SME Response Clinic hosts webinar on Practical Solutions for Improving the Wellbeing of Women Entrepreneurs

The SME Response Clinic held a webinar on practical solutions for improving the wellbeing of women entrepreneurs at Kigali Public Library on the 8th of December 2021. The webinar was part of the Building Back Healthier Series that was launched with a talk show on KT Radio on the 18thof October 2021 and followed another webcast on practical strategies to deal with stress held in November. The series is organized in partnership with the Geruka Healing Centre.

The objective of the webinar was to inform, inspire, and share knowledge and skills that businesswomen can use to better their wellbeing when dealing with day-to-day stresses of running a business while managing other responsibilities. In addition, the webinar dove into practical techniques for increasing psychological safety and productivity and how to optimize the workplace especially for women entrepreneurs.

The webinar featured a mental health expert, Adelite Mukamana, M.Sc., with two active businesswomen, Scovia Umutoni and Amina Umhoza. Mme. Mukamana started the session with a fantastic example to help the audience have an in-depth appreciation of mental health and wellbeing:


Our mind is like an engine of any car.  No matter how good-looking the car might seem on the outside, without the engine, it wouldn’t start. The car can only move when the engine is working in full force. Think about your mental health and wellbeing like that. When something is wrong with your car engine, you look for a mechanic. The moment you feel that your mental health or wellbeing is struggling, look for professional help.” 



Scovia’s Experience:

Scovia Umutoni is Founder of KGL Flour Limited, an agribusiness factory that produces maize flour – locally known as Kawunga – and animal feed. Before the pandemic, she was employed elsewhere, but she lost her job like many others when the pandemic hit. Undeterred, she decided to invest her savings to create her own business.

While exciting, it proved to be a very challenging time because once she started her business operations, Rwanda went into lockdown, putting everything on hold.

By the time lockdown was over, while many businesses were back up and running, Scovia’s target market including schools and hotels were still not operational. She started to feel frustrated and uncertain about the future. Scovia thought quickly and decided to change her approach, targeting the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). She has been serving customers in DRC since then, and as Rwanda has begun to recover, she has started to deliver her products locally.

Scovia believes that women entrepreneurs often face specific challenges based on the fact they are women. When she ordered a corn flour machine to start her business from a local businessman, Scovia struggled to get the machine in the agreed-upon two week period. It took engaging male friends to visit the provider with her for Scovia to get the machine two weeks later than promised. Scovia is certain that had she been a male entrepreneur, she would not have had to resort to engaging friends to help her. This is just one example of common obstacles faced by women entrepreneurs, many of whom were also disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

During the pandemic, Scovia took a step back to reflect on her businesses and to think of new strategies to improve operations. Recognizing the importance of her own wellbeing, she took a number of actions to improve her mental health, including listening to music. Her business life is not without challenges – she still faces challenges like being a woman in a male-dominated industry and travel restrictions due to the ongoing pandemic – but she doesn’t intend to stop. Scovia has learned that challenges will always exist, and what is important is to look for solutions to deal with them.

Amina’s Experience:

Amina Umuhoza is Founder and CEO of SAYE – DUKATAZE LTD, which aims to fight unintended pregnancies in young Rwandan women due to menstruation stigma. Her company provides young women with reproductive health information, menstrual hygiene management, and economic empowerment by selling products produced by young women through technology and community engagement.


The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically changed SAYE’s operations, and like many other businesses, the company took its business online during lockdowns. This major shift in operations led Amina and her colleagues to question whether they would attain their goals, and Amina had to work hard to balance competing priorities. For instance, the company had to use profits planned for investment to instead pay employee salaries to ensure proper staffing and employee satisfaction. Choices like these have allowed Amina to ensure SAYE continues delivering on its business and social objectives throughout the challenges of the pandemic.

Like Scovia, Amina also faces challenges unique to being a woman entrepreneur. A key example is negative comments from others, including social media bullying. It is not uncommon for Amina to receive questions about plans to marry when she posts about new products or partnerships. She believes that these comments come from cultural beliefs about the role of women, but things have started to change as the government has been educating Rwandans on the role of a woman in societal, family, and personal development.

