A group of 32 women, who graduated with entrepreneurship skills from the School of Finance and Banking (SFB), have been urged to use their business acumen to kick start innovative businesses that will impact their families and communities.
In a function presided over by the First Lady, Jeanette Kagame, in Kigali yesterday, the women received Goldman Sachs certificates after completing the six-month training.
The US$ 100 million programme launched in September 2008, is part of the corporate responsibility initiative by Goldman Sachs Group, an investment banking firm through its "10,000 Women" initiative.
Mrs. Kagame congratulated the group and requested them to extend their knowledge to poor women in their communities.
"Empowering women is one of the major efforts that have helped Rwanda move forward at a pace recognised all over the world. Therefore, you should take this as an opportunity to improve your lives; use your knowledge to create lasting and exemplary businesses," she told the women.
"You must also inform other women who still face skill challenges and fear to explore the business world, that it is possible to become self employed and earn an income that is helpful to their lives."
She also told them to instil entrepreneurial qualities among children at an early age to prepare them to face an economy that is fast becoming a global village.
"Prepare your children while they are still young so that they can have a fulfilling future where they do not have to look for a job, but know how to create one. I thank Goldman Sachs for this initiative because through it, women not only learn how to create businesses, but learn how to use existing technologies to be innovative," the First Lady said.
The representative of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women program, Sharolyn Arnett, said the institution would monitor and closely follow up the progress of the women, most of whom already have small businesses that produce handcrafts and foodstuffs.
"We do not just aim at training, but also ensure that they put this knowledge into practice. Therefore, we shall always be available as mentors to all the women in Rwanda who are willing to start businesses. I believe that if you give women skills and empower them, they pass them on these skills to their families, as well as improve the nutrition and education of their family members," Arnett said.
Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Entrepreneur Programme is designed for women across Rwanda who are interested in growing small and medium businesses.
To date, 239 women have graduated through the programme.
The five year programme's goal is to train 10,000 women from developing countries in business and management.