31 Kenyan women entrepreneurs win Invest2Impact awards in Rwanda


31 Kenyan women entrepreneurs win Invest2Impact awards in Rwanda
FinDev Canada MD Paul Lamontagne (centre) with winners of the Invest2ipact Impact awards. From left Lucy Mutinda (Ecocycle Ltd from Kenya), Blandine Umiziranenge (Kosmotive from Rwanda), Yvette Ishimwe (Iriba Water Group Limited from Rwanda) and Beryl Anyiti Walubengo (Crystal Africa Cleaning Service Limited from Kenya).

31 Kenyan women entrepreneurs have been unveiled as some of the winners of the inaugural Invest2Impact.

They are among 26 Tanzanians, 15 Rwandans, 10 Ugandans, and 18 Ethiopians who were  feted during a ceremony in Kigali on Thursday night.

The ceremony was part of the Global Gender Summit 2019.

Also Read: Over 500 East African entrepreneurs battle it out in 2X Invest2Impact contest

The 100 East African winners will be the founders of 2Xconnect, an online community dedicated to African women entrepreneurs.

It is designed to support collaboration, leadership, and the development of key business skills.

As more participants join, it will be a place to share, support, learn, and celebrate the power of East African women business leaders who are positively impacting their communities, countries, and continent.

2X Invest2Impact was organized and launched by the development finance institutions (DFIs) of Canada (FinDev Canada), the United Kingdom (CDC Group plc), France (Proparco) and the United States (OPIC), in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation.

The initiative was launched, to provide these entrepreneurs with networking opportunities, mentorship, business development services, visibility and access to funding, to enable their businesses to thrive and grow.

Winners were awarded entry into one of four program tracks: i) 2Xcelerate for businesses that could qualify for DFI investment, ii) 2Xcapital for ventures looking for non-DFI funding, iii) 2Xcrowd for businesses with the potential for crowdfunding, and iv) 2Xcatalyze for networking and profile-building.

Four Invest2Impact winners were also recognized for their outstanding impact on Women, Youth, Social Innovation, and the Environment:

Blandine Umiziranenge of Kosmotive (Rwanda)

Blandine won the Women’s Empowerment award worth $ 25,000 (Ksh.2,500,000) that recognises real empowerment and participation of women in the boardroom and in the workplace.

Kosmotive was founded in 2014 to improve Reproductive, Maternal and Child Health in Rwanda.

The Kosmos Magazine is a print and online periodical and App that offers interesting child and maternal health and lifestyle information to young women and mothers in Rwanda.

It provides parenting advice for a wide net of readership, including fathers, young people and anyone interested in the wellbeing of families.

Beryl Anyiti Walubengo of Crystal Africa Cleaning Service Limited (Kenya)

Beryl won the Youth Employment or Entrepreneurship award worth $ 20,000 (Ksh. 2,000,000) that recognizes a business that empowers youth and inspires them to be tomorrow’s leaders.

The organization is committed to employing youth with no access to tertiary education.

Given that its service delivery requires unskilled labor, Crystal Africa Cleaning Services Limited developed a training program that the youth undertake, before placement on client sites.

On completion, one is given a job and allowed to advance in a career within the organization.

The skills provided include computer skills, service operations procedures, first aid, and customer service. Today, the entire 70 staff and shareholders at the organization are youth under 35 with responsibilities in management and service delivery.

Yvette Ishimwe of Iriba Water Group Limited (Rwanda)

Yvette won the Social Innovation award worth $ 20,000 (Ksh. 2,000,000) that recognizes the use of technology or innovative approaches to improve lives and support healthy communities.

Iriba Water Group Ltd’s three-fold business model’s target is to avail safe drinking water to people while also fighting against climate change.

This has been achieved by eradicating usage of single-use plastic bottles through the supply of IRIBA reusable water containers for customers to refill water and hence avoid single-use plastic water bottles.

The solar-powered water ATMs are placed in different areas of the city, particularly very congested areas such as markets, car parking stations, hospitals, etc.

Thanks to this refilling process, safe, clean drinking water becomes very affordable particularly for low-income earners who were otherwise unable to afford clean drinking water with existing bottled water solutions.

Lucy Mutinda of Ecocycle Ltd (Kenya)

Lucy won the Climate Change and the Environment award worth $ 20,000 that recognizes a business that is working to address climate change and promote a green economy.

Ecocycle Ltd converts onsite SEWAGE (Wastewater) to CLEAN REUSABLE WATER, Treatment & Recycling Technology.

The Technology converts harmful Sewage to Safe clean water for non-potable uses in 8 hours.

It incorporates Smart technology to automatically run the treatment process as well as requiring minimal energy that can be supplied from Green renewable sources e.g. Solar, Wind, and Geothermal.

This is installed to end-users and premises that lack Municipal sewer connection which stands at 70% in Kenya.

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