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Prospero announces the launch of a concessional loan facility targeting Zambian Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). Loans will help otherwise viable businesses survive the economic shock arising from the COVID pandemic. Eligible businesses will be able to apply for a loan online from 9 June 2021.

The facility will provide a combination of loans and grant funded technical assistance to successful applicants. This new facility is on top of the £1,200,000 business survival grants that Prospero provided to Zambian SMEs during 2020.

Prospero aims to reach up to 50 SMEs with the new facility, each successful applicant receiving up to ZMW1,000,000. The loans will have a grace period of six months and a repayment period of up to 48 months. Interest rates will be concessional and indexed to the local commercial interbank lending rates. There will not be any upfront fees for applicants.

“Businesses in Zambia and across the world are facing unprecedented economic challenges due to COVID-19. Logistical problems, interrupted supply chains and restrictions on international travel have dealt a severe blow to many Zambian small and medium enterprises.

SMEs are the backbone of any economy, but many are struggling to survive through no fault of their own.

Prospero’s financial support during this crucial period has already made a real difference for hundreds of companies and their suppliers. This new loan facility will do even more to help SMEs save jobs and stay afloat, rather than being forced to lay employees off or even close permanently.

Prospero’s new loan facility will help viable Zambian businesses to survive Covid-19 and so continue as a driving force for job creation and inclusive economic growth,” says James Blewett, Prospero CEO.

Prospero has engaged Business Partners International Zambia Limited (BPI), an organization that has been actively supporting and funding SMEs in Zambia since 2014 to manage the loan facility.

The programme will be open to Zambian registered SMEs but will give priority to applications from women-led SMEs, or SMEs with large proportion of female employees, or particularly serving the needs of women consumers.

“I encourage all the qualifying SMEs, particularly women owned businesses to take advantage of this timely facility that will help them survive the crisis,” says Alison Lungu, BPI Zambia Country Manager.

Where required, a technical assistance grant of up to ZMW100,000 per business will be advanced alongside the loan to allow successful applicants to improve their business processes, ranging from financial management and accounting support, business problem-solving, and designing business recovery marketing plans.

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