Entrepreneurship Graduate Wins Two Awards In Rwanda
A graduate of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Entrepreneur Certificate Program, which is run by WDI, recently won two awards in a business competition in Rwanda.
Christine Murebwayire, head of the banana wine co-op COPROVIBA, was awarded 1st prize in "General Services Business" and 2nd prize in "Best SME 2011" in Rwanda's Development Board annual competition.
"When they called COPROVIBA, I could not believe it because the competition was so steep,” she said. “Five thousand people applied, and 2,500 were shortlisted to present their business plans. I think the reason I won was because of what I learned in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women program. In particular, how to present my business at anytime I am asked."
Murebwayire is a graduate from the first cohort of 30 women to participate in the six-month entrepreneurship training program. She said the training has helped her double her sales in a two-year period.
Using concepts from the training, she implemented a new human resources process, including a worker specialization program. She also diversified the business, launching new types of banana wine and new product lines using banana fiber, a byproduct of banana wine production. Murebwayire credits the entrepreneurship program with giving her the skills and confidence to start exporting her products to Tanzania.
Started in September 2008, the entrepreneurship program is designed by WDI in cooperation with the School of Finance and Banking in Kigali, Rwanda. It equips women interested in either starting a business or expanding their start-up with the knowledge and skills needed to do so.
The program is sponsored by Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Women initiative, which seeks to give 10,000 women around the world a tuition-free business and management education.
The women learn business planning, marketing, finance, accounting, HR, legal aspects of running a business, and operations. The modules typically last from two to four days. The women then return to their homes and come back to the classroom anywhere from two to four weeks later for the next module. Lessons are taught in the Kinyarwanda language.
The program ends with a business plan competition, where winners are awarded $2,500. So far, the number of successful program graduates is 187.
WDI organizes reunions for each class 6 months, 18 months, and 30 months after graduation so the women can discuss challenges they are facing and attend timely seminars. WDI also gives them assistance in accessing capital, organizes industry-specific networking events, and offers post-graduation training.