Last month, we went on a business trip to Rwanda to visit BiD Network entrepreneurs and to meet with both existing and new local business partners: current partners African Innovation Prize, Inkomoko, Ejo Partners and new partner Educat. The visited entrepreneurs are currently part of one of our programs, such as the United Entrepreneurship Coalition (UEC) and/or the IFDC Shape & Lead Program. Some we had already met before, others we met for the first time.
We were excited to finally see the businesses that we have been working with and to hear the entrepreneurs passionately explain about their business plans. Some of the businesses visited are now ready for finance and offer interesting investment opportunities. Others are still developing and improving their business plans, but are on the right track to become ready to present themselves to investors as well.
Read on to learn more about the businesses visited!
Tekutangije is an innovative business in clean cookstoves that we have been working with since our Growing SMEs event in 2012 and that is now participating in our IFDC Shape & Lead program. Entrepreneur Isidore showed us around in his factory, located just outside Kigali, and demonstrated the sustainable cookstove he designed.
This innovative cookstove can be used on both a small and a larger scale and is being sold to households and schools. Tekutangije’s cookstove distinguishes from their competitors’ because of its price/quality ratio.
Tekutangije currently has 10 full-time employees, 20 employees upon request and a large number of piece workers. Among these piece workers are (ex)prisoners, who are given a job opportunity in return for a small loan. To set up the business, Isidore has already received a loan from the Rwanda Development Bank. Tekutangije is currently looking for an equity investment.
On a 45-minute ride from Kigali, you’ll find Shekina: an established agribusiness that is selected for this year’s SPRING competition because of its collaboration with women (farmer’s) co-operations as their suppliers. Shekina produces dried cassava leaves, cassava flour, dried fruits and other grains and flours using their patented technology. Besides the factory we visited, entrepreneur Damiem has also set up collection centers. He is currently exporting his products all over the world, varying from Canada to Belgium. Shekina uses a unique patented self-designed technology to dry fruits, grains and leaves and are currently leading in the dried cassava leaves market.
Shekina is looking for investment to be able to purchase more drying machines so that production can increase and live up to the large demand they are getting.
In the Northern part of Rwanda, close to Musanze, we visited Thijs Boer and Pascal Murisara at their crisp factory of Hollanda Fairfoods. As the first commercial potato chip company of Rwanda, Hollanda FairFoods produces Rwandan-grown Irish potatoes to sell as potato crisps on the Rwandan cradle-to-cradle packaging domestic market. These healthy crisps will be exported to the East African regional and global markets in the long term.
At the moment, Hollanda Fairfoods is receiving attention from many different parties; investors have expressed their interest, and there are two investor trips coming up that will visit the business during their visit. Hollanda FairFoods is currently part of the IFDC Shape & Lead Program and hoping to find the investment needed. At the moment, Pascal and Thijs are looking for an experienced investor with knowledge. The startup funds are treated purely as start-up expenses and initial working capital.
Vermicomposting is an agribusiness on a three-hour drive from Kigali, set up by three young Rwandan entrepreneurs who all got their degrees in India. Through a sustainable and eco-friendly way of producing, they are able to make highly nutritious compost, using worms. Their compost is sold to local farmers. In the region, Vermicomposting is currently the only business to produce compost this way; other producers are not able to make compost that is as nutritious or use chemicals.
So far, Vermicomposting has received a $ 10,000 grant from IFDC, enabling the entrepreneurs to buy the machines needed in order to start the business. Once the machines have arrived, production will start. Vermicomposting is participating in the IFDC Shape & Lead program and is looking for investment to be able to expand the business.
In the Eastern province of Rwanda, we visited Panovita: an agribusiness that produces enriched infant and adult food mixes. Panovita is currently in the IFDC Shape & Lead program and has as next plan to produce special mixes for young women as well.
Jean Bosco is a driven entrepreneur who is also a researcher at the local university. This is where he invented the unique porridge mix. He is passionate about finding the best solution for malnutrition as local as possible. In his factory he not only produces the food mixes, but packages them as well.
Maria has already participated in our Get in the Ring Africa 2014 event and in the Women in Business Challenge 2014. Her company Angaza produces bags, wallets and other fashion accessories made from waste and recycled materials; a process called ‘upcycling’. We visited her workspace in Kigali where the products are being made. Currently, she is looking into buying another (second hand) sewing machine so she is able to upscale the production. She is in need of an investor or business partner who can help her with sales and with creating a market in Europe. Currently, she has a coach through BiD Network who helps her with business planning and financials.
About IFDC Shape & Lead
Shape & Lead, in cooperation with IFDC, is the program for agripreneurs who need assistance in shaping their business, but also for those who want to optimize their role as leaders in the value chain. The program is focussed on entrepreneurs in agriculture value chains in Rwanda, Burundi or DR Congo who are in need of support with technical skills, developing your supply chain, dealing with product seasonality, challenges in packaging, access to capital and/or marketing constraints.
About the United Entrepreneurship Coalition (UEC)
The main objective of the UEC program is to strengthen the capacity of partner organizations that support entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in fragile states and least-developed countries. The program supports entrepreneurs and business support centers (international partners) in Burundi, Kosovo, Liberia, Palestine and Rwanda.
Are you an impact investor interested in one of the businesses we visited? Contact our matchmakers!