Mastercard, Inkomoko in $1m Rwanda startups, refugee initiative


Mastercard’s Centre for Inclusive Growth has committed US$1 million grant funding to support Rwandan small businesses through Kigali-based Inkomoko hub, with special focus to be placed on supporting refugee entrepreneurs.

The grant funding will be made available over three years, and will support the growth of small businesses in Rwanda through the work of the African Entrepreneur Collective – known locally as Inkomoko.

Inkomoko provides business development support to entrepreneurs, ranging from business skills training, technical support and mentoring, to assistance with access to capital.

Mastercard said the commitment is in line with Rwanda’s Vision 2020 and its Sustainable Development Goals – driving out poverty through job creation, ensuring gender equality through equal access to opportunities, and delivering decent work prospects which will enable economic growth.

In addition to supporting Rwandan entrepreneurs at large, Inkomoko – with the support of the Mastercard Centre for Inclusive Growth, the United Nations Agency on Refugees (UNHCR), and the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs (MIDIMAR) – has announced the roll out a programme aimed at fostering the social and economic independence of refugees in Rwanda.

The Inkomoko refugee entrepreneurship programme will aim to restore the dignity of refugees by providing support to grow their own businesses. The programme will work with 4,000 refugees in Rwanda over the next three years.

“The intention is to connect refugees with the tools and skills necessary to enable them to become self-sufficient and independent entrepreneurs to improve their own livelihoods, create jobs for others in their communities, and contribute to Rwanda’s larger economic development,” says Julienne Oyler, executive director of African Entrepreneur Collective.

“Rwanda’s refugee camps and host communities are places of vibrant social and economic activity with bustling markets, shops, restaurants, and industries. Supporting and developing entrepreneurs in these areas will have tremendous impact on the communities themselves and the country at large.”



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Inspired and excited by the African tech entrepreneurial scene, Gabriella spends her time travelling around the continent to report on the most innovative tech startups, the most active investors, and the latest trends emerging in the ecosystem.

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