CriticalMass Women’s Entry to The Gender Equality Awards 2017

Principle 4: Promote education, training and professional development for women

Tell us what your company is doing to advance the selected principle above:
Since 2011, we have been involved, through the Peace Through Business program, in the mentorship of women entrepreneurs in Rwanda focused on entrepreneurship training, education and support for business planning and leadership for SME women CEOs. Since 2015, in an effort to ensure knowledge transfer, introduction of financial support and training linked to investment, we provided the catalyst for a consortium of champions to create the first craft brewery in Kigali, Rwanda which will be women-owned, women-operated and include the first woman brewmaster in Rwanda. The Canadian craft brewery partner is award-winning Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co. Thanks to Beau’s, the exceptional NEWLANDS – NSI Brew Co. that builds breweries globally joined in as a huge equipment donor and knowledge partner. The project is valued at approximately $1Million USD and will transform the enterprising efforts and the knowledge base of women business owners in that country.

The Rwandan woman business leader who stepped forward for the brewery project is Fina Uwineza. Fina dares greatly and leads boldly as Hillary Clinton recently asked us all to do. Fina Uwineza is one of the many women entrepreneurs blazing a remarkable trail of enterprise that is driving one of the African continent’s most gender-friendly economic development revolutions from Kigali, Rwanda.

Success is no stranger to Fina Uwineza who applied her tireless energy and innovative nature to a first-to-market concept bringing Chinese food to the city of Kigali, launching the Flamingo Restaurant in 2000. Over the next 14 years, Fina grew the enterprise while managing the expansion, a staff of 50, ensuring workforce training to global standards and quality control of the food, beverage and services unparalleled in the city and the region for decades.

Rwandans drink as much beer as Canadians and with no national beer, Fina is well-poised to be that nation’s first Craft Brewery owner.

The CG Group along with CriticalMass Women is proud to work with Fina Uwineza and the craft brewery project partners to own principle 4.

Tell us why your company is advancing the selected principle above:
Nancy Coldham, the Founding Partner of The CG Group has a lifetime professional and personal commitment to advancing women through entrepreneurship and politics. Nancy is also Chief Champion of CriticalMass Women, her social enterprise. Nancy completed her Master’s Thesis on the Gendered-Enterprise of Nation Building studying 30 women Rwandan entrepreneurs from 2011-2013.

Rwanda’s unique history and its commitment to advancing women is another reason this company selected the principle identified matched to this country and its women entrepreneurs. Rwanda is highly progressive in seeing entrepreneurship as a key driver for transformation, economic development and business growth in its country, particularly for women.

Two decades after the horrific Rwanda genocide, women have emerged as the country’s nation-builders as creators of jobs, driving forces behind the establishment of a vibrant private sector.

Nancy Coldham became committed to working on a new development model to ensure the Rwandan women had strategic financial support as well as critically-needed business education, training and knowledge transfer to build sustainable ventures. Nancy completed a strategic alliance with the Cross Cultural Institute, Florida Institute of Technology creating an e-learning module on Business Planning for Rwandan Women Entrepreneurs. She then returned to Rwanda, shared the Business Planning template and met with the original study group of entrepreneur grads and encouraged the women to create a new group interested in forging a collective for on-going learning and new venture opportunities such as the Craft Brewery. She used CG Group’s own business offerings and its network to identify and secure the key partners and to leverage the partners’ skills, knowledge and clout to advancing the principles and outcomes of linking education, training and financing to real development.

The company commitment is to continue to provide support for the principle of entrepreneur training, education and professional development — specifically for the Rwandan women entrepreneurs — ensuring they are investment ready leaders of sustainable enterprises. It’s working!! The Craft Brewery will be operational by Summer 2018 and work is underway for additional supply chain ventures to get started for the brewery cleaning, bottling, packaging and marketing. Knowledge they can bank on!