Before I tell you how the first visit to our client went, let me describe a little bit how things have been since I got to Rwanda last Sunday.
I arrived on Sunday night. I was impressed on how easy everything was once I landed in Kigali. No problems at immigration, no issues with my bag, no problem getting a phone, and it was safe and cheap to get from the airport to the hotel. Then on Monday we did a great tour of Kigali and its history. You can check this post from another team to get details, I don’t want to be repetitive.
Finally it was Tuesday, it was the day that we all were waiting for. First, having the opportunity to go to the Rwanda Development Board (RBD) and then meeting Norelga, our client. Things at the RBD were really good. We had a meeting in the board room and we were given a good overview of Rwanda and the way they do business. It was a great way to kick off our day.
Then we went to Norelga, our client, they produce and sell macadamia nuts. We learned in 3 hours more than we had in the previous 3 months. The 2 teams that are working with Norelga gathered with Norce, the CEO (who showed up a little bit late), and with Francois, our main contact throughout the whole process.
They told us about the challenges of the company and the industry. They were the first macadamia nut producers in Rwanda. We learned that Rwandans are not used to eating macadamia nuts, that it is a new product in the country, and that they are still unable to meet all the demand for their product. Our team is looking to help them expand their market, we are still debating whether they should just expand within the borders of Rwanda or go abroad. It will depend on how the application for a loan goes. The other team is working with them in that specific subject.
We are building our strategy on what happens in the next few hours. I will go to the Business Development Fund (BDF) along with Oskan a member of the other team and take a look at Norelga’s business plan and make sure they are able to meet certain things that would allow them to get a loan in a cheaper way than their current alternative.
The visit to Norelga was really interesting overall. After talking with Norce and Francois, they gave us a tour of their facilities. It was a lot smaller and rudimentary than what we expected, but it was great to finally see first hand what they currently have.
We will have key meetings in the next few days! Visiting Norelga’s installations motivated me (and I’m sure every member of both teams as well) even more to make sure Norelga has success in their future endeavors. We are very proud to be able to help them and hopefully we will be able to make a real impact.
I’ll leave you with these pictures of both teams with Norce and Francois outside Norelga’s office/factory, and a selfie of myself in the patio area where Norelga starts the drying process.