Finding & Fixing the Gaps in the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Rwanda

Finding & Fixing the Gaps in the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Rwanda

What hampers businesses to thrive in Rwanda? That was the question that led the roundtable organized by BiD Network and Ejo Partners as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week. Entrepreneurs, Business Development Service providers and financiers came together to collaboratively discuss the problems and solutions. Equipped with post-its in different colors, all participants got to indicate their perceived problems and solutions. A recurring theme was the attitude of the entrepreneurs. The problem post-its were filled with “a lack of entrepreneurial spirit,” the solution post-its with “changing the attitude of entrepreneurs.” More specifically, below are 5 problems and 5 solutions as a result of the roundtable.   PROBLEMS The biggest problem is how to get stakeholders to collaborate more. Particularly banks are comfortable in their own space. Roundtables such as this one organized by BiD Network can only go so far. Record keeping remains challenging. Bookkeeping should be a practice incorporated from the very beginning. It aids in forming a strategy and improving access to finance. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs only realize the necessity when they are in need of finance. Entrepreneurs like to be in charge. This is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it is important to know what is going on in your business. On the other hand, it does undermine the ability of experts taking certain activities on. There is a disconnection between the high international product standards and the low purchasing power in Rwanda. To create products that can be exported means increasing production costs. This translates into prices that have a high likelihood of excluding the local market. Bank lending rates are sky high. In...

BiD Network launches market research in Rwanda & Uganda

We all know the obstacles hampering SME growth. They are access to knowledge, access to finance and access to markets. Access to knowledge is a broad term. Hence, the variety of actors providing access to knowledge is large. The GIIN and Open Capital’s recent publication about East Africa sought to make an attempt to map the larger Business Development Services providers. However, the sector is scattered, consisting out of many individual consultants. Which are the organizations specifically designed to provide Business Development Services? How do SMEs that made use of these services rate them? Who pays for these services? These are the questions we are seeking to answer by means of a market research project and we need your help. Are you an SME and have you made use of Business Development Services? We want to hear from you! Please fill in our survey here. Are you an intermediary and have you ever purchased or provided Business Development Services? Please let us know here! Thank you and keep an eye out on the website and blog to stay updated on this market...

Impact Investing: a trip to Rwanda!

BiD Network strives to fulfill its mission in helping investors gain access to capital. We achieve this through our matchmaking services and different events aimed at connecting entrepreneurs with angel/impact investors. One of such events is the Impact Investment trip to Rwanda from November 8th to November 13th. Two of our Investor Matchmakers will be joined by a group of angel investors and visit several local entrepreneurs. The overarching goal of this trip is to close the physical gap between entrepreneurs in emerging markets and angel investors. For a week long, investors will be able to meet entrepreneurs in Rwanda and see what it is like to do business in East Africa. Investors will also be able to soak up the local culture and travel alongside like-minded change-makers. Rwanda: Land of Promise   Rwanda, known for its tragic recent history, has remarkably developed over the past decade and is nowadays one of the continent’s most well-developed countries. The economy has strengthened, with per-capita GDP (PPP) estimated at $1,644.310 in 2014, compared with $416 in 1994. Its breathtaking scenery, the warmth and kindness of the people and rising business opportunities make it a place worthwhile visiting. The Rwandan genocide had a major influence on the already fragile social and economic status. Thanks to large amounts of monetary aid by: western nations, the IMF, and World Bank – the post-conflict GDP growth rates have been around the 8% annually. Rwanda actually had a staggering 13% GDP growth two years after the genocide, in 1996. Why Impact Investing?   “The bottom line is that impact is being generated by the underlying operating entity. As investors,...

Business trip Rwanda: April 2015

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 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...

Interview: Vivienne Court invests in Rwandan coffee trader KAMG

Marcel Klooss of Vivienne Court visited our Get in the Ring Africa regional final last September 2014. That’s where he met Rwandan entrepreneur and coffee supplier Kamitatu Kayobotsi. On behalf of Vivienne Court, he is currently cooperating with and investing in mr. Kamitatu’s business KAMG Trading and Coffee Export. We interviewed Marcel about the investment process so far. Can you tell us a bit more about Vivienne Court and your impact investment practices? Vivienne Court is a trading firm based in Sydney, Australia. The setup of the company is that it has no shareholders but is owned by a foundation. Half of the profit of the firm goes to the foundation. The foundation looks for projects to invest in where the dollar impact is high and where ideally VivCourt can add something more in terms of management support.  As we just started it is a completely new area for Vivienne Court where we have no experience at all, so we are excited to learn along the way but also expect things to go wrong in ways we have no idea of yet. Everything is already very different in our current setup with KAMG than we initially thought it would be. How did you get in contact with Kamitatu Kayobotsi? BiD Network invited me to Get in the Ring Africa in Kigali, Rwanda, last September. During the event, I spoke to a lot of different people and entrepreneurs, including Kamitatu Kayobotsi: a Rwandan coffee supplier in need of investment. I visited his factory to learn more about his business. He seemed to have the right profile to match our foundation’s...