SMEs in Agribusiness

Building resilience for SMEs in the Agribusiness sector post COVID-19

ConsumerCentriX works closely with Stanbic Bank Uganda on both the COVID-19 Business Info Hub and the Stanbic Business Incubator. This article originally appeared on the COVID-19 Business Info Hub.

This month, the COVID-19 Business Info Hub seeks to understand how the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the Agribusiness sector can remain resilient after the pandemic. We will feature insights from different players in the Agribusiness Ecosystem. We will explore the pandemic’s disruptions on the Agribusiness supply chain, learn about the sector’s challenges and opportunities, and provide insights on what to do to stay afloat. We will provide you and your business information on the available interventions and support that you can take advantage of to grow your business.

Before the pandemic, SMEs in the Agribusiness sector were vibrant and engaged in significant value addition with the food system. They created employment along the value chains in agricultural trade, farm services and inputs, agro-processing, urban retailing and food services. However, when the pandemic hit, the sector suffered adverse effects, especially disruption of the supply chain and reduction in market demand. Although SMEs tried to respond by adopting digital solutions to access information on production, training services, and access to finance and markets, business still remains low. Nevertheless, as the economy is slowly opening up after months of lockdown and restricted movement, SMEs are slowly seeking to build back businesses.

Stakeholders, therefore, need to design interventions that support SMEs to continue playing their critical role within the sector. Interventions should help SMEs cope with the economic and financial implications of the pandemic. For example, help them strengthen their digital capacity through training and provide them with relevant information for business continuity. Successful implementation of these interventions will enable SMEs to become innovative, build resilience, and manage the current pandemic effects. They will also withstand continued market uncertainty and position for more robust post-COVID trade.

Are you interested in learning how some of the Agribusinesses managed to survive the pandemic? Do you want to know more about the policies and initiatives to help you stay resilient and grow your business? Then, keep following The Covid-19 Business Information Hub this month for more insights and relevant resources in the Agribusiness sector!

Meet the Winners and Nominees of the SME Response Clinic Awards

Celebrating the SME Response Clinic Awards

Read the Terms and Conditions

We are proud to feature the 30 businesses shortlisted for the SME Response Clinic Business Awards through the Twiteze Imbere campaign, which celebrated the role small businesses play in the country’s journey to recovery following COVID-19. We received around 1,200 nominations from across the country in three categories: established businesses, women-owned businesses, and startup/innovative businesses. Congratulations to the businesses that were shortlisted and we wish them the best in their growth!



Announcing the Twiteze Imbere Campaign Award Celebration

Celebrating the Twiteze Imbere Campaign Award Winning Small Businesses


To recognise and celebrate the winners of the Twiteze Imbere campaign SME Response Clinic Business Awards, and reflect on the campaign, Access to Finance Rwanda (AFR) and ConsumerCentriX hosted a half-day celebration alongside key campaign partners on May 19th.

The Twiteze Imbere campaign was created to recognize the role small businesses are playing in Rwanda’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Through the campaign, the general public nominated their favorite small businesses, giving their nominees the chance to win an SME Response Clinic Business Award. The competition featured three categories: women-owned businesses, start-up or innovative businesses, and established businesses. Three winners and five runners-up stood out from almost 2,000 nominations.

During the celebration, Jean Bosco Iyacu, Country Director of AFR, congratulated the winners and thanked them for their role in Rwanda’s economic recovery. Mr. Iyacu also highlighted AFR’s ongoing efforts to support small businesses in Rwanda and appreciated the diversity within the businesses that were nominated.

Anna Gincherman, Managing Partner at ConsumerCentriX, encouraged the entrepreneurs to utilise the SME Response Clinic’s resources to grow their businesses.

“The SME Response Clinic will continue to support entrepreneurs by providing access to financial opportunities and information on business development services,” she said.

The three winners discussed how they plan to use the one million Rwandan francs prize to grow their businesses. They responded to some questions from partners and networked with business development experts including RICEM’s Dr. Olivier Mukulira and Malik Shaffy, Country Manager of the African Management Institute in Rwanda (AMI).

