Last week, Rwanda Development Board (RDB) organized and awarded the best performing businesses of the year 2009 in 15 categories as a means of encouraging and recognizing enterprises and individuals who excelled by not only being profitable but also contributing to society, innovating and growing their industries.
Among the categories that were awarded included the woman entrepreneur of the year and this went to Josephine Mukamasabo of Muhirwa Hardware Company.
Mukamasabo’s representative at the ceremony says that good customer care combined with quality and modern building material since Rwanda’s construction industry is booming was the secret of succes.
Muhirwa hardware company started small just like any other company in the early 1990s but with time, it has grown from being a small retail shop to exploring regional markets such as that in Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo.
The company has also got a program that encourages and supports women entrepreneurs to expand their businesses.
Muhirwa’s future plan is to continue growing and expanding contributing to the development of the country as well encouraging the potential women entrepreneurs to invest not only in the construction sector but in all the fields.
Before 2008, Mukamasabo was an individual dealer in building materials and thereafter he came into partnership with Belgium investors and they formed the current Muhirwa hardware company.
Currently, the company imports 100 percent of its products as well as buying from within the country in order to satisfy its market.
The company employs a total of 20 workers 12 of whom are men and the remaining 8 are women. According to the presentation of Muhirwa, they did not expect to scoop the top prize in this category since they could not understand the criteria that the judges followed.
Although the company remained tight lipped about their profits, the general acknowledgement is that it’s been rising through the years.
In the years of operation, the company has been able to construct a numbers of houses, acquire ownership in other companies, as well as giving back to society by helping the needy.
The RDB deputy CEO in charge of business operations and investments, Claire Akamanzi, said 62 companies applied to take part in the competitions and that RDB hired Deliotte &Touche to do the assessment and come up with the final nominees.