Local coffee firm, cycling body in sponsorship row

West Hills Coffee Company also known as Garuka coffee is on the spot over failure to honor their pledge of $5000 as sponsorship for Club Benediction kit for the year 2016.
Club Benediction riders captured during the 2016 Tour du Rwanda worn shorts and Jerseys with Garuka Coffee logo (Sam Ngendahimana)
Club Benediction riders captured during the 2016 Tour du Rwanda worn shorts and Jerseys with Garuka Coffee logo (Sam Ngendahimana)

West Hills Coffee Company also known as Garuka coffee is on the spot over failure to honor their pledge of $5000 as sponsorship for Club Benediction kit for the year 2016.

The Gikondo-based company that grows its coffee in the western province (Karongi district) and exports it abroad is understood to have requested to become partners of the highly growing sport in the country early last year through Team Rwanda officials Jack Boyer and Kimberly Coats.

The partnership saw the coffee producing company and Team Rwanda Cycling agree a sponsorship deal worth $5000 for the Rubavu-based Club Benediction. Part of the terms was to put the company logo on the club kit-shorts and jerseys.

“We met with Simeon Ngendahayo and Irenee Kamanzi (Company owners) in early 2016.  We agreed on a $5,000 sponsorship for 2016 in exchange of putting their company logo on the kits both on the shorts and jerseys of Club Benediction,” said Kimberly in an exclusive interview with Times Sport

“We also agreed to purchase their coffee to promote and sell it at Africa Rising Cycling Center (ARCC), which we did.  The kits were purchased from Canada’s Louis Garneau company at $2,200.  We (TRC) paid the bill with our credit card to make sure we could get them in time for maximum exposure.  The shorts were even used at the Tour of Rwanda which was an added bonus,” Kimberly further disclosed

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2016 Tour du Rwanda best climber Samuel Mugisha pictured in a Benediction club short with a Garuka Coffee logo (Sam Ngendahimana)  

According to Kimberly, they started asking for reimbursement of the kits and the rest of the sponsorship money in May last year and have sent more than a dozen emails and numerous calls and texts to both parties with no success.

“At this point we just want the $2,200 we spent on the kits.  Simeon said he could give us coffee to sell to make up the $2,200 which we declined as that was not the agreement and it would take us years and way too much time to do his job of selling his coffee,” she noted

In a separate interview with Ngendahayo; the company owner, he acknowledged the pledge, adding that the company will honor its pledge.  “We fully take responsibility of this issue, this wasn’t the intention because it’s us that approached them and our aim was to contribute to the development of the sport.”

“However, last year we encountered several difficulties that made it hard for us to fulfill our pledge but we can assure TRC and Benediction that we shall pay this money,” Ngendahayo explained.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

 

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