The hardest part of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic for Amina was to ensure she was strong and resilient for herself as well as for her co-workers and employees. Amina used the lockdown as productively as possible to ensure a positive mindset, reflecting on herself and catching up on important paperwork. This cheered her up, and that feeling encouraged her to reach out to co-workers through virtual platforms. Amina also managed to take care of action items she had postponed or put off pre-pandemic, which provided SAYE with new opportunities after lockdown.

Building Back Healthier:

Scovia and Amina seek to thrive as businesswomen, but this is not always easy. Both receive negative comments based on stereotypes nearly every day; for example, the idea that as women entrepreneurs they can only be successful if they are married. Adelite Mukamana disagrees with this stereotype. “We often hear that the development of women depends on a man. Scovia and Amina are true examples that a businesswoman can run her business smoothly and shine through all circumstances, and we hope they are good examples to our fellow women in the Rwandan society,” she says.

Both entrepreneurs agreed on one fact – one chooses her or his own mentality, and a positive sense of wellbeing is key to carrying on in the face of adversity. Adelite Mukamana agrees. “We act how we think, and we decide how to think,” she says.

Women entrepreneurs are typically challenged by balancing work and home life. Amina believes that marrying to a partner who supports you and who understands your vision is a crucial element for a success as a businesswoman. Mme Adelite Mukamana, both an expert in her field and a mother, advised businesswomen to not be afraid of having families since a woman is a human being that is capable of carrying out multiple tasks. She advised women to launch businesses regardless of their family lives if they’re confident they can do it. She also pointed out that men shouldn’t be threatened by women’s economic empowerment and their partners’ success but instead focus on growing together.

Visit the SME Response Clinic for tips for entrepreneurs to support their mental health and wellbeing. We also invite you to keep an eye on our social media platforms for entrepreneurs’ stories on how their businesses are prioritizing mental health and wellbeing, as part of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic challenges. You can find us on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Submission

SME Response Clinic ikoresha ikiganiro hifashishijwe ikoranabuhanga ku nsanganyamatsiko yerekeranye n’ibisubizo bishoboka byo kunoza imibereho myiza ya ba rwiyemezamirimo b’abagore

Kuwa 8 Ukuboza 2021,   SME Response Clinic yakoresheje ikiganiro hifashishijwe ikoranabuhanga ku nsanganyamatsiko yerekeranye n’ibisubizo bishoboka byo kunoza imibereho myiza ya ba rwiyemezamirimo b’abagore mu Isomero Rusange rya Kigali.

Icyo kiganiro gitambuka hakoreshejwe ikoranabuhanga ni igice cy’uruhererekane rw’ibiganiro bya Ubaka ufite ubuzima bwiza kurushaho byatangijwe n’ikiganiro cyanyuze kuri KT Radio kuwa 18 Ukwakira 2021 kikaza gukurikirwa n’ikindi kiganiro ku nsanganyamatsiko yerekeranye n’ingamba zishoboka zo kurwanya umunaniro  cyabaye mu Ugushyingo. Urwo ruhererekane rutegurwa ku bufatanye na n’Ikigo cya  Geruka Healing Centre.

Icyo kiganiro cyakozwe hifashishijwe ikoranabuhanga cyari kigamije kumenyesha, kungura ibitekerezo, no gusangira ubumenyi n’ubushobozi na ba rwiyemezamirimo b’abagore; ibyo bikaba byabafasha kunoza imibereho myiza yabo igihe baba bahanganye n’umunaniro wa buri munsi ukomoka ku kazi kajyanye no gucunga ubucuruzi bwabo ari nako banakurikirana izindi nshingano baba bafite. Byongeye kandi,  icyo kiganiro cyakozwe hifashishijwe ikoranabuhanga kibanze ku buryo bushoboka bwo kubungabunga umutekano mu rwego rw’imitekerereze no kongera umusaruro no ku buryo bwo gutunganya neza aho akazi gakorerwa cyane cyane kuri ba rwiyemezamirimbo b’abagore.

