VC4Africa meetup at the Services Investment Forum in Kigali, Rwanda: a big success

In partnership with the Rwanda Development Board, the VC4Africa community hosted the closing networking session at the Services Investment Forum held in Kigali, Rwanda. In the interest to catalyze a venture capital movement in the country, the Investment forum and networking events brought together key policy makers, government officials, bankers, investors and entrepreneurs.

VC4Africa Director of Entrepreneurship Development David van Dijk, who attended the 2 day event on behalf of VC4Africa and who co-hosted the closing VC4Africa meetup: “It was simply great, very inspiring to see so many people with the common interest of development; building companies, attracting investment, creating jobs and simply helping each other. Both at the forum as well as during the meetup you could feel this great sense of unity and it really works to bring policy makers, investors and entrepreneurs in one room and let people debate about what can be done to move forward. Probably more than 200 people attended the VC4Africa meetup and I trust great connections have been made.”

VC4Africa member Ildephonse Mungwarakarama: “For me the VC4Africa meetup was a time of creating and growing a business network and a chance for investors and entrepreneurs to meet. It was an opportunity for investors to get introduced to entrepreneurs and projects to invest. It was very helpful to meet interesting people. Sharing ideas, getting new connection in business is a great thing and I appreciate it.”

David continues: “This was my first visit to Kigali. This had been in the making for a long time and was long overdue! I have had the pleasure to work with people in different parts of Africa but Rwanda really stands out as a forward looking country with lots of positive energy and a can-do mentality. Government officials demonstrated a great willingness to work with and support the private sector and I was very impressed with the government programs to help entrepreneurs for example by training vocational skills and basic business skills, offer mentorship and guidance and support SME’s with financial support. I think in this regard Rwanda can be an example to many. A recent deal made by a VC4Africa listed investor should be seen as an example of more activity to come; at the same time the space for SME investment is still very nascent. One point that was clearly articulated at the Services Investment Forum was the need for more risk capital and the presence of angel investors to support SME’s who are not on the radar screen of VC’s and are too high risk for regular banks.

VC4A member, long time investor and adviser to the Rwanda Development Board Ibrahim Sagna: “Having the VC4A members present made for a fabulous addition to the investment forum”.

A special thanks to Ibrahim Sagna and to our hosts of the Rwanda Development Board (RDB)! It’s great to see the local VC4Africa community come together like this, and to see this kind of initiatives being taken by VC4Africa members!

Are you interested in organizing a VC4Africa meetup in your city? Pick a date and fill in the form! If not a VC4Africa member yet, join here. Happy networking!

For more information on the Services Investment Forum, also read last week’s interview with Hubert Ruzibiza, head of the Services Department of the RDB.