Five Rwandan women making it big in small business

On 8 November 2021 at 11:23

Women are an instrumental part of entrepreneurship and continue to lead change around the world. We acknowledge them for their entrepreneurship spirit, innovation, resilience and leadership skills throughout the world.

Today we take a look back on the stock of different initiatives designed to support entrepreneurs and forge the way forward to foster their contribution to the society in different aspects.

The African Management Institute (Rwanda) is one of the actors in the business ecosystem proud of enabling ambitious businesses across Africa to thrive, through practical tools and training.

AMI Rwanda has worked with a range of businesses and organisations to support entrepreneurs and managers build and grow their businesses across Rwanda including Mastercard Foundation, Rwanda Development Board, The Rwandan Chamber of Women Entrepreneurs, RwandAir, Radisson Blu, The Rwandan Chamber of Young Entrepreneurs among others.

Partnering with organisations such as Rwanda Girl Guides allows AMI to work with women-led businesses and support them on their journey to push boundaries, build industries and create jobs.

Through the partnership, 487 female entrepreneurs from across the country have attended and completed AMI’s Business Survival Bootcamp programme. The bootcamp teaches participants how to adapt their business to the current challenges and connects them with a network of peers. Through the Rwanda Girl Guides Association partnership, AMI will train around 1,000 women-owned businesses.

To date, women make up 43% of all participants in AMI’s Business Survival Bootcamp in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation, and the journey continues.

Five of them have shared what inspires them and tipped aspiring entrepreneurs facing constraints occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic on the way to success.

These include Pacifique, Vanessa, Nadine, Valentine and Claudine among others who participated in African Management Institute (AMI) programmes through an innovative partnership with the Rwanda Girl Guides Association.

The beneficiaries have shared their experience and what being entrepreneurs means to them.

Pacifique Igiraneza, Shop Owner in Kicukiro, Kigali

For Pacifique Igiraneza, being an entrepreneur comes with a great sense of responsibility. She is determined to leave a mark in her community as she works hard to achieve her goals.

“Do not give up. If you haven’t yet started your business, start with what you have, you will keep growing step by step,” says Igiraneza.

Vanessa Umutesi, Isaro Ltd, Nyarugenge

Vanessa Umutesi says that running owning business gives her a sense of purpose and courage. She dreams big and is happy with what she has achieved so far.

“Don’t just sit back and be too afraid of running a business. What matters is the idea you have in mind. Work hard to achieve your goals and build a better future for yourself,” says Umutesi.

Nadine Umwali, Poultry Farmer in Nyamagabe

Nadine Umwali is a poultry farmer and proud that her business supports her family, community and her country. She is pleased with the progress her business has made and that young people have started to look up to her.

“It’s good to be self-employed. Starting a business doesn’t require a lot of capital. All you need is a great idea. It is also important to take part in different business training programmes as they are not demanding and you learn a lot. I encourage you to be confident and start your own business,” says Nadine.

Valentine Ishimwe, Clothes Wholesaler in Nyarugenge

Ishimwe is proud that she can now rely on herself and is able to save money to invest in future projects.

“Don’t be discouraged when your business isn’t going well. It’s part of the hustle. Business is like our daily lives, you may be happy today but sad tomorrow. Therefore, we have to be resilient and work hard,” says Valentine.

Claudine Mukandayambaje, Copy Shop Owner, Karongi

Mukandayambaje is a passionate entrepreneur who celebrates her wins as they come and is eager to continue working hard to grow her business.

“Keep on doing good work because it makes a difference in the community. Don’t ever give up even if you face losses, that’s just how business works. The best is yet to come,” says Mukandayambaje.

The African Management Institute uses a unique approach to equip entrepreneurs with tools to build their businesses, help companies train their teams and run work readiness programmes for young people starting their careers. Online resources are combined with hands-on experience to support individuals participating in AMI’s programmes.

When COVID-19 hit in March last year, our programmes at AMI shifted from a blended model to fully virtual, and focused on supporting as many MSMEs as possible, leveraging our existing virtual engagement experience and robust online learning platform and content.

We focused on supporting business owners not just to thrive, but to survive and keep their doors open.

Do you want to celebrate Women Entrepreneurs in Rwanda with us? Here are a few actions you can take:

● If you are the owner of an MSME in Rwanda – learn more about our Business Survival Bootcamp and Survive To Thrive Programme to take immediate action to protect your business’ resilience through fundamental business skills.

● If you’re a former participant or current AMI participant in one of our programmes, reach out to other entrepreneurs to share this article and motivate them to take the next steps to build resilience and skills for their businesses.

● If you’re an organisation or institution that wants to scale your impact and reach more MSMEs, contact our partnerships team at [email protected]

● Follow AMI Rwanda on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) or call our helpline on 1000 and learn more about our latest updates.

Ishimwe is able to save money for future projects.
Nadine Umwali is a poultry farmer.
Mukandayambaje is a passionate entrepreneur.
Pacifique Igiraneza says that being an entrepreneur comes with a great sense of responsibility.
Vanessa Umutesi says that running own business gives her a sense of purpose and courage.