Icyo kiganiro gikorwa hifashishijwe ikoranabuhanga cyitabiriwe n’impuguke mu bijyanye n’ubuzima bwo mutwe, Adelite Mukamana, M.Sc.,  hamwe n’abacuruzi bakomeye b’abagore ari bo Scovia Umutoni na Amina Umuhoza. Madame Mukamana yatangije ikiganiro atanga urugero rutangaje rufasha abari bitabiriye ikiganiro kugira imyumvire yimbitse ku byerekeranye n’ubuzima bwo mu mutwe n’imibereho myiza:

Mu mutwe hacu hameze nka moteri y’imodoka iyo ari yo yose. Uko imodoka yaba igaragara neza hanze kose, idafite moteri, ntabwo yashobora kugenda. Imodoka ishobora kugenda gusa iyo moteri ikorana ingufu zayo zose. Mufate ubuzima bwo mu mutwe n’imibereho yanyu muri ubwo buryo.Iyo hari ikintu kitameze neza muri moteri y’imodoka, ushaka umukanishi. Mu gihe wumvise ubuzima bwo mu mutwe cyangwa imibereho yawe itameze neza,  saba ubufasha bwo mu rwego rw’umwuga.  

Scovia na Amina buri wese yatumenyesheje ibyamubayeho. Mureke tubyinjiremo maze turusheho kumenya byinshi:

Ibyabaye kuri Scovia:

Scovia Umutoni ni we washinze  KGL Flour Limited, uruganda rutunganya ibihingwa mu rwego rw’ubucuruzi, urwo ruganda rukaba rukora ifu y’ibigori- izwi ku izina rya kawunga- n’ibiryo by’amatungo. Mbere ya COVID-19, yakoraga ahandi hantu, ariko yaje gutakaza akazi ke kimwe n’abandi bantu benshi ubwo icyorezo cyadukaga. Aho kwiheba, yafashe icyemezo cyo gushora amafaranga yari yarizigamiye maze atangiza ubucuruzi bwe bwite. Nubwo byari igitekerezo cyiza, byabaye ibihe bikomeye kubera ko ubwo yatangiraga ubucuruzi bwe, u Rwanda rwagiye muri Guma mu Rugo, ibintu byose bihita bihagarara.

Guma mu rugo irangiye, ubwo ubundi bucuruzi bwongeraga gutangira gukora, isoko rya Scovia  ryari rigizwe n’ibigo by’amashuri n’amahoteli ryari ritaratangira gukora. Yatangiye kumva bimubabaje atanabona neza uko ejo hazaza he hazaba hameze. Scovia yahise atekereza vuba noneho afata icyemezo cyo guhindura uburyo bw’imikorere, agamije isoko ryo muri Repubulika iharanira Demokarasi ya Congo (DRC). Ubwo yatangiye kujya aha ibicuruzwa bye abaguzi bo muri DRC guhera ubwo ngubwo. Noneho u Rwanda rutangiye kuzahuka buva mu ngaruka z’icyorezo yongera gutangira kugurisha  ibicuruzwa bye mu Rwanda.

Scovia akeka ko ba rwiyemezamirimo b’abagore kenshi na kenshi bagira ingorane mu kazi kabo baterwa n’uko ari abagore. Urugero, yagombye gutumiza imashini isya ifu y’ibigori ku mucuruzi w’umugabo, ubwo yatangiriraga ku busa. Uwo mucuruzi yari yaramurangiwe na Rwanda Standard Board. Uwo mucuruzi yabwiye Scovia ko azamuha imashini mu byumweru bibiri. Ariko, ntabwo yabashije kuzuza amasezerano bari bagiranye, ahubwo byarengeje ukwezi kugirango amuhe izo mashini. Byabaye ngombwa ko ajyana yo n’inshuti ze magara z’abagabo kugirango zimurebere kugira ngo zimufashe guhabwa izo mashini. Ibi byaramubabaje cyane kandi ni kimwe mu bintu bibi cyane yahuye na byo mu kazi ke nka rwiyemezamirimo.