Jean Bosco Manirareba, winner in the established businesses category, said that the prize money will be invested to expand market reach beyond Kirehe District where Umucyo operates.

Hamdani Habumuremyi, winner of the start-up/innovative business category said: “The prize money will allow me to acquire new machinery and equipment to support my business activities.”

Judith Kaine, winner in the women-led businesses category said: “I plan to use the award to increase visibility and awareness of my business across Rwanda.”

In addition to the prize money, the three winners will each receive expert business advisory services provided by Rwanda Institute for Cooperatives, Entrepreneurship and Microfinance (RICEM), and AMI. These services will equip them with the skills and knowledge to further improve the success of their businesses.

Meet the winners here

Rwanda's recovery from COVID-19

RADIO SHOW | The role of SMEs in the road to recovery

Rwanda's recovery from COVID-19

The role of SMEs in the road to recovery

On 18th March 2021, the SME Response Clinic launched the Twiteze Imbere campaign to recognize and celebrate the role SMEs play in Rwanda’s road to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The campaign was supported by the partners of the SME Response Clinic and business development service providers, including the Rwanda Institute of Cooperatives, Entrepreneurship, and Microfinance (RICEM) 

During the campaign, a radio show was conducted featuring Esperance Niyitegeka, a lead trainer at RICEM and Angelique Uwimana, an entrepreneur involved in the tailoring business that had gone through RICEM’s training program. Esperance gave a detailed overview of the campaign and highlighted the role SMEs play in Rwandas recovery from COVID-19, sighting their contribution to taxes. Angelique also encouraged women entrepreneurs to participate in the campaign to stand a chance to win and increase their capital, which would help them develop their businesses.  

Radio Rwanda

RADIO SHOW | Get to know the Twiteze Imbere Campaign and SME Response Clinic

Radio Rwanda

Get to know the Twiteze Imbere Campaign and SME Response Clinic

On 26th March 2021, the SME Response Clinic launched the Twiteze Imbere campaign to recognize and celebrate the role SMEs play in Rwandas road to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The campaign was supported by the partners of the SME Response Clinic, including the African Management Institute (AMI), which will be providing sponsorship to select runners-up of the campaign’s Business Awards competition to participate in its Survive to Thrive programme. The programme equips business owners with the skills, tools, and strategies to navigate challenges and thrive in difficult times.   

AMI’s country director, Malik Shaffy Lizinde, was featured on Radio Rwanda for a 30-minute discussion on the Amahumbezi program. Malik gave a detailed overview of the campaign and highlighted how SMEs could engage with the campaign to stand a chance to win 1 million Rwandan Francs and expert advisory services.  

Kwinjiza Ibigo by’ubucuruzi bito n’ibiciriritse byo mu Rwanda mu bucuruzi bukoresha ikoranabuhanga: Amahirwe n’inzitizi zirimo.

Kwinjiza Ibigo by’ubucuruzi bito n’ibiciriritse byo mu Rwanda mu bucuruzi bukoresha ikoranabuhanga: Amahirwe n’inzitizi zirimo. 

Kuwa 30 Werurwe 2021 saa cyenda z’amanywa  

Utumiwe mu kiganiro nyunguranabitekerezo kizakoreshwa na SME Response Clinic  hifashishijwe  ikoranabuhangakikazakorwa hamwe n’abafatanyabikorwa b’ingenzi bakomoka mu nzego za Leta n’iz’abikorera zifite uruhare mu bucuruzi bukoresha ikoranabuhanga mu Rwanda.  Icyo kiganiro kizakorwa hakoreshejwe ikoranabuhanga kizabakigamije  kungurana ibitekerezo ku bikorwa biriho byo kwinjiza ibigo by’ubucuruzi bito n’ibiciriritse mu mahuriroy’ibigo bikora ubucuruzi bikoresheje ikoranabuhanga kikazibanda ku mahirwe ibigo bito n’ibiciriritse bifite muri urworwego , inzitizi bihura nabyo, ndetse n’ibisubizo bishoboka bijyanye no gukuraho izo nzitizi.    

