It started early this year with pre-summit webinars that I was connected to a dynamic network of young professionals in Agriculture from across Africa.
Meeting YPARD staff and fellow YAW2017 delegates online was very exciting and I was fortunate to not have missed any webinar. From my point of view, it was that time that I got prepared for the summit and I had the opportunity again to be selected for the YPARD Long-term Mentoring. I wasn’t yet aware of all the good things to come but I was fully excited and ready to shift my all attention that program.
During the summit, I was so amazed how influential people from around the globe would be that highly motivated to support the new generation of professionals in agriculture. Listening to amazing stories from my fellow youth delegates around the continent helped me a lot to believe in the purpose roadmap I had started working on with the help from Michelle and Pamela Yieke. This also helped me the time I started the mentorship, learning from a hardworking, caring and experienced lady.
Dianne Cornes, my mentor has reputable experience with youth entrepreneurship from Youth Business International but she also has experience in finance and banking. As someone leading a startup with a passion for agriculture, a background in science and biotechnology but inexperienced in business, Dianne was the best-expected mentor to support my high ambition to take over the growing high-end market with big hotels, supermarket and restaurants in Kigali.
At the beginning of the mentorship, I was nervous about what to talk with Dianne my mentor, just knowing what to tell and where can the relationship go. I found her very friendly and most inspiring that time-to-time wished that our call can take longer or be done frequently. Personally, I wanted this mentoring to help me take my enterprise “Real Green Gold Ltd” professionally in all the initiatives as a company I was undergoing. Real Green Gold as a social enterprise that sells premium organic locally but also with a bigger vision for exportation, training of local smallholder banana farmers from my community was this year target to help to get access to huge production so we can build consistency in our customer supply.
During mentorship time I signed my first formal contract for Real Green Gold. Dianne’s advice and support helped us build a three-layer financial record system. I am very happy that our financial recording is now very helpful to the point I believe banks can trust us now.
It has also been great to participate in the Rwanda Cluster coaching. I and the other YAW2017 youth delegate Clarisse have been running an activity called Farming & Agrifood Systems Connekt, where we train smallholder farmers in banana and potatoes value chain. This activity has helped our businesses to connect more with the producer community from which we are able to satisfy both our customers and suppliers.