“I am a role model in my village and at my cooperative, and I am glad that I can motivate and encourage other people as well to develop themselves and not want to accept life as it is but look for other opportunities.”
– Donatha,Leadership Academy Grad
Our Leadership Academy is an advanced business training program dedicated to building powerful businesswomen, leaders, and entrepreneurs in Rwanda. Launched in October 2014, the Academy focuses on investing in aspiring artisan leaders who, through access to advanced education, will improve the management of their cooperatives, take greater ownership of the supply chain, and create opportunities for all of our artisan partners to earn more income.
The Leadership Academy is a six-month program that enrolls 25 women per semester. The curriculum was developed by our own staff and Directors, incorporating input from our artisan partners at every step of the way. The results? A course that is practical, dynamic, and highly customized to address the most pressing educational needs and business challenges faced by those running small- and medium-sized enterprises in Rwanda (and across Africa) today.
Class takes place for two full days per week in Kigali and consists of 40 advanced lessons in: inventory management, accounting, conflict resolution, leadership skills, organizational governance, client communication, marketing, access to finance, entrepreneurship, technology, and more.
The Leadership Academy is now in its fourth semester and has become a proven driver of business growth and entrepreneurship in Rwanda. Students are using the lessons they learn to improve the management and profitability of their cooperatives. They are rising up as leaders and mentors and starting new businesses of their own—creating economic growth and employment opportunities in their communities.
The results are powerful:
• 100% of Leadership Academy graduates report that they now have the skills needed to start a new business
• 98% have led mentoring sessions for other women
• 98% have implemented lessons learned to improve the management of their co-ops
• 60% have assumed new leadership roles at their cooperatives and in their communities
• 38% have started new businesses, providing jobs for 10 people