Icyo kiganiro kizanyura kuri paji ya Facebook ya SME Response Clinic; abazakitabira bakazabasha  kubaza ibibazo no gutanga ibitekerezo byabo kuwa 30 Werurwe saa cyenda z’amanywa mu rurimi rw’ikinyarwanda ahanini  

Uzayobora ikiganiro: Christophe Nkurunziza: Umuyobozi wa IHUZO PROJECT 


  • Alex Ntale: Umuyobozi Mukuru wa ICT Chamber 
  • Albert Munyabugingo: Umuyobozi Mukuru wa Vuba Vuba 
ConsumerCentriX is a Proud Co-Sponsor of this Event

Gender finance

MFW4A webinar: Gender finance as an opportunity during crisis times

Gender finance

MFW4A webinar: Gender finance as an opportunity during crisis times

Alejandra Rios, Partner at ConsumerCentrix, recently participated in a webinar hosted by  Making Finance Work for Africa Partnership (MFW4A).This article originally appeared on Platform Africa’s website

By Erica Yanice B.Essono Nze-Bekale, Darylle Tangara & Karungi Kajura

Women entrepreneurs represent a real opportunity for financial institutions provided they develop products and services as well as a suitable environment to meet their specific needs

Statistics have shown that female entrepreneurship in Africa is the highest in the world at 24 percent compared to 11 percent South East Asia Pacific and 9 percent Europe. It was also noticed that as borrowers, women entrepreneurs repay better than men. However, they face multiple constraints specific to them (household management, interruption of working life due to maternity and illnesses of their children). In addition, they are more vulnerable in times of crisis, but are better able to proactively seek solutions with Financial Institutions in times of crisis.

Addressing this issue, on 4 March 2021, the Making finance Work for Africa Partnership (MFW4A) in collaboration with the IPC, Horus and IECD Consortium hosted a webinar entitled “Gender finance as an opportunity during crisis times”. This session was the last of a series of four (4) webinars dedicated to banks and microfinance institutions in West and Central Africa within the context of the European Investment Bank (EIB) TA Financial sector programme for these regions.

Platform Africa covered the fourth session, and it dealt with topics relating to the financing of entrepreneurship and finance for women as an opportunity in such a crisis. The goal was to help realise the full potential of the African financial sector and stimulate economic development and reduce poverty.

The session was moderated by Edwige Takassi, from IPC GmBH and member of the Women in Africa Network and the three panellists sharing their insights on this topic were:  Kady Traoré, Managing Director of Fin’elle of Group Cofina;  Alejandra Rios, Partner at ConsumerCentrix and Head of the African Women Rising Initiative (AWRI) funded by the EIB, and Tania Colantone, Social Development Specialist at EIB.



Uganda Tourism

How the Tourism Sector in Uganda Can Recover and Thrive

The COVID-19 Business Hub spoke with Richard Kawere, the Chief Executive Officer of the Uganda Tourism Association, to learn how the tourism sector in Uganda can recover from the pandemic and thrive in the future. In partnership with Stanbic Bank of Uganda, ConsumerCentriX is responsible for creating content for the COVID-19 Business Info Hub.

Ernest:  Can you please introduce yourself and describe your role at Uganda Tourism Association and tell us; what does the association do for the tourism sector?

Richard Kawere: My name is Richard Kawere, the Chief Executive Officer and technical coordinator of the Uganda Tourism Association. Uganda Tourism Association is the umbrella body of tourism private sector in Uganda.  In my role as the chief executive officer, I ensure that the association meets its mandate. This involves coordinating the private sector, in terms of advocacy, capacity building, product development, marketing and harmonized quality assurance standards.

We have approximately eight-member associations, including the Association of Guide Tour Operators, the Hotel Owners Association, and The Travel Agents Association. The General Managers Association, the Uganda Safari Guide Association, the National Cultural Crafts Association and the Tourism Trade show.

We remain focused on ensuring that we have a sustainable tourism industry in Uganda. To achieve this vision, we intervene between the government and the private sector for a favorable business environment for tourism enterprises in Uganda.

Ernest Wasake: Could you please tell us how the tourism sector has been affected by COVID?

