From February 21st – 22nd, 2019 nine Rwandan SMEs participated in the SANKALP Africa Summit 2019, a large event which brought together nearly 1,000 social entrepreneurs and impact investors. Supported by Feed the Future Nguriza Nshore, this was the first time a cohort of Rwandan SMEs has ever attended this prominent regional investment summit. The inaugural group represented Rwanda well as they pitched their businesses to potential investors, attended informative sessions on a variety of topics from valuating their businesses to understanding different types of investment, and networked with other SMEs in the region.
Nguriza Nshore supported the nine SMEs in attendance before, during, and after the summit by coaching them on their business pitches, arranging meetings with potential investors, and assisting in follow up conversations with interested investors. This was a great learning experience for each SME involved and many came home with promising links to investment as well as expanded network connections.
Beyond the impact for the individual SMEs that attended SANKALP, this was a momentous experience for Rwanda. The SANKALP organizing committee noted that they were very excited to have a cohort of Rwandan SMEs at the summit this year. Numerous Kenyan and other East African SMEs have attended this summit in recent years but Rwanda has never had a significant representation. In addition, roughly 50 private investment funds are either headquartered or have sub-offices located in Nairobi. Yet, none of these investment funds which offer equity exist yet in Rwanda. Thus, having a group of SMEs attend the SANKALP summit represents the shift that Rwanda is making towards investment as well as marks the unique role that Nguriza Nshore is playing in helping the country reach its goals of being an investment friendly, middle income country.