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Photo by Marc Doucette.

Beau’s fundraises for Rwanda’s first woman-owned craft brewery

By Jordan Duff on November 9, 2016

The Rwanda Craft Brewery Project is an ambitious social project spearheaded by the generous folks over at Beau’s Brewery. They’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign that aims to raise $90,000 to help establish a women-owned and operated craft brewery in Kigali, Rwanda. Have a look at the project page to see some of the available prizes from t-shirts to VIP tours to naming a beer. The project deadline is November 18th. At the time of writing, just over 50% of the necessary funds have been raised. If the target is not hit, the Kickstarter funds are returned to backers. It’s all or nothing.

Photo by Ben Welland.

Photo by Ben Welland.

Rwanda Craft Brewery Project is powered by entrepreneur Josephine “Fina” Uwineza. Though this is Fina’s first foray into brewing, it’s not her first rodeo in the food business. In the late 1990s, she opened and operated a Chinese food restaurant, the Flamingo Restaurant, in Kigali. Difficulty finding quality staff and and raising enough capital meant that it was a not an easy journey. Yet, she persevered. And at its peak, the resto operated two locations and employed 50 people.

Photo by Marc Doucette.

Photo by Marc Doucette.

Fina spent time here in Ottawa studying tourism management at Algonquin College. She was the guest of honour at this year’s Beau’s Oktoberfest. But Rwanda is home and Fina aims to establish the first craft brewery in the county, currently they are two macro-breweries dominating the market.

Photo by Marc Doucette.

Photo by Marc Doucette.

According to Fina, “The brewery is going to employ mainly women and it will impact also the women in rural area who are less fortunate. This is also an opportunity to empower young ladies by showing them that women can be brewers and do other technical skills like our brothers.”

Photo by Marc Doucette.

Photo by Marc Doucette.

In fact, as Fina tells it, Rwanda is a world leader in closing the gender gap, “Currently Rwanda is known as one of the top countries in Africa, if not in the whole world, in terms of closing gender gaps. More than 50% of our Parliament are women. Our country has shown real leadership in empowering women and in giving us opportunity in education, health and in economic issues. This a great time to be a female entrepreneur in Rwanda.”

The brewery, once open, will mostly employ women and will focus on employing women from the less-fortunate rural areas around the city. The timing is right, as Kigali has become a cosmopolitan city with new restaurants and hotels opening. There is more of a culture on buying and crafting more local products. The beer will source local ingredients and brewmaster Matthew O’Hara will help develop a beer recipe that will fit the Rwandan market.

Beyond the generosity of Beau’s Brewery – and the generosity of you, friendly reader, for backing this Kickstarter *hint hint – were many other supporters. Nancy Coldham, a consultant and mentor in the International Women’s Empowerment Program, coordinated the meeting between the like minded businesses people. The brewhouse will be purpose-built and gifted by Newlands Systems Inc.by their employees through donated time from fabricators, engineers, and brewing staff.

It’s a pretty amazing concept and fundraiser. Beau’s is committed to see the Rwanda craft brewery opening their doors. Anyone can get involved at their Kickstarter.