We scout for high-impact entrepreneurs. We embark with them on a flexible, individualized, long-term journey of growth, both personal and business. Our value-based approach focuses on sustainability, profitability and contributing to a sound business culture in developing countries.
BPN, short for Business Professionals Network, is a non-profit foundation headquartered in Bern, Switzerland. The foundation’s goal is to support entrepreneurship in developing countries, and it launched the Rwanda program in October 2011. Alice Nkulikiyinka, BPN Rwanda’s country director, advocated for the program to come to Rwanda while working in Switzerland. “I gave up my international career for this beautiful cause,” she says.
BPN Rwanda annually selects up to thirty promising SMEs to take part in its entrepreneurship program. These SMEs must have a long-term outlook, a clear vision and have already tested their product or service on the market. The organizations selected often already have a good reputation in their local area. “We identify people with an entrepreneurial mindset. These are people who start something with the purpose of having it grow and making an impact in their community. We aim to be a partner for growth on their entrepreneurial journey,” says Alice.
The BPN Rwanda program lasts from two to four years and is based on a four-pillar concept that aims to equip entrepreneurs with the knowledge, security, networking opportunities and financial support to succeed. The four pillars are coaching services, a business academy, a loan scheme and access to an alumni business owner’s association. The program is a practical mix of general business support and personalized advice and mentorship. The shoe company Uzuri K&Y is among BPN Rwanda’s many success stories. Before entering the program, it was a general fashion company that outsourced production. Mentors at BPN encouraged Uzuri K&Y’s two founders to focus the business on one area and bring production in-house. With this new strategy, the company became the largest shoe factory in Rwanda within five years.
Register your company.
We are looking for companies that have moved beyond the ideation phase. We want to see that you don’t shy away from taking risks.
Have a concrete and viable concept.
Show us your willingness to work on a sound business plan. Even the most ambitious entrepreneur will struggle without a good concept in place.
Prove that it’s not just about you.
Our program focuses not only on the entrepreneur, but also on how the business can positively impact its community. True to Rwandan culture, we want to see evidence that you will take on social responsibilities.
We want to create as many sustainable jobs as possible by working with companies that create value or offer scalable services.
Application can be sent via
Main Photo by: Roar Visuals for BPN