It’s hard to believe that I’m sending my final greetings from Kigali. Today is my last day in the office with the African Entrepreneur Collective’s local partner, Inkomoko Entrepreneur Development. These past ten weeks have soared above and beyond any expectations that I had about my work this summer – I’ve learned so much, witnessed the hard work and long hours that my clients and all of the Inkomoko staff put in every day, and had fun getting to know them in and out of the office, too. Rwanda has definitely found a permanent place in my heart.
Both of the clients that I’ve worked with, HPS&B, a rice processing company, and Hollanda FairFoods, Rwanda’s first potato chip company, have had incredible opportunities for growth come their way over the past several weeks. I’ve had the chance to work with both of them on preparing for meetings with international investors looking to make potential equity investments in each company. While private equity investment is a relatively new idea for many of East Africa’s SMEs, the trend for investment is growing as investment confidence increases and the SMEs themselves better understand the possibilities of equity investment.
It has been a fantastic learning opportunity for me and for each of my clients to be a part of this growing trend and to collaborate on achieving company targets and goals. While it’s sad for me to leave at such an exciting time for both HPS&B and Hollanda FairFoods, I’m looking forward to keeping up with them back in the US and watching their companies grow from afar.
I don’t think I’ll ever be able to express my gratitude enough to the Blakeley Foundation for making all of this possible for me—thank you so much for all that you do. I’m looking forward to seeing all of the Blakeley Fellows back at Fletcher in just a few weeks and learning more about each of our experiences! See you again soon in Massachusetts. And murabeho—goodbye—Rwanda, but hopefully not for long.