Urwego Opportunity Bank (UOB) (www.uob.rw) – From 2004-2008, Dale Dawson, Dabbs Cavin (B2R Board of Advisors), Todd Brogdon (Westrock Coffee CEO) and Bishop John Rucyahana worked with Opportunity International to launch a new bank in Rwanda and to affect a merger with Urwego Community Bank, owned by World Relief and Hope International. Serving the needs of over 200,000 customers, UOB is Rwanda’s largest microfinance bank and is considered as one of the country’s most effective financial institutions serving the poor.
Ikiraro Investments (Ikiraro) – Tom Phillips of Memphis TN established Ikiraro in 2009 to serve as an investment holding company to build operating businesses in Rwanda. In 2010, Ikiraro Farms launched a poultry business in Musanze that now produces as many as 4,000 chicken eggs a day. Tyson Foods, one of the world’s largest food companies, has served as Ikiraro’s technical advisor. Ikiraro has also partnered with Dr. Caleb King to develop mini-hydro power projects in Rwanda’s Northern Province.
Westrock Coffee-Rwanda Trading Company (RTC) (www.westrockcoffee.com) - Scott Ford (B2R Board of Advisors) launched Westrock Coffee in 2009 to purchase, mill and export Rwandan coffee. Today, Westrock Coffee offers its customers a vertically integrated East African coffee supply chain from washing stations, milling, exporting, roasting and marketing. Matt Smith (former B2R Rwanda Business Manager) serves as Westrock’s COO in the UK and Clay Parker (former B2R Managing Director) serves as RTC’s General Manager. Todd Brogdon (former CEO of UOB) serves as CEO of Westrock Coffee.
MEZE Fresh Restaurant (MEZE Fresh) – Griffin Richards opened MEZE Fresh, a gourmet burrito bar in Kigali in 2012. It combines a unique culinary experience with exceptional service and value. Griffin moved to Rwanda and joined the B2R hospitality team after graduating from college. He returned to the U.S. in 2011 with the idea of developing a Mexican food restaurant in Rwanda. Through hands-on training, close mentorships, and the promotion of entrepreneurship, MEZE Fresh is a social enterprise committed to investing in Rwanda’s most valuable asset - its people.
Acacia Accounting (Acacia) (www.acacia.rw) - Stephen Miller, an experienced American CPA, moved to Rwanda and launched an accounting services practice in 2012 with the help of B2R. The mission was to provide outsourced accounting and administrative services to accelerate the growth of new businesses in Rwanda and to provide jobs and practical training for Rwandan accounting professionals. After reaching sustainability, the practice was established as Acacia Accounting, an independent Rwandan accounting firm.
Zamura Feeds (Zamura) – Tyson Foods CEO, Donnie Smith, and the Africa Sustainable Agriculture Project Foundation (ASAP) have built a commercial mill in Rwanda to produce, sell and distribute animal feed for all varieties of livestock. Executive Director Blayne Sharpe formerly served as Zamura’s project manager. Rwanda Scholar, Matthew Karugarama, serves as Zamura’s general manager and Rwanda Presidential Scholar, Ritah Nshuti, serves as its quality control director. After graduating from university in the U.S., Matthew and Ritah completed management training programs with Tyson Foods in Arkansas.