previously published; dates may no longer be relevant
Getting investment for a business is hard. The Regent University Center for Entrepreneurship (RCE) made it a little easier for 87 entrepreneurs in Kigali, Rwanda at the 2015 Investment Expo: Financing SME Growth.
The Expo provided a platform for these entrepreneurs to receive coaching and present their businesses to a team of local and international investors. In addition, the Expo hosted a business presentation competition, where over $10,000 in cash and prizes was awarded to the four finalists.
There were at least eight deals under consideration at the end of the Expo. One of the businesses being considered for investment was Temaco Builders, a manufacturer of paving stones. Emmanuel, the founder of Temaco, said, “I have a waiting list. Sales are there, what I need is production capacity.” This deal may provide Emmanuel the capital to purchase a hydraulic press which would allow them to increase production four-fold.
The Expo was designed to make every business grow, even those that didn’t receive investments. One participant said, “This Expo was so helpful. I learned so much about investment and how to get my business ready for it. Please do this every year.” Each participant received pre-event online investment training, an hour of in-person investment readiness coaching, and had access to additional coaching and workshops.
The Investor Team came through cooperation with two US organizations, Global Advance and Lifeshape, as well as three Rwandan investment organizations. The event was sponsored by the Rwanda Development Board, and several other private and public sector organizations participated in making presentations, coaching entrepreneurs, and providing judges for the Business Plan Competition.
This is the just the latest chapter in Regent University’s influence on the Rwandan economy and capital market. Since 2010, RCE has been operating the Rwanda Business Development Center where over 250 entrepreneurs have been trained to start and grow businesses. RCE has also provided investment training for investment professionals as the capital market in Rwanda was just beginning.