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USAID Hub offers individualized assistance to bring Rwandan firms to U.S. market

Published on July 24, 2018

Steve Roosa, a seasoned executive, just finished three weeks of working side-by-side with the owners of Inzuki Designs and Uzuri K&Y, two Rwandan firms, to improve their operations. Mr. Roosa is one of the several volunteer experts identified through the USAID Hub’s partnership with the International Executive Service Corps (IESC) who is providing tailored technical assistance to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in East Africa. By addressing what the owners have identified as the businesses’ most pressing needs, the USAID Hub is positioning these firms for further sales, growth and employment opportunities.

Kevine.jpgKevine Kagirimpundu and Ysolde Shimwe began Uzuri K&Y, a footwear company, immediately after graduating from design school and have worked to build up the company’s presence in Rwanda. Now they are interested in expanding their business and exporting their sandals and footwear to the U.S. Mr. Roosa, following an analysis of the business, recommended actions for the Uzuri to achieve these next steps. He also raised their awareness and understanding of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which provides duty-free access to the U.S. footwear market, and could be leveraged against the firm’s competition.

"I am very thankful to the USAID East Africa Trade and Investment Hub for having given Uzuri K&Y opportunity to benefit from this initiative. The volunteer, Steve, was very helpful, he came in at the right time. Over the last three years, we were very much focused on growing our company by investing in new machines and finding a new location. We have achieved these. Now, we want to increase the overall utilisation capacity, increase overall output and penetrate into the export market. Steve helped us to think through this move. We thank the Trade hub for their continued support and the US Government for their overall support to the entrepreneurial activities in Rwanda," said Kevine Kagirimpundu, CEO and Creative Director of Uzuri K&Y.