Muri COVID-19, Scovia yasubiye inyuma atekereza ku byari biri kuba noneho atangira gutekereza ku ngamba nshya zigamije kunoza ubucuruzi bwe. Yakoze ibikorwa byinshi byamushimishije kandi byamunogeye mu buzima bwe. Urugero, kumva indirimbo z’Imana nka kimwe mu bintu bigamije gushyigikira ubuzima bwo mu mutwe bwe. Ubuzima bwe nk’umucuruzi ntibubuzemo ingorane- aracyahura n’ingorane nk’umugore ukora mu rwego rwiganjemo abagabo kimwe n’inzitizi zishingiye ku ihagarikwa ry’ingendo bitewe n’icyorezo kigikomeza. Ariko, ntabwo ateganya guhagarika imirimo ye. Scovia yaje kumva ko ingorane zizahoraho igihe cyose kandi ko icy’ingenzi ari ugushaka ibisubizo bigamije guhangana n’izo ngorane.


Ibyabaye kuri Amina :

Amina Umuhoza ni we washinze SAYE – DUKATAZE LTD akaba n’Umuyobozi Mukuru wayo. SAYE ni sosiyete igamije kurwanya inda zitateganyijwe ziterwa abakobwa b’abangavu bitewe n’akato bakorerwa iyo bari mu mihango y’ukwezi. Sosiyete ye iha abagore bato amakuru yerekeranye n’ubuzima bw’imyororokere, imicungire y’isuku igihe bari mu mihango y’ukwezi, ikanabongerera ubushobozi bwo mu rwego rw’ubukungu igurisha ibicuruzwa bakora hifashishijwe ikoranabuhanga n’ubwitange bw’abaturanyi.

Icyorezo cya COVID-19 cyagabanyije cyane ibikorwa bya SAYE . Ntabwo ari ibintu byoroheye sosiyete mu bihe bya Guma mu rugo. Byabaye ngombwa ko sosiyete ikora ibikorwa byayo byose ikoresheje ikoranabuhanga; ibyo bikaba byaratumye Amina na bagenzi be batangira kwibaza niba bazashobora kugera ku ntego bihaye. Amina yagombye guhitamo ibikorwa byihutirwaga kurusha ibindi. Urugero, sosiyete yagombaga gukoresha inyungu yabonaga mu guhemba abakozi imishahara yabo ku buryo babasha gukomeza akazi kandi bakabaho bishimye. Birumvikana, ibi byagize ingaruka zikomeye ku mikorere ya sosiyete no ku mibereho myiza y’abakozi. Bakomeza gukora neza mu gihe cy’icyorezo kuberako bize kubaho nk’aho ari ibintu bishya ariko bisanzwe.

Nka rwiyemezamirimo w’umugore, imwe mu ngorane ahura nazo ni amagambo atari meza abantu bagenda bavuga, harimo no gukorerwa iterabwoba ku mbuga nkoranyambaga. Urugero, akunda kumva cyangwa agasoma ( ku mbuga nkoranyambaga) iyo sosiyete ye yungutse umufatanyabikorwa mushya cyangwa yafunguye ishami rishya igurishirizamo ibicuruzwa byayo amagambo agira ati:  “uzashyingirwa ryari ?” cyangwa “utegereje kubanza gukira kugirango ubone gushaka?” Atekereza ko aya magambo yose akomoka mu muco wacu wakomeje kujya ugenda inyuma y’abagore mu bice byose by’ubuzima. Ariko, ibintu byatangiye guhinduka kubera ko Leta yacu yagiye yigisha abanyarwanda akamaro k’umugore mu iterambere ry’igihugu, iry’umuryango n’iry’umuntu ku giti cye.

