The SME Response Clinic is a digital platform powered by ConsumerCentriX, Access to Finance Rwanda, and Rwanda Private Sector Federation to support small and medium enterprises in Rwanda struggling to adjust to the economic realities of COVID-19. To provide much-needed training opportunities for the entrepreneurs, the SME Response Clinic joined forces with the African Management Institute.

Testimonial: Yannick Tuyishime, CEO and co-founder of Tsapal Company Ltd

Yannick Tuyishime is the CEO and co-founder of Tsapal Company Ltd, a footwear and apparel manufacturing company since late 2019.  The company was brand new when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, but participating in the AMI Bootcamphelped to keep business afloat during crisis.

“When we came up with the idea for our company, we saw that there are many problems in the community that we can do something about. The first is that there are high rates of unemployment in Rwanda and in Africa. The other is that we see that we can do something that can do boost Made in Rwanda products. Import taxes are high in Rwanda, and so by increasing Made in Rwanda products we can fill the gap by bringing prices down and manufacturing locally.”

With the AMI Bootcamp, Yannick learned how to better manage cashflow, negotiate with his landlord, improve communications between staff and with customers, and assess and plan for risks. This allowed him to receive a reduction on rent during the worst part of the lockdown, as well as to keep all staff employed by making some salary reductions as well as cutting down on unnecessary costs. The company even reduced some of the product prices so as to keep customers on board and not lose them during the pandemic.

Yannick encourages other Rwandan entrepreneurs to attend AMI’s courses and upcoming Bootcamps so that they too can benefit from the toolkit and learn to manage risks, negotiate with customers and suppliers, and bring larger visions to fruition while dealing with today’s challenges.

“I appreciate the AMI Bootcamp because now I record weekly all of our expenses in the business and use the project management plan. The other thing is that I’ve learned how to assess some risks – like in this time, what I’ve learned from AMI bootcamp is that I can sit down and see what is not going well, what is going well, in cash management. I can make an action plan to meet the risks that I’ve assessed. Wholeheartedly, I can’t thank AMI enough and I encourage everyone to attend AMI Bootcamps and for those who have already attended to take some of the other courses that they provide. When someone wants to grow a business sustainably the AMI bootcamp will really help.”