First Lady hails Inkomoko’s achievements on 10th anniversary – KT PRESS
The First Lady, Mrs. Jeannette Kagame, on Saturday celebrated celebrations marking 10 years of Inkomoko, praising the business accelerator for making a difference and building resilience in the Rwandan economy and beyond.
Inkomoko, one of East Africa’s leading business accelerators and Africa’s largest refugee lender, celebrates its tenth anniversary and services to over 40,000 entrepreneurs. Inkomoko’s 10th anniversary, themed “A Celebration of Community”, brings together partners, customers and friends who have supported and worked with Inkomoko over the past decade.
Ms Kagame explained that Inkomoko, in Kinyarwanda, translates to ‘origin’ and her understanding is that it is a game about the ‘seeding’ aid that Inkomoko has been providing for ten years , in the form of capital, mentoring and networking opportunities, for micro, small and medium enterprises.
“The wonderful work you have done is truly a gift to all of us, and judging by the export of your model to Kenya and Ethiopia, you are well on your way to a global presence,” Ms. Kagame said.
Mrs. Kagame highlighted Inkomoko’s inspiring and deeply humane inclusion in service delivery and the embodiment of the Rwandan effort to overcome poverty and protect the dignity not only of citizens, but also of those who have sought refuge in the Rwanda.
“You are doing your part, daily, by contributing to our national transformation strategy, to achieve the high standard of living that we all deserve,” she said.
The First Lady called for the Inkomoko model to expand in Rwanda reaching all kinds of businesses, but also become a household name across Africa, as the best model to help more businesses thrive.
And to do that, Ms Kagame said Inkomoko needed to understand and remember a key aspect of the president’s commitment and call to “think big”.
“Thinking big” isn’t always about being big, which I hope small and medium-sized businesses understand. “Thinking Big” is about the magnitude of your ideas, the magnitude of potential impact, and the highest standards you are willing to perpetually demand of yourselves.”
With Inkomoko’s motto “Bravery and Community”, the above message landed on fertile ground and the numbers speak louder.
By providing advisory services and over $7.7 million in investments in small businesses, including refugee-led businesses, Inkomoko has spurred the creation of over 35,000 jobs.
Emmanuel Tuyisenge, CEO of TEMACO Builders, a Kigali-based construction company and one of Inkomoko’s first clients, has said it all.
“Inkomoko’s support, mentorship and loan at very low rates has been a real lifeline. We were able to grow our business and made a commitment to always repay our loan on time because we knew that when we repay on time, other struggling entrepreneurs like us also have the opportunity to access financing. said Tuyisenge and offered Rwf 1 million. in support of Inkomoko’s activities.
Inkomoko was founded in 2012 by Julienne Oyler and Sara Leedom and was originally called African Entrepreneur Collective.
Inkomoko provides business development services, including marketing, sales and financial management training. The Accelerator also offers one-on-one guidance to help put these lessons into practice.
Through Inkomoko’s in-house investment fund, it offers financing at below market rates and also offers Sharia-compliant products – with services in: Amharic, Arabic, English, French, Kinyarwanda, Kirundi , Somali and Swahili.
Today, the company has 18 offices in Rwanda, Kenya and Ethiopia reaching nine more communities through its proven support model. The Inkomoko Community 10th Anniversary Celebration brought together Inkomoko’s 200 employees in Kigali for a retreat on how to better serve customers over the next 10 years.
Reflecting on this milestone anniversary, Oyler, CEO of Inkomoko, said they are so proud that so many entrepreneurs have allowed us to accompany them on their journey.
“The work our team has done to improve livelihoods, grow small businesses and create jobs inspires me to do even more to see communities thrive.” Oyler said.
Inkomoko’s strategic plan includes serving more than 500,000 customers in 8 countries, including larger investments, more digital services and market linkage strategies that will connect entrepreneurs to each other across geographies .
By 2030, Inkomoko will expand to 8 countries, working with half a million businesses, mostly refugees, and surrounding host communities. By adding services focused on market linkages and fostering inclusive economic growth in secondary markets, Inkomoko will reach 7.6 million people with our services.
Goat Party, Battle of the Djs
Inkomoko has an annual tradition of celebrating bravery and community by hosting a goat party for its staff and customers.
This year the party involved a DJ battle involving Rwanda’s top CEOs, Claire Akamanzi (Rwanda Development Board) as ‘DJ VisitRwanda’, Dr. Diane Karusisi (Bank of Kigali) as DJ BK, Arthur Assimwe (Rwanda Broadcasting Agency) as ‘DJ HafiYawe’, Sina Gerald (Sina Urwibutso) as ‘DJ Akabanga’, Kampeta Pichette Sayinzoga (Development Bank of Rwanda) as DJ Kampz and Inkomoko’s one and only Julienne Oyler as ‘ DJ Jupac’
Assisted by professional DJs, the CEO battled to DJ records playing a range of old school, Caribbean, Afro beats and dancehall musical vibes, sending the crowds into a party mood, but the crowds couldn’t decide who was better than the other on the record.