Ibyo bihe ntabwo byoroheye Amina. Ikintu cyamukomereye mu rwego rwo guhangana n’ingorane zifitanye isano n’Icyorezo cya COVID-19 ni ukugira imbaraga zihagije no gukomeza gukora we n’abo bakorana. Kugirango babashe kubigeraho, yakoresheje ibihe bya guma mu rugo abibyaza umusaruro uko bishoboka kose, yitekerezaho akanakora imirimo yo mu mpapuro. Ibyo byamuteye akanyabugabo, kandi n’ibyo byiyumviro byamufashije kubasha kugera ku bo bakorana binyuze mu mbuga nkoranyambuga. Amina kandi yagerageje kwita ku bikorwa yari yarasubitse mbere y’icyorezo; ibyo bikorwa bikaba byarahaye SAYE amahirwe mashya nyuma ya guma mu rugo.

Kongera kubaka ufite ubuzima bwiza kurushaho :

Scovia n’Amina bifuza gutera imbere nk’abacuruzi b’abagore ariko ntabwo byoroshye. Bose amagambo atari meza abageraho ashingiye ku bintu bisanzwe bivugwa hafi ya buri munsi; urugero, igitekerezo kivuga ko ba rwiyemezamirimo b’abagore bashobora gutera imbere gusa ari uko bashatse.  Adelite Mukamana ntabwo yemera ibyo bivugwa. Yaravuze ati : “ Kenshi na kenshi twumva bavuga ko iterambere ry’abagore rishingira ku mugabo. Scovia n’Amina ni ingero zifatika zigaragaza ko rwiyemezamirimo w’umugore ashobora gucunga ubucuruzi bwe neza kandi agatera imbere mu bihe ibyo ari byo byose kandi twizeye ko ari ingero nziza abandi bagore bagenzi bacu bashobora kureberaho muri sosiyete nyarwanda ”.

Ba rwiyemezamirimo bombi bemeranyijwe ku kintu kimwe – umuntu ahitamo imyumvire ye bwite, kandi kugira imyumvire myiza ku bijyanye n’imibereho myiza ni ikintu cy’ingenzi gifasha guhangana n’ibintu bibi. Adelite Mukamana yemera ibi bikurikira: “ Dukora dukurikije uburyo dutekereza kandi dufata icyemezo kubyerekeranye n’uburyo dutekereza”.

Ba rwiyemezamirimo b’abagore by’umwihariko bahura n’ingorane zo guhuza akazi kabo n’ubuzima bwo mu rugo. Amina akeka ko kugira umugabo ugushyigikira kandi wumva icyerekezo cye ari ikintu cy’ingenzi gifasha rwiyemezamirimo w’umugore gutera imbere. Madamu Adelite Mukamana, inzobere mu kazi ke akaba n’umubyeyi, yagiriye inama ba rwiyemezamirimo b’abagore kudatinya kugira imiryango kubera ko umugore ari ikiremwa muntu gishobora gukora imirimo myinshi. Yagiriye inama abagore gukora ibikorwa by’ubucuruzi batitaye ku buzima bwabo bwo mu muryango mu gihe cyose bifitemo icyizere ko bashobora kubikora. Yashimangiye kandi ko abagabo batagomba  guterwa ubwoba n’uko abagore bagira ubushobozi bwo mu rwwego rw’ubukungu cyangwa n’iterambere ry’abo bashakanye ahubwo ko bagomba kwibanda ku iterambere ryabo bombi.

Sura urubuga rwa   SME Response Clinic maze ubone inama zigirwa ba rwiyemezamirimo zibafasha gukomeza ubuzima bwo mu mutwe n’imibereho myiza yabo n’iy’abakozi babo. Tubasabye  kandi kujya mukurikirana ku mbuga nkoranyambaga zacu inkuru za ba rwiyemezamirimo ku byerekeranye n’uburyo ibikorwa by’ubucuruzi byabo bishyira imbere ubuzima bwo mu mutwe n’imibereho myiza nk’imwe mu ngamba zo guhangana n’ingorane zatejwe n’icyorezo cya COVID-19. Ushobora kandi kudusanga kuri  YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, na  LinkedIn.