Ten outstanding individuals and private companies that excelled in providing services last year were on Friday awarded by the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) during its 5th edition of the Business Excellence Awards.
At a colourful dinner that took place at Kigali Convention Centre (KCC), hundreds of business people most of whom had submitted their applications to compete for the awards gathered to witness who would walk away with trophies and prizes.
In the end, only a few lucky winners, who proved that their ventures enormously contributed to diversification of the country’s economy, were recognised. The aim has always been to encourage competitiveness among Rwanda’s private sector enterprises and promote an innovative business culture in the country.
The Investor of the year award, the biggest award of the night, was scooped by African Improved Foods, a company that produces nutritious and complementary food.
The firm was selected due to its proven impact of their investment in Rwanda. It invested $60 million and currently employs hundreds of people.
Similarly, Rwanda Mountain Tea won the Exporter of the year award, and this was possible because the company added value to their products and their exports significantly generated revenues.
In other awards, Ignite Power was the Best Innovator of the year, Cecile Nkomeje of PharmaLab was the Woman entrepreneur of the year, I&M scooped the award for Service Provider of the year, Bakheresa Grain Milling was the Manufacturer of the year, Emerging investor of the year award was given to C&H Garments, and Emerging Exporter of the year was Norelga Macadamia.
This time, the organisers went beyond awarding corporate businesses and awarded small and medium-sized enterprises as part of promoting business development.
This saw young business executives win awards too. The ‘Young Entrepreneur award of the year’ was awarded to Alexandre Nshimiyimana of Sanit Wing whose company produces a variety of vegetable oils, soaps and cosmetics from natural raw materials.
At the same time, Uzuri K&Y Designs walked away with ‘Made in Rwanda Enterprise of the year award. Uzuri K&Y is an African inspired shoe brand and manufacturing company owned by Rwanda’s designers Kevine Kagirimpundu and Ysolde Shimwe.
“So many thanks to RDB for this opportunity. We are very honored to accept this award and humbled by this amazing experience. We are excited to keep growing everyday and put Rwanda on the map of manufacturers and origin of fashion items,” Uzuri K&Y partners said.
Beyond trophies, several winners were given air tickets by Rwandair to travel to their choice destinations in East Africa, China and Dubai.
Clare Akamanzi, the RDB Chief Executive Officer, described all the winners as the ‘captains of the industry’ saying that they all demonstrated the power that the private sector has in driving the country’s economic development.
“When you win, Rwanda wins and when Rwanda wins, we all win. This is, therefore, an evening of celebrating excellence demonstrated by the business community in the country. But it’s also been a special way of celebrating the growing ecosystem that ensures private sector remains at the forefront of everything we do here in Rwanda,” she remarked.
Akamanzi highlighted that they are also developing an online system that would ease the registration of new businesses, and that the government would soon set up an independent tax tribunal which would exclusively review tax assessments. Applying for electricity will soon reduce from eight to two days.
“The idea is to make sure our private sector continues to be profitable, and for the business environment to continue to respond to the needs of the private sector as well as our people,” she said.