesday, May 12th, small businesses in Rwanda across sectors and with different business sizes joined the first FREE “Business Survival Bootcamp”  facilitated by the African Management Institute (AMI).

Jean Bosco Iyacu of Access to Finance Rwanda (AFR), opened the webinar with a message of solidarity for the SME Response Clinic and SMEs in Rwanda.

The webinar takes businesses through important tools for planning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

These include:

  • Scenario planning for your business – how do you deal with issues regarding customers, suppliers, infrastructure, staff and cash flow? How will these be affected if I close or have slow business for two weeks? What if it is two months?
  • Organizational risk assessments – looking at the different dimensions of business, the risks they face, and how to mitigate them. What do you do if you can’t get the goods you need for your store, or supply your customers?
  • Impact on cash flow – what to do if and when your cash flow is affected by an unexpected closure or low period.

All participants are given access to tools, such as cash flow planning spreadsheets, from AMI to use to help in their own businesses. These resources are free and designed specifically to navigate the issues in the COVID-19 pandemic, and include additional courses.

These tools and conversations are important given that the pandemic is likely to continue to affect SMEs in Rwanda – and around the world – for an unknown period of time. According to Diederik Wokke of AMI, many small businesses originally thought they would be affected for just the first two weeks of the lockdown. Now that the situation is stabilizing but slowly, businesses still need to build these skills and plan for a more uncertain future.

Conversation during the training highlighted some of the questions that SMEs have right now. For example, supplier negotiation is becoming more difficult now that businesses are able to open little by little. A shop renting a space may have had more flexibility in terms of payment during the lockdown, but this is changing as the country opens.

Finally, there are still many questions around payments and transferring to contactless mechanisms as much as possible. Many businesses are switching to digital payments and are still in the learning phase.

But with planning, management, and resources like those available from the SME Response Clinic, small businesses will be more likely to survive this pandemic.

Find out more about the upcoming sessions at “Expanding My Skills” on the SME Response Clinic website and on Facebook.

About the Authors

Alejandra Rios is an expert in inclusive finance with a focus on small-and-medium (SME) enterprises, advising leading commercial banks and microfinance institutions in emerging markets for the past twenty years. Her portfolio in MSME finance consultancy covers change management, housing finance, rural finance, institution-building, strategic planning, and credit management.   She is a Partner at ConsumerCentriX.

Jessica Massie is a consultant in financial capability and microfinance based in Kigali, Rwanda. She has lived and worked in a variety of African countries for almost 20 years, and specializes in curriculum development, training, research and writing, with a focus on skill-building and behavior change. She is working with the ConsumerCentriX team on the SME Response Clinic in Rwanda.

Supporting SMEs in Uganda -SME support Uganda- COVID-19 Business Info Hub launch

Stanbic Uganda in partnership with ConsumerCentriX launch the COVID-19 Business Information Hub

“ConsumerCentriX is honored to continue working with Stanbic Bank on further strengthening its small and medium enterprise proposition to address these challenging times. Being relevant, providing support promptly can make the difference for enterprises today,”


To provide the much-needed information and solutions for Ugandan entrepreneurs struggling with the financial consequences of the pandemic, Stanbic Bank has partnered with ConsumerCentriX on the Covid-19 Business Info Hub.

This website will provide entrepreneurs advice on financial management to overcome economic slowdown and insights into new developments across industries. Through a partnership with the African Management Institute (AMI), the Covid-19 Business Info Hub will promote informative virtual training sessions and webinars to help entrepreneurs navigate these challenging new circumstances.

Employing over 2.5 million people, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are the key driver of growth for Uganda’s economy. However, as the COVID 19 pandemic unfolds, the SME sector faces reduced business activity and financial security as a result of disruptions to the supply chain, travel restrictions, and changing work environments.

Over the last few months, Stanbic Bank has already introduced a range of innovative products and services to support entrepreneurs with overcoming these challenges. For example, to address reduced revenues and cash flow, clients can now access an unsecured overdraft facility within 24 hours based on the performance of their banking history. To reduce disruptions in the supply chain, the bank has partnered with Zhejiang International Trading Supply Chain Co Ltd to support enterprise clients importing from China.

The Covid-19 Business Info Hub will become a centralized platform for Stanbic to communicate these responsive efforts with enterprise clients in Uganda. However, the vision of the site is to become a trusted resource for all entrepreneurs in Uganda, looking for industry insights and relevant virtual training sessions.

“We are aware of various the challenges businesses are facing especially during this time, and we are committed to unlocking new solutions to enable business continuity. Among the key initiatives, Stanbic has put in place to support businesses is the loan repayment holidays, as a measure to protect clients from adverse economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. We will also continue to be at the forefront of delivering wholesome solutions to entrepreneurs directly through strategic alliances and partnerships to keep them thriving during and post the pandemic,” said  Grace Muliisa, Stanbic Uganda’s Head of Personal and Business Banking

As the implementing partner, ConsumerCentriX is well-positioned to support Stanbic Bank’s on this critical endeavor. ConsumerCentriX is an international strategy consulting firm that works with financial service providers and policymakers on translating consumer insights into market strategies and policies to reach the un/undeserved. The firm has extensive experience supporting SME development in East Africa through financial and non-financial services.

“ConsumerCentriX is honored to continue working with Stanbic Bank on further strengthening its small and medium enterprise proposition to address these challenging times. Being relevant, providing support promptly can make the difference for enterprises today,” said Anna Gincherman, Partner at ConsumerCentriX.