Two Rwandans win Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship

Two Rwandans were among the winners of the 2014 Africa Award for Entrepreneurship announced on Thursday in Kigali.
Mugabo (L) gives his acceptance speech, while right, Uwajeneza receives his award. (Timothy Kisambira)
Mugabo (L) gives his acceptance speech, while right, Uwajeneza receives his award. (Timothy Kisambira)

Two Rwandans were among the winners of the 2014 Africa Award for Entrepreneurship announced on Thursday in Kigali.

The Africa Award for Entrepreneurship (AAE) winners were announced during a dinner gala organised as part of the African Leadership Network’s annual meeting that concludes today.

The AAE recognises exceptional entrepreneurial leaders who serve as role models to Africa’s aspiring entrepreneurs and demonstrate business excellence, innovation and profitability.

The two Rwandans; Claver Mugabo, the founder of Trust Industries Limited, and Clement Uwajeneza, the chief executive of Axis, emerged among the winners as exceptional entrepreneurs.

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Claver Mugabo the founder of Trust Industries Limited together with his wife share a light moment after receiving the award (Timothy Kisambira)

Mugabo’s Trust Industries Limited won the Outstanding Growing Business Award, while Uwajeneza walked home with the Rwandan Entrepreneurship Award.

“I dedicate this award to my President for having taught me that success is a ladder you cannot climb with your hands in the pockets. I want to thank Africa Leadership Network for recognising what Trust Industries does. I assure you that I am committed to transforming Trust Industries into one of African giants,” said Mugabo. 

Trust Industries Company started as a small trading firm in 2009. The organisation is now engaged in manufacturing, supplying and exporting high quality tissue paper products as well as detergent liquids and cosmetics.

Trust Industries Ltd has since established a wide client base, especially in the country and within the East African region. 

‘Exception ICT’               

Uwajeneza’s Axis Company was awarded for its exceptionality in ICT entrepreneurship.

Axis develops and implements web and mobile applications and solutions in Rwanda for clients, including small businesses, medium enterprises, and government.

Uwajeneza is a pioneer in information and communication technology in the country, co-founding both kLab and also the Private Sector Federation ICT chamber.

He was awarded for embodying the entrepreneurial spirit not just through his business and investment endeavors, but also through cultivating an industry of accomplished ICT entrepreneurs.

Mugabo was given a cheque of $50,000 as prize to a young remarkable African business with revenue between $500,000 and $5 million annually, while Uwajeneza got a $20,000 cheque.

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Gervais Djondo the founder Ecobank and Asky Airlines talking to the audience before being awarded. (T. Kisambira)

Other recipients include Gervais Djondo, the founder Ecobank, and Asky Airlines, who was awarded with Lifetime Achievement Award for being a senior African business leader who has served as an entrepreneurial icon for several decades and has left an enduring legacy of success in Africa.

The Transformational Business Award was given to Ram Ottapathu, the chief executive of Choppies stores, for being a leading businessperson with revenue greater than $50 million that has created significant socio-economic impact in Africa under the direction of a notable business leader.

Ostec company was awarded as the Outstanding mature Business and given a $100,000 as an established company led by a strong business leader (Jonathan Tawiah, chief executive and Founder of Ostec) who has generated between $5 million and $50 million.

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CEO of Banapads Richard Bbaale talks to the audience after being awarded. (Timothy Kisambira)

Richard Bbale of BanaPads won the outstanding social entrepreneur award that was accompanied by a $50,000 prize for demonstrating outstanding innovation and entrepreneurship, while sustainably addressing the socioeconomic development of low-income communities in Africa.

The Awards are meant to create a platform to spotlight and celebrate business excellence in Africa, build a strong network of African entrepreneurs as role models and a source of best practice, and promote entrepreneurship as a driving force for Africa’s prosperity.

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CEO of OSTEC Jonathan Tawiah thanks the audience for voting him. (Timothy Kisambira)

The Awards also seek to encourage aspiring entrepreneurs to embrace the challenges and rewards of entrepreneurship and attract venture capital inflows towards good businesses across the continent.

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