Belgian Development Agency Enabel launches ’Awa’ Prize to Support female entrepreneurs in Rwanda

By Esther Muhozi
On 3 June 2024 at 01:02

Belgian Development Agency Enabel launches ’Awa’ Prize to Support female entrepreneurs in Rwanda

The competition was launched on May 30, 2024, during a ceremony in Kigali. Participants can register from June 12 to 28, 2024.

Tom Crohin, Communication Officer for Enabel’s Awa Prize project, reminded everyone that the establishment of these awards for women and girls aims to show them that it is possible for them to become entrepreneurs.

He said, “It is very important to reward female entrepreneurs with promising projects that bring change because they can become role models for others. In many parts of the world, it is much harder for women than for men to become entrepreneurs for various reasons, so it is essential to support women who want to become entrepreneurs.”

Some of the prizes for the winners of this competition include training to help them expand their projects, opportunities to meet other entrepreneurs in Belgium, and more.

Among the 12 winners of the 2023 competition were Rwandan Raissa Ikuzwe and Burundian Mireille Niyonkuru, founder of BUIM in Rwanda and Burundi.

Raissa Ikuzwe, the director and founder of INO Coffee series, which processes coffee grown in Rwanda, said that the prize she received would help her expand her project.

She said, “It showed me that the effort one puts in is recognized and appreciated by people. It made me and my colleagues very happy to see our work recognized at this level […] My message to young girls is that I would tell them it is possible.”

Mireille Niyonkuru, a Burundian entrepreneur and founder of BUIM, which distributes solar-powered electricity in Rwanda and Burundi, won the third prize.

The Minister of Gender and Family Promotion, Dr. Uwamariya Valentine, highlighted that although women and girls still face challenges in becoming entrepreneurs, she appreciates Enabel’s program as it serves as a solution to make their dreams come true.

She said, “One area that still requires effort is for women and girls to become entrepreneurs. Although female entrepreneurs face many challenges, they play a significant role in all our economic sectors.”

The Belgian Ambassador to Rwanda, Bert Versmessen, said that this competition, being held in countries including Rwanda, aims to help women and girls undertake activities that benefit not only themselves but also the larger community. He praised the collaboration with the Rwandan government in this initiative.

To register for this competition, click here.