Joy has been working in Rwanda's coffee industry for more than a decade. She has seen first hand the opportunity that it provides farmers, as well as the discrimination that women farmers often face.
In 2013, Joy and her two friends, Peninah and Therese, started Women In Coffee Initiative, a women-owned coffee washing station that buys raw inputs from women farmers in Rwanda. Over the past year, Women In Coffee Initiative has worked hard to buy the necessary land and build the necessary drying tables to start their business. With their internal capacity ready, Women In Coffee Initiative needs to buy a coffee washing machine, the last piece needed to officially begin their business.
Women In Coffee Initiative will not only support women coffee farmers, but they will also employ women employees. During the washing and drying season (April - August), Women In Coffee Initiative estimates employing 75-100 workers to sort, dry, and package the washed coffee cherries.
This business has the potential to be a tremendous success. With an experienced leader, a dedicated team, and a strategic location, Women In Coffee Initiative aims to become a strong player in both domestic and international markets. But, like many new businesses, Women In Coffee Initiative cannot access commercial bank loans because they haven't been in business long enough and their loan request is too small. With the help of a Kiva loan, Women In Coffee Initiative can start their business and prove to Rwanda the strength of women in coffee.
About the owners:
Joy is married with 7 children (5 boys and 2 girls) and other (8) extended family members. Joy is educated and holds a Master’s Degree in Project Management and has been working in the coffee sector since 2003.
Peninah is a single mother with 3 children (1 girl and 2 boys). Peninah did not get the opportunity finish high school because her family could not afford to pay her school fees.
Therese is widow and a mother of 2 children (1 boy and 1 girl). She dropped out of primary school because her parents were very poor.
Joy, Peninah, and Therese have been friends for decades.
About African Entrepreneur Collective
African Entrepreneur Collective (AEC) is a business accelerator program that aims to help African youth-led enterprises grow and create new jobs for poor in their communities. This unique, comprehensive program is committed to address the problem of unemployment in Rwanda and to capitalize on the opportunity for sustainable SME growth and fill a demonstrated need in East Africa.
Each year, AEC recruits and selects 100 entrepreneurs to participate in a two-year business accelerator. Once identified through competitive applications, entrepreneurs participate in the Business Training to enhance their business skills. Kiva lenders’ funds are used to impact more entrepreneurs in the country and create more job opportunities.
AEC joined Kiva through our Experimental Partnership Program, and has therefore received a lighter level of due diligence. Accordingly, loans associated with this partner carry a higher level of risk than typical Kiva loans.