Sun. Jul 5th, 2020

Entrepreneurs who made a difference in 2019

Dr Volker Wissing, Minister of Economic Affairs, Transport, Agriculture and Viticulture (centre) during a visit to Entreprise Urwibutso farms and factory (PHOTO/Courtesy)

By George Kalisa

The tendency to praise and sometimes worship business tycoons from the West has lingered on in the African Continent since the colonial days and continues to flourish. So infectious it is. Image a toddler  in Primary One fans a club in the Premier League but will find naming at least three footballers in APR FC a difficult assignment. 

Obsession with anything called Western is widespread on the Continent and cuts across sectors. Go to the creative industry, trade, religion, and Science and Technology, the mentality is there.

It’s more vivid in football fans. For instance, an Arsenal FC fan in Rwanda may not be aware that Moroccan Adili Mohammed Erradi is the coach of APR FC, but they’ve the names of all Arsenal coaches previous and present on their fingertips. Rwandan Arsenal fans like their counterparts in the Continent have already known that Victor Pereira might be the next coach of Arsenal FC following news that he received a proposal from the Premier League club, and recite his profile like the Lord’s Prayer.  

In the business world, anyone on the Continent will tell you the richest Americans with their net worth. This year’s list according to Forbes 400 List, presents Jeff Bezos ($114 billion), Bill Gates ($106 billion), Warren Buffet (80.8 billion) and Mark Zuckerberg $69.6 billion) as the first four richest in America.

The one million-dollar question is: Is their wealth of any relevancy to an ordinary person in Rwanda who spends his or her hard earned money on internet to read their profiles. Secondly, what is the rationale of giving these billionaires airtime and space in the African media in preference to local entrepreneurs.   

It is against this backdrop that The Light Magazine will profile Rwandan business executives who made a difference in 2019 going by the impact they made on Rwandan job market and export trade as well as made-in-Rwanda sector.

GERARD receives the RDB Business Excellent Award for Made in Rwanda Enterprise of the Year2018 (PHOTO/Courtesy)

Most economists in the East African nation say that Sina Gerard was the most innovative and enterprising entrepreneur in the country who made great impact in the made in Rwanda enterprise in 2019. The findings were based on selected indictors including a rise in the variety of products on domestic and international markets, and growing rate of job creation.   

Sina, proprietor and manager of the food-processing company called Urwibutso Enterprises was the most enterprising entrepreneur in the made-in-Rwanda subsector according to RDB latest ranking.

He is also a pig farmer, timber maker, bakery owner, supermarket owner, spice maker, and philanthropist

ENTREPRISE URWIBUTSO: A glance at 2019 landmarks  

Dr. Volker Wissing and SINA GERARD at Entreprise Urwibutso (PHOTO/Courtesy)

On January 18, 2019 ENTREPRISE URWIBUTSO took to Rulindo District the RDB Business Excellence Awards for Made in Rwanda Enterprise of the Year2018. Sina, a Rwandan serial and social entrepreneur owns Enterprise Urwibutso which is a driver of Rwanda’s Agribusiness sector.

Sina who was among the 11 private win­ners of different categories is name is big in the agro-business where he dominates Rwanda’s pro­cessing sub-sector. The local entrepreneur produces a variety of soft drinks, foods and beverages which include the Akan­di natural mineral water, agashya, akabanga, akanoze, yoghurt, JAM, banana wine and akarusho et cetera.

He helps local small scale farmers get farm tools like seeds alongside arable land and guaranteed market for their produces which double as the raw materials for the Nyirangarama factory.

Nyirangarama products today claim a big share on Rwanda’s export trade sector.

“Over the time I have expanded my production and to date I employ hundreds of Rwandans in nine different departments – production and services sub-sectors,” observed SINA Gérard recently.

“Today, we have about 550 permanent workers, about 700 part timers and 5,000 families nation-wide earning a living in different sectors mostly agriculture,” adds SINA.

Sina’s vision to build a robust agro-processing industry spurred various activities throughout 2019.

For instance, on August 29, 2019 Sina hosted a delegation from the Federal State of Rhineland-Palatinate led by Dr. Volker Wissing the Minister of Economic Affairs, Transport, Agriculture and Viticulture. Their visit meant an expansion of the Nyirangarama wine market to German.

In addition, the Entreprise Urwibutso will leverage the expertise in viticulture , technology and wine processing for which the Rhineland-Palatinate is well known.

Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente during a visit to Entreprise Urwibutso in Rulindo District (PHOTO/Courtesy)

Mid 2019 Kigali Archdiocese Archbishop Antoine Kambanda flanked with the Ruhengeri Diocese Bishop Vincent Harorimana, opened St. GERARD Chapel at College Fondation SINA GERARD in Rulindo Catholic Parish.

Sina who invests also in education constructed the Chapel in an effort to provide holistic education to Rwandan children who study from his schools, one that is not alienated from faith.

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