Inkomoko launches program to support 75 small and growing women-led Rwandan businesses
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Inkomoko Entrepreneur Development, the Rwanda affiliate of African Entrepreneur Collective (AEC) has emerged among three organizations chosen by the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) to support women-led businesses.
Following the selection, Inkomoko has launched a call for applications from businesswomen in a breakfast launch event held in Musanze yesterday attended by dozens of Musanze business women, representatives from the Private Sector Federation, and local government leaders.
The program which is part of ANDE’s Advancing Women’s Empowerment Fund, seeks to address the significant gap in access to finance for women-led small and growing businesses. Selected businesswomen will receive Inkomoko’s skills workshops, a complete business assessment, consulting with business experts, virtual networking events with women leaders across East Africa, and access to affordable finance, debt, and matching grants.
“I’m interested in this program because as a woman in business, I have grown a strong company, and still find gaps that I need to address,” said Mukarungambwa D’amour, who runs Urugano Virunga Palace in Musanze.
Inkomoko was selected from more than 250 applicants to ANDE, based on their commitment to address the challenges that women entrepreneurs, like D’amour face. In their Kigali and Musanze offices, Inkomoko will offer a program of advisory and finance to 75 women-led businesses, plus an additional 25 businesses in Mombasa through their sister company, AEC Kenya.
“Women entrepreneurs are active contributors to Rwanda’s economy. Through this partnership between inkomoko and Ande, women entrepreneurs selected to be part of the program will receive training in entrepreneurial and management skills as well as access to affordable capital to support them in overcoming the top challenges they face,” said Teta Ndejuru, Inkomoko Managing Director..
This ANDE initiative was created as a result of their research findings that women-led businesses are less likely to apply to acceleration programs like Inkomoko. Research showed that women who do receive acceleration services are still less likely than their male counterparts to secure equity financing, which the International Trade Center estimates is a US$320B gap.
“I have been working with Inkomoko for the past two years and have been able to experience first hand the growth that comes with accessing practical business growth knowledge and tools as well as affordable financing. Since starting my journey with Inkomoko, my business has grown in sales and size. I am now able to make 15,000,000Rwf In income each month and I employ 4 members in my society. I aspire to export my products and become an internationally recognized business woman,” says Niyonshuti Catherine, owner of Reliable Group of Suppliers based in Musanze.
In order for Rwandan businesses to qualify for the Inkomoko program, they must be registered with Rwanda Development Board, founded, led, or owned by a woman, have at least five full-time employees, and have a minimum annual revenue of Rwf60M. Businesses can come from a range of sectors including retailers and wholesalers, agriculture, tourism & hospitality, manufacturing and logistics companies. Interested qualifying business owners can apply online at www.inkomoko.com
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