RuralInvest: Fostering Access to Finance for Small-scale Entrepreneurs

The toolkit for individuals

Free eLearning courses  

Our free eLearning courses are designed to assist field technicians in working with communities, groups, or individuals wishing to prepare effective investment proposals. Suppose you are a field technician, extension agent, member of a university or a training center, a business plan development consultant, or a financial specialist. In that case, you can take these courses and learn how to apply the RuralInvest methodology and use the RuralInvest software.  

Overview of the Business planning e-learning series:  

Introductory course: 

The introductory course provides an overview of the RuralInvest methodology and outlines its application within the RuralInvest e-learning series. 

Course 1: Participatory data collection and investment planning in the field 

This course explores how to create a business concept, a yearly cost-benefit analysis, in the field together with the entrepreneurs. It also guides field technicians in participatory data collection and the basics of investment planning. 

Course 2: Business concept – Feasibility snapshot 

This course explores how to generate a business concept by inserting the data collected in the field into the RuralInvest software. 

Course 3: Business plan – Detailed description 

This course explores how to convert a business concept into a detailed business plan with the RuralInvest software and interpret the main indicators. 

RIV20: the RuralInvest software 

RIV20 is a user-friendly software designed to develop small- and medium-scale investment proposals and translate participatory data collection into professional business plans. By automatizing many financial calculations needed, you will be able to analyze project proposals, including comparing alternatives such as optimistic or pessimistic scenarios. 

It is open-source software. You can download it for free and start to quickly develop solid and sustainable business plans in a visually appealing format.  

The major features of the software are: 

  • An up-to-date programming language that facilitates maintenance and upgrades. The RuralInvest core team at FAO is constantly working to improve the software. 
  • Cloud functionalities to receive automatic updates, share business plans with colleagues and collaborate on projects together 
  • A strong and guided qualitative description of the investment idea 
  • The possibility to establish the working capital requirements and the time to recover the investment 
  • Modeling different loans and credit options 
  • The number of jobs created as a result of the investment 
  • The comparison between the current scenario and the scenario with the project 
  • Impacts of best and worst case scenarios 
  • Three profitability indicators: Annual cash flow, Internal Rate of Return (IRR), and Net Present Value (NPV) 

What types of investments are supported?  

RuralInvest is typically used for small-and medium-scale projects in the order of USD 5.000 to USD 500.000, depending on the complexity of the project design. It can be used in a wide range of for-profit activities such as agriculture, livestock, fisheries, fish farming, forestry, agro-industries, tourism, transport services, handicraft manufacturing, retail stores, wholesale services, storage services, etc.