CARL Group is a youth runs agribusiness from Rwanda. The team of youth-leaders is well known for their DOT Rwanda 2015 Business Competition win. Their entrepreneurship journey continues to grow and attract positive attention and impact. In this blog, Cecile Mbashimishe recounts how the skills and network built during their time at DOT Rwanda catapulted members of the CARL Group into greatness.
Members of CARL Group and their DOT's Facilitator after winning the business competition in Kicukiro district
CARL Group members are Clarisse Murekatete, Ada Elyse Irirashenono, Regis Umugiranaeza and Larissa Uwase. They make pastries out of sweet potatoes. Winning DOT’s Business Plan Competition, gave members of the CARL Group a confidence boost. They made the decision to invest their time and energy in online marketing and research. As a result, the group responded to call for submissions by the World Economic Forum (WEF). WEF was looking to recognize women innovators in specific areas, including food processing. This seemed like an opportunity made for CARL Group!
WEF selected five women as Africa’s top female innovators. Larissa Uwase, a member of the CARL Group was one of them. She was recognized for her team's innovative pastries made from sweet potatoes.
2016 has been a great year for CARL Group. Regis Mugiraneza, another member, secured an opportunity to travel to Nigeria. Regis will be competing for the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship program. The Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Program is an entrepreneurial initiative run by Tony Elumelu Foundation. The program provides training, mentorship and seed capital to entrepreneurs with start-up business ideas.
The MasterCard Foundation Director of Youth Livelihoods and Financial Inclusion, Anne Miles took noticed of CARL Group. Miles nominated Clarisse Murekatete to attend the Young Africa Works Summit. This invite-only event will bring together leaders committed to sustainable youth employment strategies. The Summit will explore three relevant sub-themes that contribute to agricultural transformation. Themes will focus on gender, technology, and climate-smart agriculture.
CARL group members alongside with Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Youth and ICT and DOT Rwanda Country Director
CARL Group conducted market and product research supported by The National University of Rwanda. They found that pastries made from sweet potatoes provide a local and cheap source of Vitamin A.
This discovery introduced a business opportunity that would have a positive local impact. Having little business experience and no money, they joined DOT Rwanda’s StartUp! training. Their intention was to gain the business skills for a sweet potato business. They soon jumped at the chance to take part in the DOT Rwanda Business competition. CARL Group, represented by Clarisse won at the national level.
Clarisse, Regis, Larissa and Ada Elyse are taking any opportunity that comes their way. They continue to forge new paths for their business.
“Growing a business means you must always be willing to learn.Thanks to DOT Rwanda's StartUp! program and business coaching for continuous improvement. We have no intention to quit because the future in Rwanda holds great things for young people.”