The vision for this project is the establishment of a women-owned and operated craft brewery in Kigali, Rwanda.
At the heart of the Rwanda Craft Brewery Project is owner Josephine "Fina" Uwineza, a Rwandan woman who is no stranger to entrepreneurship. Uwineza is a successful restaurateur in Rwanda’s capital city of Kigali, where she opened the city’s first-ever Chinese restaurant. It became a go-to destination for tourists and the embassy crowd, and at one time, between her two popular restaurants, she had more than 50 staff employed.
More recently Uwineza shared a business idea with Nancy Coldham, a Toronto-based consultant who has traveled to and worked extensively in Rwanda as a mentor to women entrepreneurs. The connection with Coldham sparked an idea for a Canadian-inspired craft brewery in Rwanda. Coldham reached out to the Ontario Craft Brewers association on behalf of Uwineza, who in turn connected the women with Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co, of Vankleek Hill, Ontario, Canada.
Following several months of teleconferences and emails, a team from Beau’s that included CEO Steve Beauchesne and CFO Tanya Beimers travelled to Rwanda to meet Uwineza in person and get a sense of the scope of the project, as well as some of the specific challenges associated with it. The team also met with officials from the city of Kigali as well as the Republic of Rwanda, and were offered a warm welcome and assistance to help get Uwineza’s Rwanda Craft Brewery Project off the ground.
Next, Beauchesne and Beimers appealed to equipment suppliers on behalf of the Rwanda Craft Brewery Project to see if special funding considerations were a possibility. Their requests brought the donation of a brewhouse from BC-based Newlands Systems Inc. (NSI). Their COO, Christian Riemerschmid von der Heide, has experience brewing in Africa and has additionally joined the project to assist and consult. The brewhouse would be gifted by NSI as a team effort by their employees through donated time from fabricators, engineers, and brewing staff. It will be purpose-built for the Rwanda Craft Brewery Project.
And now, Eastern Ontario craft brewery Beau’s All Natural is launching this Kickstarter to help Uwineza start the brewery. For their part, Beau’s will also be providing financing, expertise, and hands-on employee training to the start-up brewery. Beau’s co-founder Steve Beauchesne is careful to point out that no profits from the new brewery will flow back to Beau’s or to the other partners.
Craft beer has become a very successful industry in Canada, and since Rwandans drink as much beer as Canadians, this industry would make a positive contribution to the Rwandan business community. The craft brewing industry is taking root in Africa in countries such as Kenya, Botswana and South Africa (with 135 microbrewers) and we believe it is the perfect time for a Rwandan national beer.
The next steps of the Rwanda Craft Brewery Project requires $95,000 in funding to purchase a bottling line.
Fina, Nancy, as well as the teams at Beau's and NSI, are now asking for your support in bringing Fina's dream to life! Help us by donating to support the Rwanda Craft Brewery Project.
Risks and challenges
Starting a craft brewery can be difficult and costly. The Rwanda Craft Brewery project may bring to light unexpected challenges. We believe with the project partners we have on board, that there is the expertise and experience in place to work to overcome the challenges.
- Fina Uwineza is an experienced entrepreneur who has owned and operated businesses in Kigali, Rwanda.
- Nancy Coldham completed her graduate thesis on “The Gendered Enterprise of Nation-Building: Role of Women Rwandan Entrepreneurs” and has experience mentoring on business in Rwanda.
- Beau's Brewing Co has ten years experience in the industry; building, owning, and operating a successful craft brewery.
- Steve Beauchesne, CEO and co-Founder and Tanya Bemiers, CFO of Beau's Brewing Co will provide ongoing business guidance, support, expertise, and advise the project team.
- NSI have created over 500 brew houses operational all over the world
- Christian Riemerschmid von der Heide, COO of NSI, additionally has years of experience in the brewing industry, and in particular 3 years working in Africa which will provide valuable consultancy informationLearn about accountability on Kickstarter
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