The official Rwanda Nguriza Nshore launch took place on September 20th, 2018 at the Kigali Convention Center. The launch gathered over 150 stakeholders from the public, private and civic society sectors in Rwanda. The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MINICOM) was the guest of honor. His remarks were accompanied by the Nguriza Nshore Chief of Party and His Excellency the U.S. Ambassador to Rwanda.
A highlight of the event was the business exhibition with a total of 22 businesses showcasing their products and business models. Nguriza Nshore provided marketing materials design support to those who required it to ensure a highly professional exhibition. Nguriza Nshore partner, BiD Network exhibited and successfully sourced 8 new companies through their networking and introductions at the launch. Fellow USAID-funded projects, Private Sector Driven Agriculture Growth (PSDAG) and Hinga Weze also showcased their Activities. Other exhibitors included ARED Rwanda, an award-winning social enterprise that produces and franchises mobile solar kiosks, Hollanda FairFoods Ltd, which produces the East Africa famous Winnaz potato chips, and La Brioche, a café chain and pastry company that exports to other East African countries.
The three speeches delivered by the Nguriza Nshore Chief of Party, the U.S. Ambassador and the Permanent Secretary of MINICOM highlighted the importance of Nguriza Nshore in driving economic growth to create new jobs across the country. “It is no secret that one of the main barriers of sustained growth in the agribusiness sector is the limited availability of financing…businesses often face staggering interest rates for borrowing money…This is a huge burden to have to face if you are a young, small or medium business,” explained the U.S. Ambassador. The Permanent Secretary of MINICOM continued, “The Project targets areas including some of the listed sectors [in the National Strategy for Transformation], including agro-processing, logistics/transport that support agribusiness and access to finance. This is the main reason why we strongly believe that the Nguriza Nshore project will contribute much to the achievement of our national development targets.”
The Nguriza Nshore launch created a buzz on social media, launching the hashtag #NgurizaNshore on Twitter. According to Social Media Analytics and Tweet Reach, a total of 355 posts with hashtag #NgurizaNshore were made by 102 people for a total reach of 483,265 impressions. Overall, the Twitter campaign reached 103,367 accounts. The @NgurizaNshore account went from 30 followers to over 200 in one day.
Overall, the Nguriza Nshore launch was viewed as a success by participants, the U.S. Ambassador and the Nguriza Nshore team. The exhibition brought the project to life through the stories of the SMEs and producers showcasing their diverse products and models. The launch was covered in various English and Kinyarwanda newspapers and the buzz on social media helped to brand Nguriza Nshore as a player and key influencer in Rwanda’s entrepreneurship and finance ecosystem.