Richard Kawere: The tourism sector has been the worst hit industry. If we are to narrow it down from the global perspective to the Ugandan perspective, the tourism industry was hit, actually before COVID entered Uganda. Because when COVID-19 hit the globe, cancelations started coming in as early as January and February. And those cancelations meant loss of business. As a result, businesses started going down as early as January and February.

By the time they announced a lockdown, tourism industry had already suffered substantial business loss. Each subsector of the tourism industry was hit differently. In terms of outbound tourism, the travel agents industry, suffered about 97 percent business loss with the announcement of airport closures. In terms of inbound tourism, our study (The Impact of Covid-19 on the tourism sector, Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, July 2020) revealed that tour operators suffered about 80 percent business loss (around 30.4 Million US dollars – 0.11 trillion shillings) in inbound tourism between the months of February and July. Meanwhile, the accommodation sector lost about 1.19 trillion shillings by July as a result of 48,966 room cancelations. On average, the study that we conducted puts the industry at a loss of about 92 percent of businesses and because there was no activity, there were temporary layoffs and about 80 percent of the workforce was fully laid off.

Ernest Wasake: What needs to be done to help the tourism sector recover and thrive?

Richard Kawere:  It requires a number of mixed strategies for our industry.  All businesses lost revenue and continue to pay operating costs, meaning that all tourism businesses have run out of, what I would call, operational cash flow, and some of them are tentatively even closed.  For the survival of the industry, we are looking at two dimensions: One dimension is survival in the form of grants and the other dimension is the recovery through soft loans. A mixture of those two is very important.

Marketing is also essential. As the globe settles down because now there’s this glimpse of a vaccine, it is all those countries that have been in touch with their clientele that will be on the travel lists. A good amount of money needs to be spent on constant marketing and promotion of Uganda as a destination. Because once there is some level of confidence for travelers to move, they will go to those destinations that have been properly marketed.

Additionally, Businesses need to be supported in the area of capacity building (both online and in person training), so they can design strategies to respond to such catastrophes like this one in the future. The psychological impact on business owners and employees is quite high. So making sure employees are counseled and also empowered through capacity building so that there is hope still ringing in the minds of these employees and the business enterprises. Most importantly is the adoption of technology as the new way for most of the business processes in the tourism industry. So first survive, then recover and then develop resilient mechanisms for future catastrophes.

Ernest Wasake: What would you say the future looks like in terms of if you were to sort of glance into what the future looks like, if the right things were put in place? What does the future look like for tourism?

Richard Kawere: Wherever there is a challenge, there’s always an opportunity. We have a very strong belief that this industry will bounce back strongly. Especially because people have been confined in [home] areas, we believe there is going to be a very strong push for people to move out and shake off the stress. That positive belief indicates that there will be an increased demand for the tourism services, both locally and internationally for both inbound and outbound.

It is also important that we have a secure and safe environment and a secure political environment. That gives confidence to our clients to arrive in one or two years since the vaccine is getting some little headway, maybe in about one year we may start [the journey of recovery] all over. The future of the industry is bright. What we need to do is to get our strategies right now. If we get our strategies right, then we would be able to compete favorably with other destinations.


How the Biashara Club transformed Patrick Malika’s network

How the Biashara Club transformed Patrick Malika’s network

In Kenya, it is difficult for potential landowners to purchase small plots of land. As a young entrepreneur interested in real estate, Patrick Malika recognized the gap in the market and started his own company that buys larger plots of lands and then divides that land into smaller plots for resell.

To buy larger parcels of land, he relies heavily on financing from KCB Bank. However as his business expanded, Patrick realized that he needed more than just financing to sustain growth. He needed a strong network. As a result, he joined KCB’s Biashara to club connect with other entrepreneurs. Last January, ConsumerCentriX spoke to Patrick to understand why networking was so important to his business’s success. .

Kenya Commercial Bank

How Samuel Njenga grew his school from 45 students to over 600 students

How Samuel Njenga grew his school from 45 students to over 600 students

Samuel Njenga is the executive director of the Saiwa Secondary School in Nairobi, Kenya. In 2009, he had just 45 students attending his school. By January 2020, the number of students had grown to 653. ConsumerCentriX spoke with Samuel to understand how Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) ’s emphasis on relationship management and business training helped grow his school.