Arriving in Kigali to Exciting Presentations

previously published; written by Jason Benedict

I arrived in Kigali over the weekend it’s good to be back in Rwanda.  The trip was ok: luggage made it, I made it – cramped but in one piece.  Certain elements of this Virginia-Rwanda commute have become very routine.  I believe this is my 9th trip here in the last two years.

Monday and Tuesday night are the only nights we have class this week.  The entrepreneurs always moan when I tell them about the exam.  Our final exam for the course is a pass/fail business presentation.  If they demonstrate mastery of the principles we have taught they pass – If not they fail.  It’s not that they don’t know what to expect, I think they just hope there will be leniency.

I spent all day yesterday (Tuesday) meeting with entrepreneurs and coaching them with this or that problem relating to their businesses or presentations.  I even managed to squeeze in an appointment after dinner about 10PM.  As I fell into bed, I realized it had been a good day.  There is something about helping people in this way that is very gratifying.

Final Exams start today (Wed).  We had 16 slots open today but I only have two exams scheduled.  The rest of the time is full with more appointments like those I had yesterday – helping people with last minute coaching. Everyone is trying to put their business presentation off until the last possible moment, so Thursday and Friday are booked solid.

Well Donatien (our local Dir.) and I listened to about 16 presentations today (Thurs).  We had a few fail, but most were quite good.  I am giving those who failed a chance at remediation if possible.  It seems like we are getting a higher percentage of business starts before the end of the training that we had in our first cohorts.  I will need to check the records to verify this.

Wow what a week.  Dona and I have listened to about 33 presentations – lots of excitement and vision.  This is a summary:

*means already operational or with sales.

  1. A Kinyarwanda language greeting card business*
  2. Event Management*
  3. Construction Supply*
  4. Medical Dispensary
  5.  Day Spa
  6. Accounting Software Development
  7. Wedding Rentals
  8. Dental Clinic
  9.  Kid’s Carnivals & Parties*
  10. Coffee Plantation*
  11. 2 Pig Farms
  12. Accounting Firm*
  13. Soy Processing (soy milk and tofu)
  14. Green House Tomatoes (organic)
  15. Plastic Recycling and Manufacture
  16. Nanny Training & Placement Agency
  17. General Management Consultancy
  18. Clay Brick Manufacture
  19. Textbook and School Supply Wholesaler*
  20. Maternity Kits (medical supply)
  21. Children’s Learning and Entertainment Center
  22. Indoor Advertising (scrolling light boxes)
  23. Goat Farming
  24.  Counseling and Therapist Practice*
  25. IT training center
  26. Electricians Cooperative
  27. Education Management Consultancy
  28. Clothing and Handbag Manufacture*
  29. Drink and Snack Vending Machines
  30. Music Studio and Label*
  31. Concrete Construction Materials*
  32. Energy Saving Solutions Firm
  33. Christian Performing Group*

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