It was a celebration galore on friday as Céphas Nshimyumuremyi of Ngororero District scooped the Rwf6 million prize in the Educat-GT Bank Entrepreneurship Award.
Nshimyumuremyi is the owner of Musanze-based Uburanga Products Ltd that manufactures herbal cosmetics and soaps from assorted local plants.
He beat the 12 finalists selected from some 500 entrepreneurs who entered the competition country-wide. On a good will message to the country, he called for an increased patronage of locally made products; stressing further that it would encourage the manufacturers to put more efforts in what they are doing.
"Various countries have developed thanks to setting up industries that manufacture products from local raw materials. This is good innovation because we are able to transform local herbs into products that treat skin problems that has been a threat to Rwandans and other people," he said.
Nshimyumuremyi, a science teacher at Groupe Scolaire Kabayain Musanze holds a Bachelor's Degree in Applied Statistics.
He is a man that would not see this as a money to be wasted or used anyhow as his further words indicates.
"As Rwanda is registering tremendous development in hotels, I also want to give foreign tourists Rwanda-made herbal soaps," he said. He added that he started his business in 2010 with about Rwf100,000 and now it is worth Rwf30 million.
The second awardee was Jessie Kalisa Umutoni, the owner of G - Mart Ltd, a local company that manufactures school chalk. She walked away with Rwf1.5 million while the third contestant, Kevine Kagirimpundu, proprietor of Uzuri K&Y--a Kigali-based fashion line and label, got Rwf1 million.
This should therefore serve as some nods in the right directions for others venturing into any start up in the country as the competitions become a regular affairs in Rwanda.
Rwanda start-up competition was won by Amani Twagirayezu from Gasabo District, with his business Triumvirate Food Company that makes and packages seasoning flour from fish locally known as Isambaza.
Amani is a third year student of agribusiness and rural development at the University of Rwanda's College of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine.
"I got the idea after noticing that fresh fish spoils quickly," he said. He gets the fish for his four-month-old business from Lake Kivu.
"The award I've got will enable me increase production and quality of the product to satisfy the market," he said.
François Kanimba, the Minister of Trade and Industry, while speaking during the ceremony, assured them that the government was committed to supporting entrepreneurs through National Employment Programme (NEP) that focuses on entrepreneurship and business development.
"I am more convinced that the EDPRS target to create 200,000 off-farm jobs per annum will be a reality if entrepreneurs and development partners get fully engaged," he said.
Educat founder Andreas Norlem said that it was gratifying to see the youth come up with interesting business ideas. He advised young entrepreneurs to consult Educat for support to start and grow their business.
Francis Gatare, Chief Executive Officer of Rwanda Development Board (RDB) said the innovation and creativity by Rwandans makes the country's vision achievable. He said that more than 60 percent of all the investment registered with RDB were Rwandan.