In partnership with the European Commission and Agence Française de Développement (AFD), HEVA is delighted to announce 7 East African creative businesses as part of their inaugural East Africa Creative Business Fund (EACBF) 2020/2021 fund cohort.
Launched in September 2020, the EACBF—an additional facility to HEVA’s existing Growth Fund—invited creative businesses in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania and Ethiopia, who had been in operation for at least two years, to apply for loans ranging between USD 20,000 to USD 50,000. The call for applications was put out on various platforms, including media channels, Facebook, Instagram,
To gain the attention and participation of as many creative businesses and communities as possible, HEVA took part in several news feature interviews, panels and other sector conversations, and a Zoom Q&A session to answer all subsequent questions was also livestreamed on social media.
A wider conversation on the effects of COVID-19 on the creative industry, and advisory on the re-opening of the wider economy, was happening against the backdrop of this funding call.
Keeping this in mind, the facility was designed from its very beginning to incorporate assistance for businesses to do the following in the wake of the pandemic: restructure interrupted supply chains; increase production capacity; diversify offerings; increase market share; increase integration in local and regional value chains; support transition to low-touch and digital capabilities; and take advantage of new opportunities.
By the close of the application window in October 2020, 430 businesses had applied for the loan facility. Of those, 248 were from Kenya, 59 from Uganda, 33 from Ethiopia, 30 from Tanzania and 60 from Rwanda. Each submitted application went through a rigorous application process, checking first for initial business applicability and appropriate creativity indicators.
Applicants who passed this stage were then invited to a pitch session, following which a further shortlist was compiled. Successful pitches participated in a due diligence visit and conversation, with further document submissions and resulting conversations.
Those who satisfied the due diligence requirements went on to a collaborative financial modelling stage, to forecast future financial performance and possibilities for loan repayment. The successful completion of all these stages gave us our 7 finalists, who are currently starting conversations around contracts and disbursements.
The seven businesses are: Haute Baso; Azizi Life and Illume Creative Studio, all from Rwanda; Frederick Bittiner; Tira Studio, and Rainmaker Limited, all from Kenya; and Uganda’s Skyline Media & Management Limited.
Here is some more information about them, and what HEVA’s investment would enable in their work:
Haute Baso, is a niche Rwandan lifestyle brand in apparel, home accessories and interior decor. They will use their EACBF funding to diversify offerings and increase market share.
Based in Rwanda, Azizi Life works with artisan partners to handcraft a diverse range of beautifully designed home decor pieces. With their EACBF financing, they intend to acquire new and improved processes and systems.
Illume Creative Studio, based in Kigali, Rwanda, offers strategic storytelling and communication plans to its clients. They will use their EACBF funds to diversify their offerings, build internal capacity and support transition to low-touch and digital capabilities.
Frederick Bittiner is a Kenyan fashion brand that aims to produce and sell unique, trendy and quality apparel designs in line with local and international trends. Their EACBF funding will be put towards growing their production capacity.
The Rainmaker Limited outfit, based in Nairobi, Kenya, places a necessary focus on live performances, musical theatre, studio projects, and social justice and common good commissioned songwriting. They are also interested in artist asset ownership and management, as well as arts administration. Rainmaker will put their EACBF funds towards music production, equipment purchase and a studio fit out.
Tira Studio is a Kenyan furniture company that designs, sources, manufactures and curates unique and creative furniture solutions for their clients. The business will use their EACBF funds to increase market share and increase production capacity.
Our seventh finalist, the Ugandan Skyline Media and Management Limited, is a Kampala-based record label services company that creates, develops, licenses and distributes content, and also produces live events. The EACBF funding will be used to grow current markets and open new markets.
According to AFD, “This partnership, initiated between the European Union, France and Heva Fund, is a great example of international collaboration to promote the cultural industry in Eastern Africa. With the East Africa Creative Business Fund, launched under the Innovative Financing Initiative for Culture (IFIC) project, HEVA has efficiently strengthened its activities in Kenya and also expanded further into the region: in Uganda, and Rwanda. The goal here is to have transformational impact, by contributing to the rapid evolution of the cultural sector in the East Africa region.”
The HEVA team is excited to be part of the growth journeys of these 7 East Africa Creative Business Fund beneficiaries, and will be highlighting their progress and achievements as they effect the ambitious and exciting visions of their individual funding asks! Details and further information will be shared on the HEVA website and social media pages!