FDH Bank, MUBAS signs MoU on Graduate Start-ups program

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FDH Bank and the Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences( Mubas) have signed a long-term Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will see the Bank supporting final year students with business start-ups.

FDH Bank, in 2021, initiated a business entrepreneurship concept dubbed ‘Graduate Start-ups’ targeting Mubas final year students to finance their entrepreneurial ideas and concepts.

The Bank and Mubas officials signed the MoU on Tuesday in Blantyre, where the Graduate Start-ups program will set up a Trust Fund for the sustainability of the program.

In her presentation to the final year students, FDH Bank Senior Manager for Strategy Potamira Kumpumula took them on the processes that could qualify them for financing which include forming groups of like-minded individuals of four to seven to develop innovative and viable business plans that solves real economic problems by also identifying viable marketing opportunities.

After developing the innovative ideas and business plans, the graduates are to present the plans to a special taskforce consisting of  FDH Bank and MUBAS financial experts which will scrutinize them and offer guidance where loopholes are identified, according to Kumpumula.

“Once the business concept is approved, the bank will guide the beneficiary groups through a financial mentorship programme before being granted the loan at subsidized 5% interest, with a one-year repayment holiday.”

“The loan shall not be deposited into the beneficiaries’ bank accounts but FDH Bank shall be paying for costs of the assets and other needs directly to suppliers up until their businesses become self-sustaining,” said Kumpumula.

FDH Bank Deputy Managing Director George Chitera who championed the program back in 2021, impressed on the final year students to think outside the box and not to just expect to be employed because the employment opportunities are shrinking.

“Malawi is poor because we do not produce, we need to change our mindset and start producing because as long as we are not exporting, we shall remain poor. We should not rely on the government to produce goods for exports, it is up to us as citizens to be innovative by creating companies that produce and at the same time create jobs.”

“All these corporate companies we have were born out of the entrepreneurship concept. It is not easy to create a business plan but every challenge has got a solution,” said Chitera.

In her remarks, MUBAS Vice-Chancellor, Nancy Chitera described the program as unique and in line with the MW2063 national vision of Inclusively Wealthy and Self-Reliant Nation as it calls for a shift in focus on entrepreneurship.

“Our partnership with FDH Bank is growing into something very economically huge that involves young minds to be part of the process enshrined in the MW2063 vision. We must utilize all opportunities by solving any challenges that can be met. Mindset change is not just dreaming of getting a job but to become an employer,” said Chitera.

Five business ideas were identified as viable and were taken up for further mentorship and assessment which led to one business, Rise and Shine Primary School in Mulanje to be successfully launched in 2022 with the help of the Bank.

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