By Grace Mugabekazi, Director of New Business at Inkomoko Entrepreneur Development
In most African economies women are involved in various trades, and have been known to mostly run micro businesses. These businesses are important for the survival of their families and of local economies. Now a growing number of ambitious and competent young women in Rwanda are building strong brands to compete not just locally and regionally, but also internationally.
Last week a crowd of 40 young people convened at the Innovation Village in Kigali, Rwanda, for the opportunity to meet and interact with women in business under the Twumve Twumve forum.
Twumve Twumve, loosely translated ‘you hear us, we hear you’, is organised by the Kigali hub of the Global Shapers – convening monthly to foster dialogue between youth, and Rwandan leaders on issues about Rwandan history, government policies and more current issues such as youth unemployment .
Speaking at the event were three remarkable business women who have inspiring stories of starting small and growing into significant brands in the Rwandan market. SPRING’s Linda Mukangoga, co-founder of Haute Baso, was one of them.
Haute Baso works with young women in Rwanda to design and produce high quality African inspired apparel and accessories. Its vision is to showcase today’s Rwanda, and translate a passion for art and design into a vehicle for positive change – highlighting local and regional artisans, while promoting job creation.
Linda discussed how she teamed up with Partner Candy Basomingera 13 months ago to start Haute Baso. The two women had $1500 as start-up capital, significant knowledge of the industry and a clear vision of what they wanted to build.
Linda attributes their success as a brand to the people who have inspired and supported them. She said:
“The SPRING Accelerator program has certainly exceeded our expectations. When we first signed up, we thought we would mostly benefit from the investment. As a startup that was gaining market recognition, financing our growth was a key need. However, the experience with SPRING has been so much more. We have had a large team of experts working with us to improve our business model. We have redirected our focus to producing better quality products rather than our initial plan to grow in the size of production. We have hands-on support on a day-to-day basis moving us in the right direction. It’s an opportunity I wish for more young entrepreneurs to get.”
To find out more about Haute Baso, visit www.hautebaso.com.