The founder and CEO of Econet Wireless, also the richest man in Zimbabwe with worth over $3.6 billion, Mr Strive Masiyiwa directed the priority focus in disbursements of $100m Masiyiwa Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge Fund for Zimbabwe.
Our Family foundation has been working in all of Zimbabwe’s rural communities for more than 20 years,’’he said.
He knows entrepreneurs desperately need financial support to get started, so a couple of weeks ago they launched the $100m Masiyiwa Rural Challenge Fund in Zimbabwe. Through Steward Bank, loans of up to $10k will be disbursed at 5% interest, to entrepreneurs who show they can set up and scale their ventures in rural areas. The Masiyiwa Fund is an “impact investment” supported by our family foundation.
Anyone from Zimbabwe with an interesting business that can be based in or within a 5k radius of these RECs will be able to apply for a loan, without having to put up collateral. Applications will be processed using their AI platform called Kwenga.
Strive Masiyiwa helps entrepreneurs in Africa
He is earger to see agritech and agrifood ventures owned by Africans. He wants to see young people with their own visions launching amazing new ReImagineRural businesses.
We already have people planning to set up businesses such as poultry, cottage dairies, welding and sewing shops. Others are talking about food products such as tomatoes and fresh vegetables. Others have new innovations in mind,’’he said.
Others are asking if other parts of Africa will also get this opportunity? If the Zimbabwe pilot is successful, I will encourage other African countries also to adopt this model. Already I have targeted Rwanda, Burundi, Lesotho and Botswana as potential countries for similar projects.
Success for this initiative is not only for rural Zimbabwe. Strive Masiyiwa has plans to scale it across Africa. He wants to dedicate the rest of his life helping young entrepreneurs on the African continent.
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