Today, in Huye district, the African Management Institute (AMI) will recognise Rwandan entrepreneurs who showed resilience to overcome the Covid-19 impact on their businesses and rebound. The move is part of efforts to support small and medium enterprises continue to recover from the pandemic and rebuild themselves.
When the pandemic broke out in Rwanda, many businesses closed their doors while others reduced their operations and laid off staff. Entrepreneurs were worried and uncertain of the future.
AMI and other partners stepped in to support entrepreneurs overcome the challenges they faced and guide them on the road to recovery. Through AMI’s covered programmes including Business Survival Bootcamp, Survive to Thrive, and Grow Your Business, entrepreneurs in Rwanda were given the opportunity to learn, network and utilise practical skills and tools to stay resilient.
As a result, graduates of AMI programmes have seen impressive growth in their businesses and made a remarkable impact on the community by creating new jobs and boosting productivity – all while expanding their teams and operations.
To celebrate these achievements and the resilience of Rwandan entrepreneurs, the African Management Institute partnered with the Mastercard Foundation to launch the AMI Resilience Prize.
AMI Resilience Prize
Launched in April 2022, the AMI Resilience Prize recognises the achievements and resilience of entrepreneurs who completed one of the programmes offered by African Management Institute in partnership with Mastercard Foundation.
Entrepreneurs from across the country who completed one of the AMI programmes were given the chance to apply for the AMI Resilience Prize to secure financial and professional support to help them reach greater heights in their businesses.
More than 600 graduates applied for the chance to win Rwf1,000,000 and professional support to help their businesses keep growing. Fifteen entrepreneurs, three from each province and the City of Kigali, who have demonstrated impact on their businesses and the community, have been selected to move to the voting phase of the prize.
Entrepreneurs selected from Eastern and Western Provinces shared how they leveraged the skills acquired from the AMI’s programmes to grow their businesses and become more resilient.
“Thanks to AMI’s Customer Needs Analysis tool, I was able to identify customer segments such as pains and gains and improved our products to meet our customers’ needs. This tool also helped us to meet our unique value proposition (products, gain creators, and pain relievers) which enhanced our customers’ understanding and engagement on our company’s products,” said Valens Ruhorimbere, Founder of Iwacu Bakery Solution Company Ltd.
“After completing AMI’s Business Survival Bootcamp programme, I managed to apply the skills acquired during the COVID-19 pandemic where I decided to shift to new products, and I started processing Chia seeds using threshing and cleaning machines,”
“This also enhanced my capacity to train and create new jobs for the youth,” said Juvenal Kabagambe, Founder of Urban and Rural Farming Development Company (U.R.F.D.C) Ltd.
“AMI’s business programmes (Business Survival Bootcamp and Take Your Business Online), helped me to build my confidence as I was able to pitch my project in a convincing manner. As a result, I was named the top entrepreneur in the Youth Connect Award 2021 at the provincial level in the Eastern Province,” said Diogene Gold Rwema, Founder of DIOSOL Ltd.
Meet and Network Events
As part of the AMI Resilience Prize campaign, the African Management Institute has organised Meet and Network events to connect entrepreneurs who have completed AMI programmes, link them to partners and district officials , and hear their inspiring testimonies.
During this campaign, the top three (3) entrepreneurs selected from each category of the AMI Resilience Prize will be announced and participants will also be introduced to the AMI Rwanda Thrive Community, a network established to help entrepreneurs who graduated from AMI programmes access different opportunities and updates.
Through this community, AMI alumni will receive financial support and advice information, network with each other and get linkages to small business service providers.
These activities will take place in May in the four provinces of Rwanda and a final event will be in the City of Kigali at Norrsken Kigali House where the winners of the AMI Resilience Prize will be announced.
The top 15 entrepreneurs selected to continue to the next phase of the AMI Resilience Prize will be announced on each Meet and Network event, the latest expected to be announced Wednesday in Huye district.