The CSP focuses on building the capacity of 100 cooperatives working in the value chains of maize, beans, Irish potato and horticulture. This four year programme, funded by the Dutch Embassy in Rwanda started in May 2013. Through training and coaching the programme will enhance these co-operatives to increase their farms revenues.
The total budget for this programme in Rwanda is €2.1 million. SPARK has developed in-depth training materials (Cooperative Management & Membership, Access to Markets & Entrepreneurship, Access to internal and external- Finance) for cooperatives. Furthermore, SPARK has a cadre of cooperative trainers and coaches who work closely with the cooperatives themselves, and is supporting other organisations working on strengthening these value chains and cooperatives. Business Development Services (BDS) is the second component of CSP and specifically focused on the agri-businesses and agri-cooperatives provided by high quality certified agri BDS professionals that are the key to transform Rwanda’s agriculture sector from subsistence to a commercial viable sector.
In Rwanda SPARK puts in focus enterprise development, youth entrepreneurship and agri-business development that are geared to support economic development. The aim is to assist people to access stable income generating activities. Entrepreneurship development for example, is one the strategies to increase business starts-ups in Rwanda. The focus is on training people with vocational skills in entrepreneurship. But in a country whose people are frequently referred to as not having an entrepreneurial mind-set and where access to finance is a big challenge there is a key role for development partners and NGOs like SPARK. When it comes to doing business, there is a push to become a self-employed entrepreneur, but access to information, knowledge and support for new entrepreneurs is a challenge.
SPARK’s Cooperative Support Programme (CSP), especially SPARK’s Access to Finance was designed to give agro-entrepreneurs the tools and skills they need to expand their business models. Revenues are increasing and so far they have met every repayment deadline, thanks to the expanded networks of buyers and marketing strategies they have utilised after undergoing SPARK’s Access to Markets module.
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